August 10, 2017

Ozubulu Church Attack: We are yet to recover from the shock —Community


St. Philip Catholic Church, Umuezekwe Ofufe, Amakwa Ozubulu, attacked by gunmen, yesterday. Right: Blood stains after the killings in the church.

By Henry Umoru, Rotimi Ojomoyela & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Nnewi—The Ozubulu community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State has released a comprehensive report of last Sunday attack of worshippers at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu where many people lost their lives while several others got gunshot wounds.


St. Philip Catholic Church, Umuezekwe Ofufe, Amakwa Ozubulu, attacked by gunmen, yesterday. Right: Blood stains after the killings in the church.

This is even as the  umbrella socio-political organisation of Ndigbo, Ohanaeze, yesterday, condemned the killings.

In a statement by Ozubulu Development Union, ODU, Caretaker Committee, entitled “Senseless and brutal murder of worshippers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa-Ozoubulu” signed by Deacon Iykebest Malizu, the community said it was still mourning the loss of their loved ones.

According to the statement, “the taboo is shocking and devastating to the entire community and beyond.”

Speaking after an emergency security meeting at Ugwuorie-Ozubulu, chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Dr Chukwuka Ernest, regretted the attack and wondered why such a dastardly act should happen in the house of God.

Also reacting, President-General of Amakwa-Ozubulu Development Union, Deacon Iykebest Malizu, on behalf of Amakwa community condemned the attack.

He dismissed the story of communal problem being peddled in some quarters as the cause of the attack, saying there was no communal problem in Amakwa-Ozubulu and enjoined the community to be steadfast and more prayerful as God will reveal all at the appointed time.

On behalf of the town union, he thanked all men and women of goodwill who assisted the victims to the hospitals and the dead to the morgues for their care and dedicated service.

He said: “We most sincerely appreciate and thank Governor Willie Obiano for his very prompt arrival to the scene of  the horror and his immediate and subsequent visit to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi where he consoled with the victims and pledged to foot the medical bills of the wounded as well as assist with the burial.

12 dead, 26 in hospitals, one missing

“Ozubulu people are still in shock and currently occupied with assisting the survivors in various hospitals, but for now, wish to state the casualty figures as follow: wounded victims in various hospitals are 26 persons; dead bodies in various morgues are 12, while one person is missing.

“We most humbly urge the police and intelligence authorities to continue in their avowed and coordinated effort to fish out the  perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

Ohanaeze condemns act

A statement, yesterday,  by President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, described the incident as despicable and horrendous.

Nwodo who noted that the Ohanaeze was yet to come out of the shock of what he termed the mindless and appalling crime, said the Catholic Church should be involved in the investigation, adding: “The variety of the angles emerging as the likely cause of the incident make thorough and unhindered investigation on the matter inevitable and imperative.”

Chief Nwodo, who noted that getting to the root of the matter was the only way to nip this type of grievous crime in the bud, said Ndigbo would want the church, especially the Catholic Church, to be part of the investigation so as to get to the real genesis of the incidence in particular and to locate the reason for such sacrilegious crime in  Igboland.

While condoling with the bereaved and sympathizing with the injured, Nwodo admonished the people of Ozubulu, particularly the Catholic worshippers, to remain calm and await the out come of the investigations and avoid taking the law into their hands.

He commended Governor Willie Obiano for his timely intervention, especially on the plight of the injured in the hospital.

Perpetrators must not go unpunished— Mark

Meantime, former Senate President, Senator David Mark, has condemned the killings through  a statement, yesterday, in Abuja by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, Mark who described the incident as barbaric and inhuman. He however, urged security operatives not to leave any stone unturned to unravel the identities of the perpetrators and bring them to book, adding that the massacre of innocent worshippers in the cruelest circumstances was a dangerous trend that must not be tolerated in Nigeria.

Senator Mark said: “No matter the grievances of the perpetrators, a resort to this barbaric and wicked approach was beyond human comprehension.”

Catholic Bishops express  worry over arms proliferation

Similarly, Catholic Bishops, Ibadan Province, have called on the Federal Government to curtail arms proliferation in the country, describing the scenario as an act that was killing the system.

The bishops, in a communiqué signed by Province’s President and Secretary, Most Revs Gabriel Abegunrin and John Oyejola, respectively, at the end of their second meeting held at Saint Kizito Pastoral Centre, Oke Gada, Ede, Osun State, yesterday said: “We sympathize with the priest in charge of Nnewi Diocese, Most Reverend Hillary Okeke, and the faithful of the diocese, the government and people of Anambra State and several families directly affected by the mass murder.

“The bottom line is that the security situation in Nigeria remains at best, tenuous. We strongly condemn whatever may be at the root of this and similar occurrences. One must ask how murderers like the perpetrators of the Ozubulu mayhem came about such deadly weapons.

“The proliferation of arms in Nigeria deserves urgent and decisive action. We call on all our faithful to pray that the souls of the departed may rest in perfect peace and that God may bring enduring peace to Nigeria. We also reiterate that the right of all Nigerians to freely adhere to any religion of their choice is sacrosanct and must be protected by all legitimate means.”