*44 victims get cash relief
*As diocese sets up casualty charity fund c’ttee
*Investigation on killings ‘ll be thorough — Obiano
By Vincent Ujumadu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Edokwe Onyinyechi
Nnewi—THE Anambra State Police Command has invited Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu, who suspected assailants were said to be looking for when they attacked St Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu penultimate Sunday.
Ikegwuonu’s father was among the 13 people who lost their lives during the attack in which nearly 30 people were wounded.
Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in Anambra State, Mrs. Nkiru Nwode, said, yesterday, that Ikegwuonu, popularly called ‘Bishop’, is expected to appear at the police headquarters in Awka on Friday.
Ikegwuonu, who left the state before the attack on the church he built for his community, was said to have returned to the state last Saturday and attended the first Mass at St Philip’s on Sunday.
He declined to speak to anybody after the church service in which the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, SSG, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, also attended as part of a ceremony to reopen the church.
Nwode said the invitation to Ikegwuonu could not be taken to mean arrest, adding that the police had no reason to arrest him.
44 victims get cash relief
This came as Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, yesterday, set up a 10-man Ozubulu Casualty Charity Fund Committee to handle the welfare of the victims of the attack.
Meanwhile, 44 victims of the attack were, yesterday, given N50,000 each at various hospitals they were admitted including Nnewi, Ozubulu and Oba, by the diocese to alleviate their problems .
Members of the committee are Monsignor Patrick Ezeobata, chairman; Rev Fr Jude Onwuaso; Rev Fr Donald Chukwudolue; Rev Fr Joe Onyema; Fr Cajetan Obodozie; Brother Cyprian Oneni; Sister Theresa Martin; Mrs Juliana Arazu; Mrs Uju Azuka and Dr Sylvester Igwilo.
Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev Hilary Odili Okeke, said the committee would visit all the victims in different hospitals to know their needs with a view to offering a helping hand to all of them.
Okeke disclosed that the committee has the mandate to ensure that every help provided by groups and individuals to the victims would be deposited into a central account called Ozubulu Casualty Charity Fund provided by the committee.
He said: “Many people and groups in the church are helping the victims. The state government has promised to pay into that account. These people eat and that is why we give them money. The families of the dead will not be forgotten and the committee was also charged to be accountable in the discharge of its duties.”
Reacting to Ozubulu Youths Association, OYA, protest over the reopening of the church for service, while investigation is still being conducted, Bishop Okeke queried whether the protesters were Christians at all.
“If those protesters are Christians, they should not complain because they should know that we have to continue to worship God in every situation.”
Investigation on killings ‘ll be thorough— Obiano
Also yesterday, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State assured Ndi Anambra that his administration will leave no stone unturned at ensuring prompt prosecution of those behind the killing of innocent worshippers at Ozubulu.
The governor gave the assurance during a re-dedication and blessing of the church last Sunday by the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Okeke.
The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, sympathised with the families of those who died in the incident as well as those that sustained injuries.
He assured them that Anambra State Government would do everything possible to ensure that they obtain justice over the matter.