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Owo Church Reopens Ten Months After Bloody Terrorists Attack




Owo Church Reopens Ten Months After Bloody Terrorists Attack

Worshippers turned up in large numbers for today’s Sunday service at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, ten months after a bloody terrorists attack.

Recall that terrorists stormed the Christian worship centre located at Owaluwa Street in Owo on June 5, 2022, and opened fire on the worshippers.

No fewer than 41 worshippers of the church were massacred by the terrorists, who reportedly detonated explosives while disguising themselves as worshippers during the violent attack, Naija News reports.

The church, however, was re-opened today for Easter service amid a massive turnout of worshippers marking the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The church service was observed today amidst tight security as operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Military personnel, hunters, and the security arm of the church code-named Men of Order and Discipline (MOD) were drafted to strategic places to secure the environment.

Reports revealed that the church structure was reconstructed after the bloody attack. At the service today, worshippers reportedly filled the auditorium to the brim as they reflect on the regretful experience of losing their loved ones.

Addressing the congregation on Sunday, the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Bishop Jude Arogundade, lamented the failure of the government to prosecute those behind the attack on the church.

“I want to beg you that if you hear something, say something. You heard about the news of four persons that were arrested some months back. We didn’t hear anything about them again. But I know that those who cause the attack on this church were those who came from Okene and they are members of ISWAP.

“I have tried every means to find out but they told me that terrorists matter is not a matter to be discussed with a civilian like me. And I’m happy and also proud to be a civilian and citizen of this country. So, we hope that one day, we would get to know what happened here about those who are behind this attack. May God help us to overcome this difficult time,” Daily Trust quoted the Bishop saying.

Bishop Arogundade also noted that the government had failed in its core responsibility to protect lives and properties, adding that it also failed to apologize to Nigerians over the unprovoked attack, which claimed lives and injured unsuspecting worshippers.

He said, “We have to call ourselves back to the greater understanding of what is happening in our society today. I have never seen a nation so comfortable watching the killings of its citizens on daily basis in hundreds. It doesn’t happen in other places, I don’t know why the government refuses to apologize to the citizens they failed. A government that failed or cannot protect its citizens is not worthy to be called a government.

“I wish to say this without fear of anyone that the government of this country has failed us and you pressmen should record me very well, they have failed in the area of protecting the lives and properties of the people. Almost on daily basis, we hear people being killed in their tens and hundreds; many people have even forgotten what happened in this church ten years ago because many more have happened without the world paying attention.

“The government must wake up and show strength and courage and make sure those who carried out the evil attack that took place in this church and the evil going around our country are brought to book and punished accordingly.”

Bishop Arogundade admonished Nigerian leaders to frontally tackle bloodletting killings, kidnapping, banditry, and other misdemeanours.

Addressing journalists earlier, one of the survivors of the attack who is also the Local Government Chairman of Akoko South West Local Government Area, Hon. Augustine Oloruntogbe, described the killings as an unfortunate incident that would remain evergreen in the memories of other survivors.

Oloruntogbe, who was the only government functionary inside the church at the time the incident happened, appreciated the timely efforts of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and other well-meaning Nigerians who were helpful to the injured and families of the deceased after the violent attack.

Governor Akeredolu last month announced the construction of a ‘Memorial Park’ to honour victims of the massacre. He explained that the park was being built as a mark of respect that would also allow the state to always commemorate the soul of the departed worshippers, adding that his administration was determined not to forget those who were massacred by the gunmen.

The Nigerian military had arrested four terrorists believed to be masterminders of the Owo massacre.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, who announced the arrest, noted that the terrorists were captured at different locations across the country.

He listed their names to include Idris Ojo (37), Jimoh Ibrahim (39), Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza, and Momoh Abubakar, adding that some of them are members of the high-profile Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) that escaped from Kuje Prison.

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