April 9, 2023. Peoples Gazette – Jude Arogundade, the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, has decried the incessant killing of Nigerian citizens under the President Muhammadu Buhari regime.
“I have never seen a nation so comfortable watching the killings of its citizens on daily basis in hundreds and nothing has been done in the past.
“I wish to say this without fear of anyone that the government of this country has failed us, they have failed in the area of protecting the lives and properties of the people,” Mr Arogundade lamented.
The Catholic bishop spoke on Sunday at the re-opening of the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owaluwa, Owo, where over 40 worshippers were massacred by suspected terrorists in June 2022.
The bandits had attacked the church with dynamites, killing scores scores of worshippers to death while others sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Speaking at the Church on Sunday, Mr Arogundade superficially condemned the Buhari regime for not apologising that it had failed the people of the country.
He also wondered why nobody had been brought to book since the invasion and killing of people started in the country.
“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 months 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 that took place in this church and the evil going around our country are brought to book and punished accordingly.”
According to Mr Arogundade, “It doesn’t happen in other places. I don’t know why the government refused to apologise to the citizens they failed. A government that failed or cannot protect its citizens is not worthy to be called a government.
“But I will advice that you should let our faith that has remained our strength continue to help us to deal with the issues of life and to overcome all that comes against us and the Gospel of Christ.”
While encouraging the congregants, who came in large numbers, including the survivors of the attack, not to be discouraged by the June 5, 2022 incident, the cleric prayed to God to touch the heart of the perpetrators of the heinous attacks to sheath their swords.
“The attack that embarrassed us. How could someone come to church, the church that is the beauty of Owo town? Why will anyone come here to hurt people, we know the evil ones are always at work.
“The casualty was massive because the attackers threw dynamite into the church beside the assault riffles.”
One of the survivors of the brutal attack, Margaret Attah, appreciated God for counting her worthy to witness the reopening of the church.
Mrs Attah, who lost her two legs to the attack, also saluted Governor Rotimi Akeredolu led the government in the state for assisting the families of the victims of the attack.
“I blessed God that I survived, though not with a complete body. I lost my two legs and one of my eyes.
“The Government, the Church, and some philanthropists tried for us and gave my kids scholarships. One is in primary school while the other is in secondary school,” she said.
Peoples Gazette had earlier reported that the church was reopened for the Sunday service amid the heavy presence of security agents.
In March, Governor Akeredolu 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.
Governor also added that his administration was determined not to forget those who were massacred by the gunmen.
“For us, we are determined not to forget the souls that have departed. They were 41 in number. And others that are still nursing the wounds, although they have gone back to their homes, have been discharged, and some of them are outpatients.
“So, for us, it is just a way of remembering those 41 souls that died,” Mr Akeredolu had said.
Also, recall that last year in August, the Nigerian military announced the arrest of four terrorists believed to be masterminders of the Owo massacre.
Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, 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.
Others arrested in connection with the attack included; Aliyu Itopa and Auwal Onimisi.
The Chief of Defence Staff said some of the suspects are also high-profile Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) members that escaped from Kuje prison.