Former President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed shock over the killings of 12 worshippers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State on Sunday.
Also, the leadership of the umbrella socio-political organisation of Ndigbo, Ohanaeze, has described as despicable and horrendous, the massacre of innocent worshippers at the church.
The church attack claimed no fewer than 12 lives and 40 injured persons.
Jonathan, in a statement on his Facebook page on Tuesday, said such killings were outside the culture of respect and reverence for religious places.
He said, “I have taken my time before commenting on the killings at the St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, in Anambra State, in order that I could be accurately briefed on the truth of the matter.
“However, I condemn the killings and express my shock at such an event which is outside our culture of respect and reverence for religious places of worship and love for our fellow man.
“I condole with the survivors and the families of the victims and pray for the departed. In order to endure that such occurrences never reoccur, we must rededicate ourselves to our principles of being our brother’s keeper and that without delay. “
He also said he felt disturbed about the news of a song celebrating against a particular ethnic group in Nigeria.
Jonathan appealed to security agencies to do their job by fishing out those behind the song.
Ohanaeze in a statement signed by its President General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that the group had yet to come out of the shock of the mindless and appalling crime.
The Ohanaeze boss said, “The variety of the angles emerging as the likely cause of the incident make thorough and unhindered investigation on the matter inevitable and imperative.”
Nwodo said that getting to the root of the matter would be the only way to nip such type of grievous crime in the bud.
He said that the body would want the Church, especially the Catholic Church, to be part of the investigation so as to get to the real genesis of the incident and to know the reason for such strange sacrilegious crime in Igboland.
He said, “In Igbo land and indeed the entire Christendom, the Church is known as the custodian of peace and reconciliation and not for violence and this is why the August 6th devilish attack on the church remains shocking and strange.”
Nwodo also commended the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, for his timely intervention especially on the plight of the injured in the hospital.
The Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday joined other well-meaning Nigerians and groups in condemning last Sunday’s shooting incident.
In a condolence message to the government and people of Anambra, the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Jonathan Obuebite, on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government, described the incident as most disheartening, shocking and barbaric.
The government noted that the Dickson Seriake-led administration condemned the criminal action in its entirety.
Meanwhile, an aide to Aloysius Ikegwuonu, alias ‘bishop,’ one of the alleged drug barons fingered in the Sunday shooting has dismissed the stories doing the rounds that his principal was a drug baron.
Offomata said the stories portraying ‘bishop’ as a drug peddler were evil and malicious.
Offomata, who said he had been the chairman of a foundation set up by Ikegwuonu in Ozubulu for years, said his boss was an innocuous and pious man.
This, he said, was why he built three churches for Ozubulu community.
He described the police preliminary investigation as corroborated by Obiano that the attack was a gang war imported into the state from abroad as false and unfounded.
He said his principal was an estate developer as well as an international business man.
Addressing newsmen at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union Journalists on Monday night, Offomata described the church incident as a terror attack that had nothing to do with disagreement over a business transaction as alleged.
Meanwhile, a former Commissioner of Health in Anambra State, Prof. Linus Ilika, who hails from Ozubulu, on Tuesday said several youths from the community had been killed and maimed in South Africa over dirty deals.
He described the attack on the worshipers as an abomination.
Ilika, however, said there had never been any report to the community that ‘bishop’ was into drug deals, describing him as a philanthropist.
“There had been a spate of killing of our youths in South Africa and their corpses brought down home for burial. The person who built the church resides in South Africa. There is likely to be dispute and struggle among them but I cannot say exactly what the issues are,”he said.
“But for whatever it is there is no single justification for assassinations and invasion of a place of worship and commit such mass killing of innocent worshipers in a place of worship.”
In another development, the founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, had said that after a week if the police failed to produce the killers of the Ozubulu worshipers, he would deploy Biafra commandos to take over the investigation.
In a statement by Uwazuruike in Awka on Tuesday, he said such killing was unacceptable to him and his movement.
Source: ( PM News )