Ishaku, Others Condemn Massacre, Call for Thorough Investigation


• Adewole promises FG’s support
Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia, John Shiklam in Kaduna, Paul Obi and Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and Sylvester Idowu in Warri

A cross section of Nigerians and groups on Monday condemned last Sunday’s attack on St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State where 11 persons where killed.

For instance, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State decried the church massacre, describing it as intolerable, barbaric and senseless.
He said the perpetrators did not only display cowardice but have shown how bestial they have become.

In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, the governor noted that the attackers must be found and served due justice.
Ishaku also condoled with the family of the victims, noting that their wards died like martyrs. He also prayed for the repose of their souls.
He urged citizens to be more cautious and take proactive measures in ensuring security.

On his part, a Niger Delta human rights activist, Sheriff Mulade, condemned what he referred to as “Ozubulu killings,” urging the security agencies to apprehend the perpetrators.
He warned that the killings have portrayed the nation in bad light and that the only saving grace to redeem the image of the country is to ensure that the incident is not swept under the carpet.

“I condemned the Ozubulu killings. It is condemnable. Innocent people were killed just because of gang war. The federal government and the security agents should get to the route of the matter.
“The nation’s image is at stake with the killings starting from South Africa and snowballed into the country. The international community is watching us. This case must not be swept under the carpet like previous one,” he added.

Mulade, who is the National Coordinator of Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), condoled relations of the victims and those injured and commended Governor Wike Obiano for promising to foot the medical bills of those injured.
Also, the Global Amnesty Watch (GAW) has described the attack as the worst form of evil against humanity.

GAW in a statement signed by its Assistant Country Representative, Dr. Chinedu Chukwu, condemned the attack, describing it as an ungodly and wicked act that should be condemned by all due to its brazenness, indecency and barbarity.

“It is befuddling how anybody could contemplate, plan and execute such evil and pursue it to the extent of snuffing the lives of innocent persons and it is more worrisome that the perpetrators could contemplate violating the sanctity of the sacred chamber of a house of worship and go all out to pursue their plan where prayers are being said to reverence to the Almighty God!
“This is not only wicked but barbaric, dastardly and abominable, and could only be a manifestation of the worst form of insanity and mentally deranged minds,” the statement said.

GAW urged the government to go beyond the mere promise to deal with the perpetrators of the attacks, stressing that this time around, all efforts should be made to bring the perpetrators to book as it would not only serve as deterrent to other criminally-minded persons but would assure all citizens that they are free to practice their faith without hindrance.

Also, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has called for forensic investigation of the dastardly act.
He made the call yesterday in Umuahia while reacting to the gruesome murder of the worshippers, saying the bullets used by the gunmen should be subjected to forensic examination to determine the source and the likely suspects that carried out the massacre.
The Biafra leader, who described the incident as “barbaric,” said it was improper for the police to make a hasty conclusion and attribute the heinous crime to drug related dispute between indigenes of Ozubulu, adding that such conclusion smacked of foul play and cover-up.

“We are asking for a forensic examination to be conducted to ascertain the type of bullet used in the attack. It makes a mockery of the entire security system that people can work into a town and massacre innocent civilians and walk away. Where are the security agencies?, he said.

He added that “all options should remain open because our people are not known for gang killings. It is alien to us. The only people capable of carrying out such heinous mass execution are the Fulani terrorists going by their antecedents. They are the ones who have been invading our farms and villages killing our people. So what makes this one different?”
Kanu faulted the police for hastily going public to exonerate terrorists from the attack without conducting thorough investigation, adding that it was baffling that the police had apparently foreclosed looking in the direction of terrorists in the investigation of the church massacre.

According to him, all options must remain open and the dragnets for suspects should wide enough and not limited to Ozubulu as Ndigbo do not have the culture of carrying out mass killing for whatever reason how much more in a place of worship.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Caritas Nigeria, an arm of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, yesterday said the attack may have a spiral effect.

He told THISDAY in Abuja that the best strategy to prevent escalation of the crisis is for the authority to fish out the perpetrators.
“Things have been happening, but nobody envisage that kind of thing, things have been happening, but this is really way out, there is no more respect for sacred places, it is really a shock.

“My fear is that it might have a spiral effect. In Nigeria, if someone has done something wrong, and gone away with it, somebody would want to try it.”
Bassey said: “Caritas Nigeria is shocked that such killings should happen in the church, it is terrible, it is sacrilegious.”
He urged security agencies to ensure that they uncover the culprits responsible for the gruesome killing.

On his part, the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, commiserated with the Government and people of Anambra State on the unfortunate incident.
In a statement yesterday signed by the ministry’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Mrs. Boade Akinola, Adewole promise federal government’s support in terms of providing the needed medical facilities and manpower.

He also assured Governor Obiano that his ministry was monitoring the events and had placed on standby a team that can be urgently deployed to beef up services in the Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi if the need arises.

The minister who described the incidence as shocking, said he had also directed the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Government Hospital to offer all the necessary services to the casualties with the assurance of immediate support of the federal government as soon as such is required.
He also commended the team at the hospital for being proactive in their response to the emergency.