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Owo’s deaths mounted: Blood on the altar, a sacrifice on a Pentecost Sunday?

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Owo’s deaths mounted: Blood on the altar, a sacrifice on a Pentecost Sunday?

By: James Bwala

‘If you are O+, and can go to 44 please do.’ These are the calls for emergency at the Federal Medical Centre in Owo, Ondo State. It was a black Sunday as deaths mounted from the hands of marauding killers welded with AK47 rifles at the entrance of St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state in southwest Nigeria.

Emergency workers are calling for blood donors, in the aftermath of the attack.

“They desperately need blood here. Whatever blood type you are, today is a day people need you to donate.” Health workers at the medical centre said.

They were urging residents of the town who are able to donate blood to do so. Nigeria is burning from within and there is silence everywhere. On Sunday, June 5, 2022 attacked at the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, the home town of the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu left mounting deaths.

The Ondo state Police Command’s spokesperson, DSP Odunlami Ibukun confirmed the incident but said details of the casualty would be communicated in a statement.

According to the PPRO “we are currently at the scene of the incident to assess damages made. It is not like what has been trending on social media. We will soon issue a statement to give you details of what happened.”

Rev Father Andrew Abayomi, one of the priests at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, has said that they were about to close the service and people started leaving when they heard the first sound of a gunshot.

“We hid inside the church but some people had left when the attack happened. We locked ourselves in the church for 20 minutes. When we heard that they had left, we opened the church and rushed victims to the hospital.” He told newsmen.

About 50 people were reportedly killed with scores injured. A member of the St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in Owo council area of Ondo State, Kehinde Ogunkorode has confirmed that gunmen suspected to be kidnappers attacked the church killing no fewer than 25 worshippers.

However the figures turnout to be, this was a sad day for Nigeria. The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN, is deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, worshipping at the St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, on Sunday. 

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A statement from Richard Olatunde , Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Ondo State said the vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years. 

“It is a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state.

“I have spoken to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, who is presently on his way to Owo. Similarly, I have had to cut short my party’s national assignment in Abuja and visit Owo immediately. 

“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, we shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolve to rid our state of criminals. 

“I commiserate with my people in Owo, particularly families of those who lost their lives to this ugly and unfortunate attack. I extend my condolences to Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye as well as the Catholic Church. 

“I urge our people to remain calm and vigilant. Do not take laws into your hands. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I have equally been assured that security operatives would be deployed to monitor and restore normalcy to Owo kingdom.” Governor Akeredolu said. 

Rev. Fr Augustine Ikwu, Director Social Communications at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo dismissed the social media reports which say some Priests were abducted by the assailants. He described the attack as sad, adding that it is Pentecost Sunday, when every Catholic is expected to be in Church to commemorate the solemnity.

“While the mass was going on, unknown gunmen attacked leaving many dead and many others injured and the Church violated. The identity of the attackers remains unknown while the situation has left the community devastated.” Father Augustine said.

According to him, at this point in the history of our dear country Nigeria, we need God’s ultimate intervention to restore peace and tranquility.

“All the Priests and Bishop in the parish are safe and none was abducted as reported in social media. Nonetheless, let us continue to pray for them and the good people of Owo and the state at large.” He added.

While the security agencies are trying to figure out who the attackers are, residents and Nigerians are yet to come to terms with such an unholy act. Many Nigerians who spoke to the media wonder what has turned over the people to breed such evils against innocent worshippers.

The attack on St Francis Catholic Church in Owo has redefined relationships in the co-existence of people within the socio-political and religious inclination in Nigeria. The days ahead may perhaps give birth to more evil unless those blood spilled on the altar are for the sacrifice of peace.

Owo’s deaths mounted: Blood on the altar, a sacrifice on a Pentecost Sunday?

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