Like many Nigerians, I received with shock the horrendous news of the terrorist attack at St Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa in Owo, Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday, 5th June, 2022. My heart grieves for the families of the dead and wounded, even as I pray for the quick and miraculous recovery of their bodies and minds following Sunday’s carnage. I also extend my condolences to the Catholic community of Ondo State, the good people of the Sunshine State and Nigerians at large over this incident and indeed the many other such unfortunate killings that are going on around our nation.
Whilst insecurity and killings have unfortunately become a daily occurrence in our Nation, the manner and scale of yesterday’s attack at a place of worship, which ought to be a place of physical and spiritual refuge, leaves one dumbfounded. That terrorists chose the occasion of a religious festival to unleash their evil machinations bears testament to underlying motivation to their act: to exacerbate the already tensed ethno-religious mood in the Nation. Against this background, I encourage Nigerians to see through the wicked antics of the murderous cowards who seek to divide us when, in actual fact, they are the common enemy.
While the government, both at the State and Federal levels have taken turns to condemn the heinous act, we, as citizens must make it clear that such routine and often bland condemnations are not sufficient in addressing the problem. The government must be seen to match its words with action in stamping out all forms of insecurity and terrorism in the land, as the primary responsibility of government anywhere in the world is the security and welfare of the citizenry.
I am further confounded, that this unfortunate incident seems to be overshadowed by the political jostling for presidential tickets by the political parties and our so-called leaders. In a society where lives matter, nothing else should dominate the media and mood of the country, over and above the senseless killings of yesterday. Our Politicians must be reminded that they can only prevail over a relatively peaceful Nigeria – there are no elections or office holders in a graveyard.
We as citizens and indeed the press must always emphasize the sanctity and preeminence of the human life. We must never become desensitized to the point where lives do not matter to us any longer.
That said, I urge the Federal and State governments, as well as the entire Nigerian security apparatuses to leave no stone unturned in apprehending the perpetrators of this most inhumane and barbarous act, and to bring them to justice whilst taking proactive steps towards forestalling a repeat of same. To be sure, this is the least that is expected of them.
I call on Nigerians to be vigilant in these dangerous times, and within the ambit of the law, come together as communities to self-police in collaboration with our Security agencies.
May God bless Nigeria; protect us; strengthen our security forces as they defend our lives and properties; guide our seemingly unconcerned leaders to do all that is necessary to protect lives and properties; secure our borders and homes; and awaken the sleeping giant called Nigeria to its full potentials and to take its rightful place as the leader of Africa to the World, to the honor of the black man and the glory of God- Amen!
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