Treat masqueraders engaging in violent act as terrorists, says Bishop
The Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese, Prof. Godfrey Onah, on Sunday said any masquerader that blocks the roads, beats and extorts money from people should be treated as terrorist and cultist.
Onah made the assertion at a church service in Nsukka, while commenting on the beating of a seminarian by a group of masqueraders called “Oriokpa’’ in Nsukka.
According to him, the law enforcement agents should treat any masquerader that blocks the roads, beats and extorts money from people as terrorist and cultist.
“It is unfortunate that in this 21st century, some youths in Nsukka area will cover their faces, block the roads, beating and extorting money from people who are going about their legitimate businesses.
“The security agents should treat these criminals, who hide under the guise of masquerade as a culture to harass and harm law-abiding citizens, as terrorists and cultists,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on March 29, a seminarian serving in Nsukka Diocese, Lawrence Ezeugwu, was beaten into a coma by a group of masqueraders who blocked the road at Ugwuoyia, Nsukka.
“This is a sacrilege and abomination and the church will ensure that all those involved are brought to book and as well fight to put an end to this evil culture.
“As bishop of this diocese, I am ready to lay down my life in fighting to stop this man inhumanity to man by masqueraders in Nsukka, who block the roads and intimidate innocent residents,” he said.
Onah said that the matter was immediately reported to the police and one of the masqueraders was subsequently arrested.
The cleric described masquerade in Nsukka as a “cult and a form of idol worship’’, saying that he would deal with any Catholic member engaging in masquerade, no matter his position in the church.
“The Nsukka Oriokpa Masquerade is an evil cult and a form of idol worship, anybody engaging in it is worshiping idol,” he said.
In his reactions, Mr Ebere Amaizu, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, confirmed the incident, adding that one of the masqueraders was already in police custody.
“The police in Nsukka have arrested one of the masqueraders that beat and inflicted knife cut on a catholic seminarian on Wednesday.
“Investigations are being intensified to ensure that all those involved in that unfortunate incident are arrested and charged to court,” he said.
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