Monday, 25th September 2023

Ondo Church terror attack: Bishop carpets govt over insecurity, prosecution of suspects

By Adewale Momoh, Akure
11 April 2023   |   4:00 am
Bishop of Ondo Catholic Diocese, Most Revd. Jude Arogundade, has frowned at the inability of the government to find lasting solutions to the issues of insecurity in the country.

Bishop Jude Arogundade (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Bishop of  Ondo Catholic Diocese, Most Revd. Jude Arogundade, has frowned at the inability of the government to find lasting solutions to the issues of insecurity in the country.

Arogundade, who called for the prosecution of the perpetrators over the unprovoked attack on the church 44 weeks ago, stated that the government had failed in its core responsibility to protect life and property of Nigerians.

The bishop spoke at the reopening of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Owo, headquarters of the Owo Local Council Area of Ondo State, on Easter Sunday, for normal church activities, after it was attacked on June 5, 2022.

No fewer than 41 persons were killed and 69 others injured when gunmen invaded the church and opened fire on the worshippers, who attended Pentecost Sunday.

The church was opened, 10 months after the heinous attack, with priests and worshippers attending in their hundreds with solemn looks.

However, the morale of the congregation could not be dampened as they rendered praise to God in high spirits in remembrance of the unfortunate event.

In his homily, the bishop said: “We have to call ourselves back to a greater understanding of what is happening in our society today. I have never seen a nation so comfortable watching the killings of its citizens on a daily basis in the hundreds, and nothing has been done for the past 15 years.

“It doesn’t happen in other places. I don’t know why government refuses to apologise to the citizens they failed. A government that fails or cannot protect its citizens is not worthy to be called a government.

“I wish to say this without fear of anyone that the government of this country has failed us, and you pressmen should record me very well. They have failed in the area of protecting life and property of the people.

“Almost on a daily basis, we hear people being killed in their tens and hundreds; many people have even forgotten what happened in this church ten years ago, because many more have happened without the world paying attention.

“The government must wake up, show strength and courage, and make sure those who carried out the evil that took place in this church and the evil going around our country are brought to book and punished accordingly.”

The Catholic priest added that with the reopening of the church, it symbolised that nothing can stop God’s work.

While reminiscing on the June 5 incident, which attracted national and international sympathy, one of the victims, a nurse, Mrs. Margaret Attah, who lost both legs and one of her eyes to the attack, wore the scars like a badge of honour with appreciation to God for the strength to overcome the turbulent times.

Attah, who commended the government, the church, and Nigerians for coming through for her during the three-month stay at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo, stated that the experience could not be forgotten.
Similarly, Mrs. Christianah Oladele, who was hit by a bullet on her back, gave God the glory for her survival.

Oladele,  who is still in pain, said the attack will not deter her from worshipping God and coming to church.

Families of those that died in the attack,  also said they were comforted that their loved ones departed while serving God.