Owo massacre: Lessons for Nigerians
On April 9, 2023, St Francis Xavier Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria was reopened. This is 10 months from 5 June 2022 when a bomb attack and mass shooting took place during a church service in the church; in which 41 persons lost their lives and several others sustained different degrees of injuries. Up till now there are no culprits or those suspected to have carried out such a devilish and dastardly act. Such incidences and attacks have been going on and on in the country in recent times. The Fulani herders and the Islamic jihads are prime suspects.
To make matters worse, the only thing we get from the government is mourning and lamentation and nothing happens hereafter. To be on the side of truth, government is made up groups and individuals from different political parties. And they are human beings with flesh and blood. Then, how could we reconcile that the blood of innocent citizens is poured out and shed often and no one gives a hoot. Some said it was a reprisal attack on the governor of Ondo State for sending away violent Fulani pastoralists.
On that same Saturday before Easter, we heard of several bloody attacks in Benue, Lagos and Edo. Gunmen, kidnappers and Fulani herdsmen taking the blood of Nigerians for ransom. That of Benue State was one too many. The government of Benue State despaired and lost every confidence in the Federal government seeing that the character of Nigeria at the centre is much compromised. If the Federal Government according to the 1999 Constitution wields the greater power in Nigeria, then the primary duty and function of every government is the protection of its people. The loss of lives and property witnessed in Nigeria most of the time shows that the state has failed or there is malfunctioning in the government. It is very obvious that Nigeria is at war – call it political, tribal, religious, ethnic, economic or any other thing. The experience of poor masses in Nigeria bemoans the government and portray the state of citizens in a war-torn zone. There is a serious battle for the soul of Nigeria.
These days, most children in Nigeria live a life that is filled with fear. Not just fear of the unknown but the fear of sudden death. The main reason our children live in fear is because we parents live in fear. Children are great natural learners and they learn best through observation and imitation. At the beginning of any new government administration, there is always an influx of litigation which when neglected or swept under the carpet plunges the nation into untold hardship and suffering as we have in Nigeria today. Those in government and their cronies do not consider nor value competence, character, capacity even integrity. All they care about is that they are or their cronies are in power availing them the freedom to perpetuate impunity. This is no longer the Nigeria of our dream. All is not well with Nigeria.
A government that has been overwhelmed by insecurity should have done nothing but step aside for a new leader with a sense of human dignity and sanctity of life to take over. Bloodletting and killings have continued unabated in Nigeria for these past years. It seems that there is no end in view. Citizens are tempted to take up arms and defend themselves. We must not continue in this way. Nigeria is at the verge of extinction because values, honour and indoctrination has been misplaced. All we hear is that the President laments as 400 dies in 3 weeks.
We will win. Our victory is assured. One of Satan’s chief weapons is “fear”. He uses it constantly. Intimidation and manipulation are what the enemy uses. Anyone doing these to Nigerians is in fellowship with Satan, because they are using a weapon from Satan’s armoury. ‘God does not give us the spirit of fear’…(2 Timothy1:7) Fear is always a weapon of Satan. So, we should not be afraid of the threats and intimidatory tactics that men use against us. Faith is the link between fear and hope. A New Nigeria is Possible!
Toochukwu wrote from Trade Fair Complex, ASPAMDA Lagos State.