Keeping his emotions in check, Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano, paused in horror as he stared at the bloodied floor and walls of the St. Philips Catholic Church in Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He disclosed that preliminary investigations pointed in the direction of two drug lords from the area, but he was at a loss to explain why innocent lives were traded in a church. Both drug lords are said to be based in South Africa.
Casualty figures are put between eight and 30 depending on the source of information.
One of the drug lords is believed to have built the church and furnished it; and it was the search for him that brought the gunmen who unleashed terror on innocent worshippers.
Obiano said: “This is sacrilegious, totally unacceptable in Anambra State…. We can’t allow this happen in Anambra, we must get everyone involved to face the music.”
The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, commiserated with the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Governor of Anambra State, and the families of the victims of the unwarranted, senseless, and wicked killings that took place at St. Philip’s Catholic Church today.
Added Ayokunle: “What are these silly gunmen here and there turning our nation to be? Whatever may be the reason or reasons for this dastardly act cannot justify this criminal jungle justice. Without doubt, the act is a madness the all of us must condemn in strong terms.
“I urge the Federal Government through the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in particular to address the issue of proliferation of arms and ammunitions so as to make our world safer.
“The perpetrators of this ungodly act must be brought to book without delay. I call on the Police to fish out those responsible and there must not be any cover up. Enough of these killings in the country.
“If the places of worship are no longer safe again, what has become the security of lives and property?
“We pray to God to console and comfort all the bereaved and heal those who are recuperating in the hospitals.”
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, expressed deep sadness over the massacre.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that the killing of worshippers represents the purest kind of evil, and the security services must not stop until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Today, my heart goes out to Nigeria’s Christian community, Governor Willy Obiano, the people of Anambra State, and the families of the victims and the survivors of this terrible massacre,” the Senate President said, “This brutal act of attacking innocent and unsuspecting worshippers represents the purest kind of evil.
“Our security forces must not stop until everyone involved in the orchestration and execution of today’s massacre in St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Anambra are brought to book by the strong arm of justice.
“The Senate will continue to offer any form of necessary assistance in this endeavor, because today, all of us, as Nigerians have been attacked by this senseless act committed by evil people”, Saraki stated.
He further urged security agencies in the country to step up their intelligence activities so as to prevent activities of criminals and also unravel any crime committed against Nigerians by undesirable elements in the society.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, described the attack as abominable, barbaric, inhuman, and the height of wickedness.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said his heart is broken by the sad news of the massacre of innocent worshippers in cold blood by people he described as ” sons of perdition whose souls will rot in hell.”
“Have we lost our humanity? Where is the place of sanctity of life and sacredness of worship places in our society? What offence did the worshippers commit to warrant their massacre in cold blood by wicked souls and heartless men?”
The Speaker lamented that increasing insecurity is reducing Nigeria to the state of nature as life is increasingly becoming cheap.
He again reiterated his call for the overhaul of Nigeria’s policing architecture that will lead to reform of the Police Force, equip them with modern and sophisticated gadgets so as to discharge their duties of protecting lives and property effectively, and ensure social order in the society.
Dogara further called on security agencies to fish out perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to justice speedily.
He extended his heartfelt condolences to families of the victims, people and government of Anambra state, Nigeria and the Catholic Church over the sad and unfortunate incident.