Endless attacks on cult centers!


AAbout two weeks ago the media was inundated with the sad news of the bombing and killing of worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church on Owa-luwa Street in the town of Owo, in Owo Local Government Area in Ondo State.

The entire country was shocked by this devastating, gruesome and barbaric attack on a group of people innocently worshiping their God in the South West, a part of the country that had been spared such deadly attacks, a feature that has become common in many many other regions. from the country.

As many as 40 innocent worshipers lost their lives and many more were injured in the cowardly attack that many hoped and prayed would be the last. No one in their right mind would want to see the video of this attack again!

The video footage of this attack was horrifying to watch. It showed worshipers killed as blood littered the church, even as some worshipers were seen lying in a pool of their own blood. May we never see this kind of bloodshed in our country again. Ondo State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who visited the scene of the attack, described the incident as “a big massacre” that should not happen again. President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack, calling it “heinous! The Vatican said Pope Francis was praying for the victims who were “painfully struck in a moment of celebration”.

The identity and motive of the attackers was not immediately clear, as the perpetrators did not take responsibility. However, the federal government said the attack was likely carried out by a terrorist group, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola said this during a briefing to journalists after the meeting of the National Security Council chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Council is very concerned about the violent attack in Owo, Ondo State. We were able to locate the footprints of the perpetrators of this attack and from all indications we are focusing on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP),” Aregbesola said.

However, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has punched holes in the declaration of the Islamic State West Africa Province as being responsible for the federal government’s terror attack, calling their too hasty conclusion.

Akeredolu, who said he took the conclusion with a grain of salt, added that ISWAP is known to take responsibility for its attacks and has always acknowledged any attack carried out by its members. Similarly, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has described allegations linking the Islamic State West Africa Province or Boko Haram to the attack as mere speculation. Fayemi pointed out that no evidence confirmed that the terrorists were responsible for the attack.

Amid controversy over who was responsible for the sad incident, authorities in Ondo State last Friday held a mass funeral for the victims of the massacre. The attack has raised fears, and rightly so, that the Islamic State West Africa Province which has been blamed for the attack is spreading from the north to other parts of Nigeria. At the scene, hundreds of people gathered to attend the funeral mass, including state and church officials. During the mass, church authorities denounced the attack and said the government must do more to protect citizens. “I call on President Buhari and our leaders in the federal government or state government to wake up, sit up and take action to secure lives and properties across Nigeria,” the statement said. Catholic Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, one of the officiating clergy. “How many more have to die? Is life really worth more with you? Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has promised to improve security. “What happened to us in Owo is indescribable, I am at a loss for words,” he said. “We still have more than 70 in hospital, some have been discharged. I am here in front of you to accept a breach of security, we have failed to defend these people.

Nigeria is experiencing an increase in armed gang attacks ahead of the country’s general elections. Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari promised to improve security when he was elected seven years ago and improving security remains a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.

Owo Attack: Shame Lingers

What better way to show that nothing has been learned from the Owo church attack than the sad news that churches were again attacked on Sunday, just two weeks after the Owo massacre.

According to media reports, four people were killed while 44 others were abducted by terrorists in an attack on two churches in Rubu community, Kajuru local government area, Kaduna state. The terrorists attacked worshipers of St. Moses Catholic Church and Maranatha Baptist Church in the community during mass at the Catholic Church and service at the Baptist Church. Most of those abducted are believed to be women and children. Those injured were reportedly taken to St. Gerald’s Catholic Hospital in Kaduna for treatment.

Has Nigeria returned to the days when people are not safe even in sacred places like churches and mosques? Is this a classic case where the more things change, the more they stay the same? In April this year, Muslim worshipers observing the Ramadan fast in Taraba state were left in mourning when unidentified gunmen killed a monarch at a mosque. The attack took place in Maisamari town of Sardauna local government council in Mambilla plateau around 7:25 p.m. as Muslims observed their Ishaa prayers in the mosque. The incident came just two weeks after gunmen launched an attack on a Bali local government council mosque, killing three people and leaving others injured to varying degrees. The deceased district leader’s name was given as Alhaji Abdulkadir Maisamari, while several worshipers escaped with varying degrees of injuries.

Similarly, on October 26, 2021, gunmen killed 16 worshipers at a mosque in Niger State. According to media reports, dozens of gunmen on motorbikes stormed Maza-Kuka village in Mashegu district of Niger state and opened fire during morning prayers, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane said. , Secretary to the State Government. “The bandits shot dead 16 people inside the mosque while they were praying,” Matane told AFP.

Three worshipers were injured in the attack, one of them seriously, he added.

What does this tell us and what message are the authors trying to convey to us? And what are the implications? The message is loud and clear. This is to tell us that we are not safe anywhere in the country, not even in places of worship. It’s also a clear indication that our security agencies still have a lot to do as it looks like the outlaws are one step ahead of them. It is also a reminder to Abuja that it has reached the point where it must delegate police powers to state and local governments as can be achieved in other parts of the world. The security situation is dire. This is a situation that Nigerians cannot leave to the government and security agents alone. Safety should be everyone’s business. The message everywhere should be: “If you see something, say something.

Although sad to say, the religious authorities in the interim should take their security into their own hands, as the government seemed overwhelmed. Worship centers should increase their security by having more public and private security personnel during worship sessions. They should have security equipment, including bomb detectors and CCTV inside and outside worship centers. That said, we need a proactive security architecture that should stop terrorists before they strike. This is the only way to have lasting peace in the country and Nigerians will go to their places of worship without fear of being killed.



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