Catholic bishops, NACOMYO bemoan attack on church worshippers

St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu.

Outpour of condemnation has continued to trail the gruesome massacre on Sunday, of worshippers at the St Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu in Anambra State.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, (CBCN), yesterday through Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria said the killing of innocent worshippers by unidentified gunmen, is not only devastating and despicable but has become a new dimension of terrorism in the country.

According to the Madu: “This dastardly act further confirms the fear of the insecurity of life and property by law abiding citizens.”

The President of the CBCN, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama also condemned and described it as terribly inhuman and barbaric.

Similarly, the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO) condemned the attack on the church, describing the action as barbaric, heinous and a sacrilege.

In a statement in Abeokuta yesterday, its National President, Alhaji Kamal’deen AkIntunde, said that a worship place should not be a premises to settle scores or “take a pound of flesh” over a row or disagreement between groups or persons.

The group also noted that worship centres are “sanctuaries that guarantee safety, protection, succour and peace and therefore should never be invaded or attacked under any guise or pretext.”

According to the statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Kamal’deen AkIntunde, sacrilegious crime that is becoming a recurring decimal in the country was indicative of the ‘end time.’

The body commiserated with the Christian community, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and especially the Catholic bloc whose brethren experienced the havoc.

NACOMYO urged government and security agencies to spare no effort in fishing out the attackers and enjoined the leadership of religious places to “take proactive initiative, including mounting of Close-Circuit Television (CCT) and other security devices that will check such incident.”

Also, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, has described the killing of the church worshippers as an ‘attack on God.’

Okorocha, who said this yesterday, when the Pope’s representative to Togo and Benin Republic, Most Revd. Brain Udaigwe, and some Bishops visited him at the Government House, Owerri, wondered how human beings had degenerated and acted in such a manner as to declare war against God in his house, saying it was ‘unthinkable.’

He urged the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, to bring the culprits to book.

The governor also appealed to the church leaders to condemn the divisive calls by separatist groups to divide Nigeria, insisting that such calls were born out of ignorance of the campaigners. He said if the callers realize what they are doing, they would desist from such.

On the crisis rocking Ahiara Catholic diocese, he urged the Papal Nucio, to appeal to Pope Francis to take rightful decision to restore peace.

Udaigwe, expressed happiness over the concern and love the governor has shown the catholic community in Imo, noting that since his enthronement as Bishop, Okorocha, has continued to exhibit love, stressing that he would continue to pray for him.

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