The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the attack on St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, describing it as “outrageous” just as it called for an overhaul of the country’s security architecture
CAN stated this on Sunday, in a statement signed by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Media Assistant to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle.
The association called on the security agencies to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack and also console families of the bereaved.
The statement partly reads: “This is sad, wrong, condemnable, outrageous, unacceptable and satanic. There is no explanation for this unprovoked attack and assault on a place of worship. This is raw persecution. These people are possessed, demonic and are not working for the good of the country. May God descend heavily on them and fight them mindless agents of Satan from their roots in Jesus’ name.
“We are once again reiterating our quest for a total overhauling of the security architecture and are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the recycling of those criminals and terrorists in the name of de-radicalising programme. If the programme is not counterproductive, how come the criminalities are always on the increase and nowhere is safe again.
“This menace of insecurity has gotten out of hands and is embarrassingly sore. Criminals are operating with impunity all over the country and unfortunately our government appears to be so busy with the 2023 general election that it has no time for the unending killings in the country. What legacy is the government and those who are the managers of our security architecture leaving behind for the unborn generation?
“We are praying for the government and the security agencies to get it right before it will be too late. If the Federal government is not interested in the State Police, what efforts are being put in place to arrest this unpleasant situation? We call on the State Governors to meet with the President to find the lasting solution to these killings. Issuing mere press statements of condemnations and what looks like empty threat is apparently not a way out of it.
“CAN commiserates with all the bereaved, the Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) and the Ondo State Government.”
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the “gruesome terrorist attack” is an indication that the federal government has failed in the war against insecurity.
Debo Ologunagba, the PDP national publicity secretary, said: “The PDP is alarmed by reports of how the terrorists invaded the church, opened fire on worshippers, freely used explosives within the premises, murdered our compatriots in cold blood and left unchallenged.
“Today’s attack on St. Francis Church appears to be a part in the series of apparently organized assaults by terrorists who are emboldened by the alleged complicity of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, which has refused to confront the terrorists despite being aware of their plans as exposed by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai at the wake of recent terrorist attacks on Kaduna State.”
Also, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has condemned the attack, describing it as a direct attack on the State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, for his unflinching support for security in Yoruba land by championing the Amotekun security outfit, as well as his stringent upholding of the open grazing law, and for his ‘big mouth’ about Southern co-operation for equity and justice in Nigeria.
A statement by the group’s Secretary, Apagun Kole Omololu, said, the group will not succumb to terrorist threats or attacks, adding that they will not be allowed to bring down their civilisation, just as it vowed to hunt the killers down.
It warned the residents in the state not to take laws into their hands by any act of criminality or attacking innocent and law-abiding residents in the state.
The statement reads:The horrendous incident at the St. Francis Catholic Church in the ancient Yoruba city of Owo, Ondo State, where scores of worshippers were killed by herdsmen wielding most sophisticated weapons is not just an attack on the Church and the psyche of all decent people all over the world but a deliberate show at testing the self-defence strength of the Yoruba people in resisting the importation of the horrible culture of violence into our land.
“St. Francis Catholic Church, the site of this inhuman carnage, is not only at the heart of Owo, but in fact sandwiched between the Oba Market and the Palace of the Olowo of Owo, an ancient Yoruba monarchical heritage, long declared a national monument, and epicentre of human civilisation. It is an attack on our traditional economy typified by an Oja Oba and the enduring political culture rated even by colonialists as of immemorial global significance.
“We observe that this attack is coming less than a week after the Methodist Prelate was kidnapped by herdsmen and was only ransomed with the huge sum of One Hundred Million Naira with the respected clergy alluding to the complicity of the nation’s security forces in tandem with the earlier allegation by General Theophilus Danjuma, a former Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Army. In all of these, the Federal Government of Nigeria, which against federal precepts, continues to monopolise security and its architecture, has proven most helpless and irresponsible in securing life and property, an irrefutable sign of the failure of the Nigerian State.
“The World be told to hold the Federal Government of Nigeria responsible for the ensuing consequences of this deliberate assault on the will of the Yoruba people for peace in our land in our unstoppable strives for development matching with the rest of the civilised world. We say in clear terms that the noiseless glides of the Amotekun is no sign of fear and that this stamp on the tail of the viper is one too many.
“We commiserate with the scores of families who have lost their loved ones, the Church which even in innocence have been bruised, Kabiesi, the Olowo of Owo, whose sacred eyes must not behold the corpse of his subjects and the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, who, in spite of all constitutional odds, has held his head high on the issue of our people’s security.”