The Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria on Monday said any government that cannot protect the lives of its citizenry is obviously telling them to defend themselves by whatever means.
It said this while reacting to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday.
The Council equally called on constituted authorities to not just condemn criminality, but treat the life of every citizen as “very important not minding where he or she comes from”.
It recalls that on Sunday, 5th June 2022, scores of parishioners of the church were killed by yet-to-be-identified gunmen during mass.
While reacting to the incident, the Laity Council through its President, Sir Henry Yunkwap, flanked by other officials, during a press briefing in Jos, the Plateau State capital, urged the government to act by ensuring perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted.
“I am heartbroken and I find it very difficult to address my people at this moment knowing fully well that we are yet to recover from the recent murder of our daughter and friend, the late Deborah Samuel by some heartless religious extremists in Sokoto State.
“While we are making frantic efforts to console our people and also plead with our youth not to take laws in their hands but to abide by the bible injunction which admonished us, as Christians, to allow God take control and vengeance in all circumstances, over 50 innocent worshipers on Sunday, June 5, 2022, at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State were gruesomely murdered by the people we’ve deliberately refused to identify them by their names but prefer to use ‘unknown gun men’ when referring to them.
“The crime committed by those killed were just two; one; they were Christians and secondly because they were in Church on Sunday worshipping God.
“As a Christian group and direct mourners of this sad incident, we do not want to only condemn this barbaric act carried out by these animals in human form, but use this medium to let the government know that we have taken enough of this killing of our people and we now find it very difficult to chew what they’ve forcefully put in our mouth. The only option left is to throw it out,” he said.
According to the Council, “For any government who cannot provide security for her people, it is indirectly telling them to defend themselves by whatever means they can. We are indeed tired of words, we want action and the urgent arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of this evil act.
“Our leaders must rise against just condemning this act by using the overused words like ‘bringing the perpetrators to book’. They must see the life of every Nigerian as very important not minding where he or she comes from.
“What the victims want from the government now for their souls to rest in peace, is the assurance that their killers will be arrested and dealt with according to the laws of the land.
“I hereby on behalf of the entire Catholic Laity in Nigeria sympathize with the Bishop, priests and the Laity of Ondo Diocese over this act. Our hearts are with you. We pray for the departed souls and quick recovery to the injured.”