Bishop: ‘Nigeria is waiting’ for justice in Pentecost Sunday church massacre

Nigeria Altar of St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese, Nigeria, where dozens were slain in a massacre on June 5, 2022. | Courtesy of ACN

Six months after the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish in Ondo Diocese, which left 39 Catholic worshipers killed and more than 80 injured, there have been arrests and promises but no prosecution, Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaye has lamented.

“Dec. 5, 2022, is the sixth month of the evil attack, the dead have been buried and their people and other well-wishers are still in sorrowful moods,” the leader of Ondo’s neighboring Ekiti Diocese said in a Dec. 5 statement.

“Nigeria is still waiting.”

On Aug. 11, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor told journalists that four suspects allegedly involved in the June 5 attack had been arrested. He identified the suspects as Idris Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Abubakar, Aliyu Itopa, and Auwal Onimisi.

“More than ever, the people who have been in custody since they were arrested need to be prosecuted now,” Femi emphasized.

“General Irabor, Nigeria is still waiting,” he said, adding that the Nigerian security official should issue an update on the investigation and the status of the prosecution.

There were “outcries, condemnations, and there were promises” made nationally and internationally, the bishop noted.

“As usual, the Buhari-led government commiserated with the people concerned. Typical of the administration’s trademark, it vowed to be on top of the situation and fish out the culprits,” Femi said. Yet authorities have said little since announcing the arrests months ago.

Referring to the Gospel of St. Matthew, the bishop said: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: It is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”

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