Rotimi Akeredolu

Owo Black Sunday Massacre: The Heinous “Murder in the Cathedral”


There is no more respect for the sanctity of human lives everywhere, there is no more respect for the holiest of holies anywhere. Everywhere has become an abattoir for the slaughtering of humans like a cow. No place is sacred even the church where the Christians were worshipping their God.

The gruesome murder of the nearly hundreds of men and women, young and old, adults and children who went to church on the Black Sunday of June 5, 2022 A.D at the Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State of Nigeria reminds me of what happened in the Church of England which Thomas (T.S.) Elliot, the famous English writer titled one of his historical novels; “Murder in the Cathedral.”

A heinous crime happened in a distant time and place in England when a Bishop was murdered in a church.

In the words of Dele Giwa, the late founding Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch Magazine; “One life taken in cold blood is as gruesome as millions who lost in a pogrom”.

It was a bad omen that it was not only one life that was taken in the murder in the Owo Church but over 30 lives lost their lives in that murder in the cathedral and more than 50 men and women were injured in that pogrom in the church as if they have nothing to live for in a Country that enshrined the Freedom of religion and worship in its Constitution and where the security of life and welfare of the citizens is the object of the government.

My heart bleeds and I empathize with the Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State at this period and the Church universal at a time like this when the terrorists who are the “Enemy of the People” are having their field days in our Country called Nigeria.

The Governor of Ondo State who is also an indigene of Owo town, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has directed all public buildings, facilities and official residences to fly all flags in the state at half-mast for seven days in honour of the victims of the Owo terror attack of the last Sunday.

Governor Akeredolu said, ” the attack on innocent worshipers at Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo was a deliberate and calculated assault on the people of the state”. The Governor said: “Those who unleashed this unprovoked terror attack on our people have tested our collective resolves. We will not be deterred in responding appropriately to this dastardly act.”

“In honour of the victims of this unfortunate attack, I hereby direct that all flags be flown at half-mast for seven days, starting from today, Monday, June 6 to Sunday, June 12, 2022. It is a collective loss to the people of our dear state.” Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said.

The rise of radicalization and insurgency are too many in our land. These terrorists are humans in flesh and blood like us.

Although, they are Agents of the Devil in the toga of the religion of Peace. Weeks ago, it was Deborah Samuel in Sokoto, the seat of the Caliphate, last few days it was Murdered in the Owo Church, the respected town of the great Monarch, Olowo of Owo Kingdom and We don’t know who is Next to be attacked and “Our weapon is not carnal ” as a Christian but these early transitions to heaven or paradise are too many. Life is beautiful!

In the words of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni-born environmental activist and writer: “Injustice stalks the land like a Tiger on its prowl, to be at the mercy of the buffoons is an ultimate insult”.

We have seen terrorists having their field days too much around Nigeria, from North East to South East, North West to South West and North Central to Southern Nigeria, no Region is safe in Nigeria.

We can’t take democracy, or freedom of religion and worship, security and respect for the sanctity of human lives, tolerance or human progress for granted. We have to work for it. And that means building peace and its sustainability and supporting the individuals and government who want to be forces for good. The security architecture of this nation should not be taken for granted as well. The government at all levels should ensure the safety of the lives of the citizens.

The perpetrators of the Owo Attack of the last Sunday should be brought to book. “Any act of Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

As we say Requiem for the dead: May the souls of departed from the murder in the Cathedral at Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on the Black Sunday, June 5, 2022, Anno Domini rest in peace.

The dead should not die in vain. May those who murder sleep may sleep no more.

May God wipe away tears from the eyes of their families and friends and loved ones, Amen.

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