Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Tears flowed freely, on Monday, on faces of people at the St. Philp’s Catholic Church Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, as the Ozubulu community and the entire Catholic church of the area, remembered the massacre of people in the church.
The sad incident occurred on August 6, 2017.
The church auditorium and canopies placed outside were filled to the brim as a Mass was held to commemorate the first anniversary of the mass murder.
Thirteen persons were killed, including the father of church benefactor, Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonwu, who was said to be the target of the attack and 30 other were injured when some unknown gunmen invaded the Church during early Sunday morning service.
The ugly incident raised serious dust and tension in entire Anambra State as there were rumours of threats of more attacks in the community leading to the police and state government beefing up security in the community to ensure that the threats were not carried out.
The Police also made some arrests and, at the moment, four suspects are undergoing prosecution over the incident in the High Court of Anambra State.
Delivering his homily, the Parish Priest, who was officiating a Mass on the day of the incident, Rev. Dr. Jude Onwuaso, recounted the ugly experience of that day, but ended by saying that God had shown the people of the community love since the incident took place.
While noting that people of the community had been in mourning mood since then, the cleric warned against reoccurrence of the incident, stressing that as human beings, people should love one another.
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Father Onwuaso, while recounting what happened on the day said, “We recited ‘I believe in One God’, which the congregation chorused ‘Amen’.
“As soon as I began the introduction prayer of the faithful, some huge sounds like volcanic eruption echoed and filled the church. There was total silence and confusion.
“At first I thought it was a dream. But it was real and there were sporadic shootings spreading to the church. It was the satanic agent and enemy of Christ that entered the church for the purpose of killing innocent children of God.
“In the end, people were wailing from every corner of the church and the community as the church was covered with the pool of blood.”
The Priest expressed gratitude to the parishioners, police and voluntary bodies that came to the aid of the wounded as they were conveyed to the hospital, while the dead were evacuated to the mortuary just as he thanked the church, government and society at large for sympathising with them.
While condoling the families who lost their loved ones and the injured, the clergy urged them to bear the loss with fortitude, saying “I am deeply touched by God’s care and love this one year, as he has shown them love through the diocese and beyond the shores of Nigeria.”
The remembrance service attracted some Nollywood actors like Chief Pete Edochie, Chinyere Wilfred, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Rita Edochie among others.
Among others at the service were the benefactor of the church , Chief Ikegwuonwu and a top politician in the state, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu.