NIGERIA: Catholic Laity Council Condemns “Pentecost Massacre,” Demands Action from Government Over Empty Rhetoric

By Paschal Norbert     

OWO, JUNE 7, 2022 (CISA) – “The crime committed by those killed were just two; one; they were Christians and secondly because they were in the Church on Sunday worshipping God,” said Sir Henry Yunkwap KSJI, National President of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria in a press statement dated June 6.

The president said he was desolate at the escalation of cases of insecurity in the country and that the June 5, indiscriminate killings of more than 50 parishioners of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, comes barely a month after the lynching of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a second-year Christian college student, killed by a mob of Muslim students in Sokoto, Nigeria.

“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,” he said.

“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. This is uncalled for, this is unacceptable at this time,” Sir Henry Yunkwap confounded.

He called on all and especially leaders to protect the sanctity of life, “To our leaders and to all those who feel they have the monopoly of violence to know that every life is sacred and nobody has the right to take it in whatever way be it under the guise of religion, ethnic or political differences.”

Sir Henry Yunkwap was also appalled by the ineptitude of the government to speedily act on the rising cases of insecurity especially targeted attacks on Catholics and Christians at large warning that failure of the authorities could lead citizens to take matters into their own hands.

“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 tied of words; we want action and the urgent arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of this evil act,” warned Sir Henry.

“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 stressed.

Sir Henry urged that the leaders “‘… must rise against just condemning this act by using the over used words like ‘bringing the perpetrators to book’,” and that “They must see the life of every Nigerian as very important not minding where he or she comes from.”

The President of the Catholic Laity Council in Nigeria said “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.”