Barely a few days after the gruesome murder of Christian worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State on Sunday June 5, 2022 by yet to be identified gunmen, a letter has reportedly been written threatening more attacks on churches in the country.
Commissioner of Police in charge of Zamfara State Police Command, Elkana Ayuba while addressing the press recently disclosed that such a letter was delivered to his Command by unknown persons which he opened and read before calling the attention of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with a view to pre-empting any further attack on churches.
According to the police boss, he has also directed Divisional Police Officers in the state to ensure constant patrol of all churches and mosques during service period as he had directed churches not to be closing late. He has equally enjoined all worshippers to be more vigilant as no one knows who the gunmen are.
As instructive as the Commissioner of Police words may seem, the swift attack on the Owo Christian worshippers by the gunmen and their easy escape like other previous incidents elsewhere sadly confirmed the level of failure of the country’s leadership in living up to expectation as far as issues of security are concerned.
That armed men could infiltrate a place of worship located in a public space with some animalistic boldness and dastardly attack innocent worshippers after which they walked away unapprehend, leaving trails of blood even on worshippers Bibles was enough to confirm to our leaders that what the kidnappers of the Methodist Prelate a few days ago told him was true.
A week before the Owo bloodbath, Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu-Uche along with two other clergy men were kidnapped at Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State during which a ransom of N100million was collected. According to the Prelate, the kidnappers had disclosed to their abductees that they were Fulani men who though were not happy with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, yet were bent on ensuring that the Fulanis take over every part of Nigeria. The kidnappers had reportedly added that the N100million ransom collected would be used to purchase more weapons to arm their brothers from Zamfara who would join in taking over the Southern part of the country.
One could assume that it was a sheer coincidence that the attack on Christian worshippers at Owo occurred just few days after the disclosure by the Prelate. Much as the assumption may not have had any bearing with the Owo incident, it logically follows the line of the old African saying that “the death of a child in the morning could easily be linked to the nocturnal activities of witches in the night before.”
Explaining this, we are tempted to believe that the declaration made by the kidnappers to the Prelate and his associates and the attack on Owo Church have some correlation.
Before now, the Fulani jihadists had attacked many churches and other Christian worship centres leaving trails of blood with many dead particularly in the Middle Belt area and other Christian dominated areas in the Northern part of Nigeria.
It is obvious that such attacks on Christian worship centres are deliberately carried out by the gunmen to reduce the influence of the Christian community in Nigeria and pave way for full Islamization of the country which is the Fulani agenda.
As the incidence of attack on Churches by the so called gunmen are gradually increasing by the day, we need to remind President Buhari that history will not forgive his administration for being in power at the time ethnic and religious bigotry took over Nigeria.
The ineffectual approach in nipping in the bud attempts by the Fulani herdsmen who audaciously go about with AK-47 rifles in a country where it is unlawful to bear arms by non-state security forces sadly leaves room for suspicion that government or its agents are remotely or directly connected to the regime of attacks on the Christians.
The only way to prove Government’s innocence is for it to rise up and put a halt to such brazen display of beastiality by the faceless gunmen. Nigerians cannot afford to continue living in the luxury of ‘see nothing say nothing’ when hundreds of our fellow citizens are butchered regularly by the mindless gunmen.
We need to sound a note of warning that no religious or ethnic group in Nigeria has monopoly of violence. This aptly means that if killing of Christians in their churches or ethnic groups continue unabated, the Christian Community may resort to retaliatory activities that may worsen the already bad situation.
Therefore, we urge the Federal Government to use the instrumentality of its security forces to get to the root of the attack in Owo Church and other similar incidents as quickly as possible.