*As Obiano assures on security of lives, property
*Ohaneze Ndigbo in Ondo faults FG’s reaction
The survivors of the massacre at the St. Philip Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra state have narrated their ordeal, saying that it came on them by surprise.
This is even as Governor Willie Obiano has assured the people of Anambra state of their security, saying that the state will be hot for criminals to operate henceforth.
Meanwhile, the Ohaneze Ndigbo in Ondo state has accused the federal government of double standard over the mass killings of innocent souls at St. Philips Catholic Church.
One of the survivors who spoke to newsmen on Monday at Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi (NAUTH) intensive care unit, Mr. Samuel Nduchie, said they were about to say the prayer of the faithful when the gunman entered the church, after they had put off the generating set.
As they stood up in response to Rev. Father Jude Onwua’s directive, the gunman started spraying bullets on the members of the church.
Nduchie said out of instinct, he went straight to the floor under the pew, but after some time, the gunman stopped momentarily, hence resulting in the people scampering for their lives.
But the gunman, said the survivor, started shooting indiscriminately again and it was this time he shot at his leg and he passed out, not knowing what happened later.
A 14-year-year-old girl, who identified herself as Chidinma, said she does not understand what happened.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of NAUTH, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe, said that out of 21 in the hospital, eight are still critically ill, ading that they are making efforts to save their lives.
One person was said to have died out of the victims, although the CMD did not confirm it.
In the same vein, chairman, Ekwusigo local government area, Mr. Ikenna Offodeme, said 12 persons died in the massacre, while 27 were injured, mainly women who were rushing out as the gunman was spraying the bullets, saying most people who were inside did not receive much injury.
Meanwhile, Governor Willie Obiano in special broadcast on Monday to the people of Anambra state assured them of their security, saying that the state will be hot for criminals to operate in henceforth.
He said: “Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra state is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case.
It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!”
Continuing Obiano assure that in all the 25-year history of the state, never had a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives, and strongly condemned the wanton killing of citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God.
“I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity,” he said.
He promised that all the shadowy characters behind the crime shall account for it, stressing that this is the first and the last of this appalling crime.
“Fellow citizens, I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State,” Obiano.
He assured friends and partners of the state, saying that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state and the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened his commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state.
“We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals”, he said.
However, the Ohaneze Ndigbo in Ondo state has accused the federal government of double standard over the mass killings of innocent souls at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra state on Sunday.
Uche Erondu, Secretary General of the group, who spoke on Monday, accused the presidency of indifference to the plights of the citizens.
Erondu spoke to journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital, while expressing complete sadness over the incident which took place inside the church on Sunday.
He described the massacre of the innocent people which occurred at Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State as dastardly, inhumane and a crime likened to an act of terrorism.
“We are calling on the Presidency, the Inspector-General of Police and Anambra State governor to apprehend, investigate and prosecute the perpetrators and everyone found involved in order to avert uninformed reprisal attacks.”
He said the Ohaneze Ndigbo was fully disappointment at the “rather late condemnation that came from the Presidency,” adding that the government should ensure more security to guide against reprisal attacks.
According to him, the late reaction of the presidency showed the high level of irresponsibility of the government for ordinary citizens.
“We are not sure of the authenticity of the statement that eventually came, since it is common knowledge that our President is on medical leave, which leaves the buck on the table of the Acting President.
“This position is further confirmed by the comment made by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on a Channel’s Television programme last night that a statement is on the way from the office of the Acting President.
“How come the statement that was released hours later came from the President himself? Based on the foregoing, we demand to know what happened to the statement from the Acting President.”
The Secretary General, who hit hard at the alleged double standards at the Presidency, alluded to same question by the past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal “Who is the Presidency?”
Erondu later lamented that “the only Presidency that should exist as of today is that which is headed by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and his aides, pending when the substantive President Buhari resumes office.”