Reactions have trailed the recent catastrophe that struck the people of Ondo earlier today involving the mass killing of many in a St Francis Catholic church in Owo town, Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
While the exact number of death is yet unknown, reports say that no less than 40 people have lost their lives and many still battling to survive in the hospital. Viral videos seen on social media show victims lying in a pool of blood, excluding those that are currently receiving treatment in hospitals.
The incident has sparked reactions from politicians and from Nigerians who lament that the killings which are becoming rampant have to stop.
What they are saying
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killing in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
He said, “No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light. Nigeria will eventually win.”
The president also mourned the dead, condoled with their families, the Catholic Church, and the Government of Ondo State, charging emergency agencies to swing into action, and bring succour to the wounded adding that eternal sorrow awaits the evil doer both on earth here, and ultimately in the hereafter.
Former Anambra State Gover, Peter Obi via his tweet wrote, “We really should not sit back and look. We shouldn’t allow a senseless few/bunch set this country ablaze. There is no other place we can call home. This is my home! My land! A place I have been for more than two decades of my existence. If it requires we all enter this Forest, if I have an escape route, maybe chickening out will have been perfect. But then I ask myself, for how long will I chicken out.
“The governor of Ondo as well as other governor shouldn’t sleep today, neither should they tomorrow. The doom day is here. It is either we fight or doe trying. I am tired. Killings has just become a norm. I broke down watching the Ondo church attack. All my mind whispers is; it could have been me. Imagine, we must rise above the din. Enough is enough! I really can’t help this.”
Calling upon activists, he demanded a national protest be staged. He said, “Can there be a national protest tomorrow against these senseless killings in the country? Everybody should match out to the government house and demand the people we elected to act fast. The way forward shouldn’t just be tweets and Twitter trends alone. The battle is here already and the moment we realise the better.”
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State assured residents of the state that the government would hunt down assailants that attacked and killed worshippers
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Richard Olatunde, on Sunday in Akure, Akeredolu said, “We are deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, worshipping at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, on Sunday.
“The vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom, who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.
“Nevertheless, We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay.
“We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals.”
Lagos State Gover, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, described the attack as callous, inhuman and despicable.
According to him, it is crime against humanity to open fire on worshippers on Sunday morning, killing scores of people.
He said, ”Attacking a congregation and shedding innocent blood during a divine service in the temple of God is condemnable as it is a crime against humanity.
”It is barbaric, callous and despicable crime for any man to attack and kill worshippers or any fellow man in a manner the yet-to-be-identified gunmen carried out the heinous crime in the Catholic Church this morning.”
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State also condemned the bloody attack. In a statement signed by Mr. Francis Nwaze (FIPMD), the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Umahi described the incident as sacrilegious.
According to the statement; “The Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi has condemned the bandit attack on the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State which claimed many lives on Sunday.
“Governor Umahi who described the incident as “sacrilegious, wondered why people take delight in unnecessary blood letting.
“He expressed condolence to the affected families, the Catholic Community, and the Government of Ondo State for the “unfortunate loss of lives”.
Professor Banji Akintoye, Leader of the Ilana Omo Oodua Worldwide, IOOW, described the deadly attack as a declaration of war against the Yoruba people.
He said: “We have stated it very expressly that the Yoruba people need to negotiate their exit from Nigeria as a matter of urgency but our Partisan Political Actors in Yoruba Land never took us serious. We warned them that there’s fire on the mountain but we were mocked because of their personal aggrandizement.
“Today, we have all been encircled, most especially, in Lagos. For Herdsmen to have the effontery of bombarding a Church in Yoruba Land to kill about 85 people shows that we are now in a realistic danger.”