AWKA, NIGERIA, 14th Aug 2017. The Police now have in their custody three suspects linked to last Sunday’s massacre at St Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State. The suspects are said to be very wealthy but with no identifiable meansof income. Police spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, who confirmed the arrest however declined to reveal the identities of the suspects. He spoke as the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Dr. Hilary Okeke said the Church has forgiven the brains behind the attack. Okeke, receiving a presidential delegation during a sympathy visit in Nnewi, however said the forgiveness does not in any way preclude government from fishing out the perpetrators and bringing them to book.
Jimoh also said the Police will not dignify any suspect with the term high profile, pointing out that anyone who violates the law of the land is liable to be arrested and charged accordingly.
“The arrested suspects have no identifiable means of income and theycompletely have no explanation as to their means of livelihood,” Jimoh told The Nation in Abuja. No doubt, when people do things relating to the offence of drug-running, they do not have a recognized means of livelihood.“I would not want to say that they are ‘big men’ because anybody can claim to be big but once you commit crime, even if people in the society say you are a big man, it is the duty of the police to hold you and take you beforethe law. The process is not a respecter of anyone’s social standing. They are leading us further in our investigation into the crime. What happened was a vicious and condemnable act in a place of worship. It is criminal and reprehensible to go and attack worshippers and kill people, no matterwhat issue prompted any feud. All the perpetrators of such crimes would definitely be arrested and prosecuted. I want to assure Nigerians that whether they are in Nigeria or any other country, the Nigeria police and Interpol will get them anywhere they are. We will get anybody who had a hand in committing this offence; anyone who participated in any way and anyone who gives custody to the perpetrator or hides him has flouted the law. Such a person would be culpable.“The process of the law would be firmly followed without compromise towards ensuring that we bring the criminals behind the Ozubulu incident to justice.”
And welcoming the Presidential team led by Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige in Nnewi yesterday, Bishop Okeke hailed the federal government for responding promptly to the Ozubulu incident.He said that the federal government had by the gesture, shown that it had the interest of all sections of the country at heart in spite of differences in religion, creed and political affiliations.He said that the incident claimed the lives of 13 people, while 26 others sustained various degrees of injury. The bishop said that the church had set up a trust fund to assist the victims, adding that government was free to add its own contribution.
Ngige, a former governor of the state said that the delegation was in the state to condole with the people and government of Anambra.He said that President Muhammadu Buhari was much concerned about the incident and that the government would bring the perpetrators to book. He pledged that government “will do everything to track the perpetrators,” and pledged its commitment to the safety of Nigerians every where they reside.
Others on the entourage were Health Minister Prof Isaac Adewole; Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State for Education Anthony Anwukah; and Minister of State for Environment Ibrahim Jibrin.The delegation visited St Philips Catholic, the scene of the incident, in Ozubulu.They were scheduled to deliver to Governor Willier Obiano a letter of condolence from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo, in the letter, commiserated with the families and friends of the victims, as well as the Ozubulu community for the loss and prayed forthe speedy recovery of the injured. He condemned in very strong terms the atrocious and dastardly act which he said has brought sorrow to many innocent families.
“Such barbaric act constitutes an affront to our common humanity and it challenges, but will not overwhelm our collective resolve to rid our communities of all forms of violent crimes and criminality.”
Osinbajo said President Buhari’s administration remains committed to deploying all available resources towards ensuring adequate security oflives and property in Anambra State and across the entire country.He also informed that he had instructed law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice without any delay.
Unknown gunmen had on Aug. 6 invaded the church during morning Mass and opened fire on worshippers.
Police Has Arrested Some Catholic Church Massacre Suspects – Gov Obiano
AWKA, NIGERIA, 8th Aug 2017. Anambra state Governor Willie Obiano says police has arrested some of the suspects that perpetrated the heinous crime at St. Philips Catholic Church Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo local government. The governor stated this in a broadcast on the position of his administration on the incident. The state governor also declared today a day of mourning in honor of those who lost their lives in the church massacre and called for a minute silence to be observed at twelve noon while prayers are to be said for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the diaspora.
According to the Governor, the discovery that the shooting was a tragic dimension to a feud existing between two members of the community has erased fears that the incident may have been caused by terrorist organizations or groups of agitators.
Governor Obiano, who maintained that no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law, said the State government has commenced measures to bring all culprits to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra has enjoyed for the past three years.
While condemning the senseless killings and brazen violation of the people’s sacred place of worship by the shooters, Governor Obiano vowed that this will be the first and last time such crime will be perpetrated under his watch as he has vowed to stay awake so that Ndi Anambra can sleep with their two eyes closed.
St. Philips Catholic Church Ozubulu
He said no one can stand in the way of the accelerated development and increased investments which his government has sustained due to the peace and stability the state has enjoyed, assuring that the incident only strengthened his commitment to creating a safer, business-friendly and prosperous Anambra State.
On insinuations on the internet suggesting that he is a friend to one of the key figures in the conflict, Governor Obiano explained that as Governor of the State, he is a friend to all and is under obligation to treat all citizens with respect and fairness until such individuals prove otherwise.