Editorial

The Sunday massacre in Owo: matters arising

Last week Sunday, the nation was shaken to its foundations by news of a brutal massacre of worshippers in St. Francis Catholic Church Owo in Ondo State by some masked gunmen.

There have been conflicting reports about the actual number of casualties. Scores of persons lost their lives in that brutal encounter put between 22 and 40. The federal government through the Interior Affairs Minister Rauf Aregbesola has blamed ISWAP for the attack.

This is not enough. The criminals must be apprehended and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent. The Owo massacre is one massacre too many with the usual harvest of sympathies! In this senseless and heinous massacre, according to a government statement, apart from the dead, some fifty worshippers were injured! The entire nation was traumatised again, leaving families to mourn their dead in sorrow and pain.

Once again, the government failed the people in its Constitutional obligation to protect lives and properties. The first matter arising therefore is the failure of intelligence. Where were our secret service officers and personnel before, during and after the attack? Where were our Police, Army, Navy, and Airforce officers? The other matter arising from this ugly incident is that why did the government ask Nigerians to surrender their licensed arms earlier?

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Was it to grant these marauding killers an easy passage for these criminal acts? Why were indigenous communities disarmed by government? Why are aliens masquerading as herdsmen allowed to carry arms around to intimidate the citizens? It is on record that many churches and mosques have been visited by one massacre or the other from North to South. Why are there no consequences for such actions? Why have these massacres held President Buhari’s regime comatose?

The Owo massacre does not state well for the continuous unity and future of our dear nation. Nigeria is in an unusual war situation with many questions on the lips of citizens. Massacres in Nigeria have always been followed by condemnations without attendant actions or sanctions.

As in Deborah’s case many including the President and Vice President among others were loud in condemnations. But when are we going to see the strong political will that will make all arms of our security agencies go after these satanic sadistic killers of the innocent?

When will Nigeria end our hypocritical romance with religions and no God or love in our lives? When will we see the end of these cyclic beastly acts in our dear country? We must use this opportunity to tell the government that it has failed on security.

The basic expectations on security of our people have been serially and severally dashed. When will our government rise to the occasion with severe punitive actions that will act as deterrence to the criminal gangs behind criminality in our land? When will our government respond to the security reports that there are kidnappers, killer herdsmen and women, including children and Boko Haram cells in most bushes in Nigeria?

When will our government do something concrete to alleviate the pains and agonies of Nigerians and the victims of several massacres in our land?

Nigerians must rise to the clarion call of the moment. Crying over spilled milk is no longer enough. Weeping and lamentations cannot save us. We must now be eternally vigilant as vigilance is the price we pay for liberty. A school of thought which pushes the view that since our security has gone fragile, Nigerians must be allowed to buy and carry guns for self-protection has emerged.

Such persons argue that carrying weapons must be with a caveat – that there must be strong regulatory backup on utilization. Since government cannot protect us, we must learn to protect ourselves! This position has its merits and demerits. The time is now for community and regional initiative for security protection to be in place.

Our compromised national and State Houses of Assembly should as a matter of urgency table bills for state Police or state security initiatives. Our churches, mosques, schools, and malls must quickly install CCTV cameras for us to see the faces of the people behind such massacres. We commiserate with the bereaved families and pray God to console them.

The huge sums of money donated to the victims should be deployed to resettling families that were hit by the attack. We call on government to ensure that the perpetrators of the Owo massacre are brought to book. Finally, we at The Trumpet believe that the time to improve our security architecture is now!

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