Owo (Ondo State), April 9, 2023
St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo in Ondo State on Sunday reopened for service ten months after the deadly attack on the church by gunmen.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 40 worshippers died in the June 5, 2022, attack by gunmen.
Worshippers who defied fears to attend Easter Sunday service, expressed pleasure for the reopening of the church.
Addressing the congregants, Bishop Jude Arogundade, the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, lamented the growing level of insecurity in the country.
Arogundade appealed to the government to ensure that the attackers were brought to book to serve as deterrent to others.
The bishop prayed for the congregants, especially the injured and those that lost their relatives, promising that the church would not abandon them.
Some worshippers who were unable to control their emotions were seen weeping, while recalling the ugly incident.
Arogundade appreciated the Aids to the Church in Need, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu and other donors for extending their help to the church.
He asked the church members to keep praying for those still suffering and in trauma as a result of the attack, stating that the church would continue to comfort those in pain.
He, however, solicited more assistance from the Federal Government and the well-to-do in the society for the victims and the church.
“We are still waiting for the Federal Government. These are your citizens; let them know they belong to you. I have criticised you enough but if you do well, I will praise you.
“Some who have psychological issues are still many; but we believe that with our support and prayers they will return,” he said.
Speaking on the reopening of the church, Mrs Jumoke Oyekorode, who lost her mother in the attack, said that the vacuum left by her mother was yet to be filled.
Oyekorode added that it was a good thing for her mother to have died in the church, and thanked God for the reopening of the church.
Also, Mrs Margaret Ata, a survivor of the attack said that she was happy to be back in the church, though as an amputee.
Ata, who lost an eye and two legs as a result of injuries sustained in the attack, stated that two of her children were on scholarship.