“Why has our country become so insecure while we have a government charged with the responsibility of defending the lives and property of one and all?” the Catholic Church leader posed, and continued, “Why has life become so cheap and short in Nigeria? Why must people who slaughter unarmed and law-abiding citizens in our communities be allowed to go scot-free?”
He added in reference to those behind the Pentecost Sunday attack, “The killing of innocent worshippers is outrageous, sacrilegious, condemnable and totally unacceptable.”
“It has become obvious that our country is under siege by Fulani militia, masquerading as herdsmen,” Archbishop-elect Ugorji was quoted as saying in the report.
He went on to highlight other cases of violence orchestrated by the Fulani militia saying, “A few weeks ago, it was the heartless killing of Deborah and the callous attack of churches in Sokoto.”
“Recently, it was the kidnapping of the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, who later disclosed that he and his two co-travelers were abducted by armed Fulani, with the active connivance of the military. And last Sunday, the story was the bloody attack on the Church in Owo,” he recounted.
“As we celebrate here, my heart returns to the bloody scene at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, where many unarmed worshippers, including couples, women, little children and infants, were gruesomely murdered and many others brutally wounded on Pentecost Sunday,” Archbishop-elect Ugorji said.
The Nigerian Archbishop-elect added, “We continue to pray for the happy repose of the dead, the speedy recovery of the injured and the consolation of the bereaved.”
Reflecting on the general elections scheduled for 2023, the Archbishop-elect said, “We have watched with dismay, the recent cash-and-carry primaries in different political parties, primaries characterized by greed, graft, manipulation and exclusion.”
“To say the least, what took place in some of those primaries were disheartening and disgraceful. Given that genuine leadership is selfless service, involving enormous sacrifice, people who try to bribe their way to power must have ulterior and questionable motives,” he said.
The Archbishop-elect urged Nigerians to “stand together to say no to money politics, terrorism, kidnapping and corruption in our country.”