On Sunday, 5th June 2022, Catholic Christain worshippers who gathered at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church to commemorate Pentecost Sunday were interrupted as gunmen opened fire on the congregation. A Christain celebration marking the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus turned to a gory scene filled with tears, shouts of pain and death as unidentified gunmen brutally attacked the worshipers, killing over 50 people.
Driving the news
The attack which occurred in the hometown of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, was a scene littered with the dead bodies of both old and young; men, women and children.
What we know
- The unidentified gunmen invaded the church just as the Priest, Rev. Fr. Andrew Abayomi declared an end to the Sunday service with guns and dynamite. The dynamite caused an explosion in parts of the church’s building as the gunmen suspected to be Fulanis broke the barricade the church members had used to lock themselves in the church after hearing gunshots outside the building.
- This horrific event lasted for about 20 minutes after which the gunmen made with hijacked cars.
- An eye witness report says the first victim of the invaders was an ice cream seller outside the church premises.
- Another eyewitness account said the gunmen entered the church building from different sides of the church compound just as the Priest brought the service to an end.
The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was in Abuja for the All-Progressive Congress (APC) presidential primaries cut his trip short due to the attack on his state. In his speech, the Governor vowed to hunt down the perpetrators of this evil.
What they are saying
- President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killings, calling it a dastardly act. He said, “No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome the light. Nigeria will eventually win.”
- The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in a statement “pledged to work with Mr. President, all citizens and residents of our dear country to assure you of a fully secure environment.”
- Other high-profile politicians and groups have also sympathized with the people of Ondo State.