Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and one of the prominent presidential aspirants on Monday visited survivors of Owo massacre at the Emergency Unit of Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who visited the church and the palace of Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye said: “One is almost completely speechless because, looking at the extent of tragedy that took place here on Sunday, the evil is almost unspeakable.
“It is a horrible thing indeed. That people will gather on a Sunday morning for worship bad then be confronted by this sort of heinous and barbaric murder. I think it is just terrible.
“I’m here on behalf of the President as well as the government to express our sincere condolence first to the church and then to the people of Owo and to the people of Ondo State.
“This is a horrible tragedy. I do not think that anyone will wish even their worst adversaries. It is also a time to reflect deeply on the questions of our relationship to each other, I think that is one of the things that has happened here. Everybody has condemned it.
“It is a sore in the heart of every Nigerian. Those who perpetrated this do not represent us in any way. These are animals who have behaved in a manner that should ordinarily shock even the most depraved of human beings.
“All of us who are here are being encouraged by the courage of the priesthood here and the members of the congregation have shown as well as this community.
“They are the ones who define us, there attitude of peace and calm and approaching this with fortitude and calmness.
“I truly think that they are the ones who represent who we are as Nigerians. As you know the President has already ordered a full investigation of this crime. I assure that those who perpetrated this will be fished out, tried and will pay.”
Tinubu, who was accompanied by Yakubu Dohara, former Speaker of House of Representatives, Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), among others, also visited the children’s Ward where children who survived the gunshots by the whiskers were receiving treatment.
One of the children, an orphan, was hit in the head by bullets.
His head was wrapped with bandage on the hospital bed at FMC. He’s said to be responding to treatment.
Addressing newsmen after the ward round, Tinubu said he could not overlook the incident and stay back in Abuja because of his political ambition and promised to compensate and rehabilitate the survivors as well as contributing to the renovation of the church.
He declared: “Seeing this, is dastardly enough. There is no human being that will not be touched deeply.
“For me, I’m about contesting election, I’m in the heart of it. In fact, today is a very important activity. But it is very hard to hear this type of devilish act and impact on the people and not come to sit, evaluate it and see what we can do in future.
“This is bad enough. Innocent children are rendered orphan and elderly innocent people became victims of sudden attack and sudden death.
“We have to be rigorous in our investigation, we have to check thoroughly. We have to ensure that rehabilitation and compensation of those who are victims as well as rehabilitation and repair of part of the church.
“And the reward for information that can lead to the arrest and apprehension of anybody involve, so that there will be a big lesson learnt from this, encouraged the police to do a lot of search and investigation.
“This one must not let go easily so that those who participated or masterminded the situation will never live to those this type of thing again. It is very sad.”
At the Hospital…
The Chief Medical Director of FMC, Dr. Ahmed Adeagbo, while addressing newsmen on Monday said: “People were in the church on Sunday and some gunmen came in and started shooting them. We even learned that they used explosives on the worshippers.
The victims were brought here, adults and children. We mobilised our staff and we worked very hard to make sure that we didn’t lose any of the people that they brought in alive. Those that required surgery were operated upon and they are doing well.
“The directive from the Federal Ministry of Health is that we should not collect money from the victims. We also have collaboration with the state government. They were able to mobilise 20 units of blood and they still promise to do more. They were able to bring some consumables and they also promised to give more.
“NEMA was also here this morning and we have given them what we need, but we are still expecting them. People have also been donating voluntarily. Many of the victims require blood.
“People are donating blood and those that require transfusion were transfused and I’m sure we will still have some in our blood bank now. Even UNIMED contacted us in order to give us blood.
“The governor was here yesterday as well as the Commissioner for Health and he is still around. So, we are working with the state government to ensure that we treat all of them. We have not referred any of them, we are managing them. None of them were transferred to Intensive Care Unit.
“With the situation of things in the country, it is not easy to sustain the running of the facility. To provide electricity alone for 24 hours is a lot and it it a social service.
“Even before this happened, many people could not even afford their treatment and Federal Government said people should not die because we cannot afford, so what do we do? There is a lot of problems along that line because we are owing the suppliers and we must pay them.”
An eyewitness account revealed that the terrorists were dressed in Man’O’ War green khaki while they drove off in a VW Golf car.
The eyewitness said his sister and her husband were in the church when he saw smoke oozing out from the church.
He, therefore, raced to the church refusing all entreaties not to go there because of the shootings.
While running towards the church, hebsaw the perpetrators in a VW Golf zooming off the scene.
And Survivours Give Account Oof Account…
Some of the survivors of the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo by terrorists on Sunday, who are receiving treatment in at Federal Medical Centre(FMC), Owo, told our correspondent on the hospital beds their experiences and how they escaped from the scene.
Benjamin, 49, a timber merchant, who was in the church with his mother, wife and children, explained that the mass was about coming to end when they started hearing gunshots outside the church.
His mother was shot dead by the terrorists in the church.
According to him,”When we were about to close, we just heard sound of gun within the compound of the church. Before we knew it, they started shooting everybody and they threw dynamite into the church.
“It was when the shooting was going on that I was shot in the leg. I lost my mother in the attack, but the rest of my family are safe. My mother is over 70 years.
“With blood already gushing out of my leg, I immediately summoned strength within me to move to the back of the catechist when there was explosion. On getting to the backyard, I saw a ladder and I escaped through the ladder.
“When I was trying to escape I saw many bodies on ground. The bodies were just too many.
“I went to the church with my wife, children and my mother. But nothing happened to my wife and children.
Giving details of her experience during the milieu, Mrs. Gloria John, 28, who was hit in the left leg by the bullet, said: “After the priest had given us the final blessings, we heard gunshots outside. The gunmen started shooting at us from outside. We started shouting and cried. We also began to call on God to save us. Over 100 people died including children. Even husband and wife died on the same spot
“I went to the church alone. My husband did not follow me. I was shot on the leg. It was when they left that my husband rushed inside the church and brought me outside. I and other victims were rushed to FMC.”
A senior nurse at the General Hospital, Owo,, Mrs. Adisa Margaret lost her two legs from the knee level to the blast.
She was wrangling in pains on the hospital bed, saying she could breath very well.
The 43-year-old senior nurse was in the church when the terrorists launched dynamite into the church. She lost her limbs to the blast.
Another victim, Alex Michael said…
“In the church after the last prayer, we heard gunshots outside the church and before we know it they have started shooting people and everybody inside the churxh and many people died.
“I was with my kids and I tried to defend them and we have to move under the pew when the shooting was going on but the place could not contain us and my legs are outside and they shot my legs but thank God nothing happened to my kids.
“What happened is that we are in the church after the last blessing and prayer by the Father. We just heard gunshot at the entrance of the church and before we know it, they have started shooting and killing people.
“Before we could know what is going on, we have been surrounded and we had to hide at the back of the altar
“We heard a loud explosion and the ceiling fell on us. Even at that, they were still shooting at us and at the door of the place we were hiding. I saw one of our choir masters, he was hit by the bullet on his leg and was too tired. I can’t even say anything about his condition because he was so weak when we left the church.
“Where I was hiding, I was able to see one of the attackers, he was putting on Khaki that look like that of Man o’ War. He burnt the altar. In the attacks, we lost husband, wives and children; God was the one who kept us alive.”
CAN Protest Attack On Church In Owo…
Members of Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) stormed the palace of Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye, protesting the killing of worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church in the town.
They took their protest to the Palace of Olowo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye to commiserate with him.
Leading the protesters, the state Chairman of CAN, Anslem Ologunowa, described the attack as barbaric.
He appealed to all security agencies in the state to beef up security in the state.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.