On the morning of 4 June, a group of terrorists attacked the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, brutally killing an estimated 50 people and leaving several injured.
The Catholic church is in Owa-Luwa street, which is the headquarters of the Owo Local Government area.
We have seen similar gruesome and senseless attacks in Nigeria. Two months ago, at least eight people were killed on a train from Abuja to Kaduna. About a year ago, a gang of killers invaded Igangan, Ibarapa North local government of Oyo State and killed at least over 20 people and set the palace of the Asigangan and a petrol station on fire. This wanton violence is never acceptable especially in a democratic state.
According to Vanguard, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the attack as an unspeakable evil.
The Vice President in a statement said, “The President has already ordered a full-scale investigation of this crime. Without any doubt, those who perpetrated this will be fished out and they will pay for the consequences of this crime.”
MenEngage Africa (MEA) condemns the reckless brutal killings of innocent people and sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The Chairperson of MenEngage Africa decried this brutal act and stated, “We stand in solidarity with the peace-loving people of Nigeria. We send our heartfelt condolences to all the families that lost loved ones and wish those injured in this episode a speedy recovery. We stand side by side with our partners MenEngage Nigeria who are distraught from this heinous crime.”
MEA urges the government to investigate the gruesome attack and stand by its people upholding its human rights law of the duty to protect the rights of all its people. The Nigerian government needs to act fast to ensure that the preparators face justice.
The Amnesty International Report 2020/21, documenting human rights situation in 149 countries, states that unlawful attacks is one of the human right violations Nigeria faces. The government needs to prioritise the safety of its citizens and they have the responsibility to protect the nation.
““As MenEngage Nigeria, we commiserate with the people of Owo, enough is enough!” said Dr. Chiemezie Atama, Chair of MenEngage Nigeria. “We call on all leaders in Nigeria to rally together in seeking long lasting solutions that will ensure that such brutal acts of violence are a thing of the past”. This time requires level headed leaders that will harness the spirit of cohesion in the country to ensure that all peace loving Nigerians contribute to the creation of the culture of harmony and coexistence.
MenEngage is a global alliance of organisations who engage men and boys to achieve gender equality, promote health, reduce violence and to question and address the structural barriers to achieving gender equality.
The global alliance consists of six (6) regions co-ordinated by a regional Secretariat and governed by a regional steering committee, which elects one representative per region to the global board. Sonke is the Secretariat of MenEngage Africa (MEA), which consists of 22 country networks spread across East, West, Central and Southern Africa, which form the AGM – the highest decision making body of MEA consisting of over 350 non-governmental organisations at grass-root, national and regional levels.
Bafana Khumalo- MenEngage Global Co-Chair
Sariaka Nantenaina- MenEngage Africa Chair
Chiemezie Atama – MenEngage Nigeria Chair