10 months after a gunman attack, the Owo Catholic Church reopens


St. Francis Catholic Church in Owaluwa, Owo, Ondo State, reopened for worship on Sunday, ten months after a horrific attack by gunmen.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), approximately 40 worshippers were killed in a gunman attack on June 5, 2022.

Worshippers who braved the elements to attend Easter Sunday services expressed joy at the church’s reopening.

In his address to the congregation, Bishop Jude Arogundade, the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, bemoaned the country’s growing insecurity.

Arogundade urged the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice in order to serve as a deterrence to others.

The bishop prayed for the congregation, especially the injured and those who had lost loved ones, and assured them that the church would not desert them.

Several worshippers, unable to control their emotions, were seen sobbing as they recalled the heinous tragedy.

Arogundade thanked Aids to the Church in Need, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu, and other contributors for their assistance to the church.

He requested churchgoers to continue praying for those who are still suffering and traumatized as a result of the attack, and vowed that the church would continue to comfort those in need.

He did, however, request additional aid from the Federal Government and the wealthy in 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.

Ms Jumoke Oyekorode, who lost her mother in the attack, spoke about the reopening of the church, saying that the gap left by her mother has yet to be filled.
Oyekorode went on to say that her mother’s death in the church was a blessing, and she praised God for the church’s reopening.
Mrs Margaret Ata, a survivor of the attack, also stated that she was glad to be back in the church, albeit as an amputee.
Ata, who was injured in the attack and lost an eye and two legs, revealed that two of her children were on scholarship.

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