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Tears flow in Ebonyi as community buries couple killed in Owo attack

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Rights group seeks Ebonyi Govt’s support for families

By Our Reporter

For residents of Ukawu, a sleepy community in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Saturday June 18 was their saddest in history as overflowing tears from loved ones could not bring back a husband and his wife, Mr and Mrs Chukwudi Onuoha and Deborah Onuoha both victims of the dastardly attack on a Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State.

The couple who sat beside each other during penultimate Sunday, June 5, 2022 attack at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Owaluwa Street Owo, Ondo State by suspected Fulani terrorists were buried at Anyaraigwe, Ukawu in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Recall that an Episcopal Requiem Mass had been held in honour of the scores of victims killed during the massacre on Friday, June 17 at Midas Event Centre, Owo, Ondo State with church members, top government functionaries, families, friends and relatives in attendance.

The Parish priest, Rev. Fr. Vincent Anadi and the Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Dr. Jude Arogundade, in their sermons had prayed for the peaceful repose of the souls of the deceased victims before some of their relatives departed the State to bury their loved ones in their country homes including, the Onuohas.

Others were however given a mass burial at Imole Ile Road, Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The Onuohas corpses arrived Ebonyi at about 2:00a.m on Saturday morning and were buried at noon the same day amidst flooded tears.

Speaking on the demise of the deceased, a terribly distraught relative, Mr. Osmond Igwe wailed that , “The cause of their death (the couple) was that they were Nigerians and the country has an irresponsible government.

If you hear of any killing by terrrists in any part of Nigeria, sympathize with the victims. You may never can tell if any of them is your blood relative. Little did I know that the killing in far away Ondo State will affect my family”, he furiously alleged.

Igwe also lamented in bewilderment, “What baffles me is that upon all the series of killings of innocent people in this country, the powers that be has never deemed it necessary to change the security architectures”, he lamented, accusing the Fulanis at the helm of affairs of shielding the perpetrators”, he alleged.

Igwe further fumed, “My greatest worry is that these monsters will continue in power because they have enough money to buy the electorates.”

Cross section of mourners

Meanwhile, a Rights group, Human Rights Defenders, HURIDE has called on the Ebonyi State government to provide succours to the families of the deceased victims of Owo attack who hail from the State.

In a statement signed by it’s Chairman in Ebonyi, Samson Oko Nweke and made available to journalists in Abakaliki over the weekend, the group said, “Following the recent bloody Fulani attack on Owo Catholic church, Ondo state which saw the gruesome murder of over 50 parishioners, there has been disturbing reports before the Ebonyi State office of the Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE) about victims of the attack who hail from our dear State.”

According to the statement, “The reports reveal that 21 of the victims were sons and daughters of Ebonyi State, dominantly from Amofia Ukawu in Onicha Local Government Area.

These Ebonyians in search of greener pastures in Ondo state were caught by the bullets of the terrorists who struck in the early hours of that fateful day.”

It said, “Consequently, after days of digging deep through inquiries, HURIDE has been able to get the names and images of some of the victims; Late Mrs. CORDELIA OKEFI- a petty trader and farmer who was married to Mr. Michael Okefi with seven children, Mr. Chukwudi Eze- a cosmetics hawker in Elegbeka and Omelenge village of Owo LGA. His son also died during the attack while he sustained serious gunshot injuries.”

Others, according to the statement include; Late Mr. Chukwudi Orinya- a farmer, married with four children who was shot in the head and he died on the spot. He also lost his wife in the attack, Late Mrs. Helen Orinya, a mother of four kids who also died during the attack alongside her husband and Mr. Ifeanyi Nweke Daniel- a road side business man, married with 3 children. He was shot in the chest and in the hand but currently receiving medical attention in FMC, Owo.”

Another deceased victim, Chukwuemeka Nweke- a petty trader and his elder brother both lost their lives in the attack”, the statement read.

The group said, “Worrisomely enough, these victims has all been abandoned both those in the hospitals and those lying dead in the mortuary.

“We are therefore using this medium to draw the attention of Ebonyi State government to this ugly development. The government should please show compassion and reach out to the affected families. The governor should send an official delegation to the FMC Owo to visit those receiving treatment and also visit families of those who lost their loved ones and provide assistance to the loved ones they left behind because they are also Ebonyians and the primary responsibility of government remains the protection of lives and property and also to provide succour to the citizens where necessary”, the statement concluded.

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