By STELLA UKWUOMA
The St. Philips Catholic Church, Umezekwe, Ofufe Amawa, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo LGA, Anambra State Sunday carnage has continued to elicit reactions from Nigerians and groups alike; this time from the Civil Liberties Organisation, South East Zone.
The group, which condemned the grotesque act, took a swipe at the Anambra State Police Command, the state government, traditional institution as well as the church for various degrees of laxity, which according to them resulted to the avoidable loss of lives.
The CLO, South East Zone therefore called upon the Inspector General of Police to take over investigation, arrest and punishment of offenders and prayed for the repose of lost souls.
In a press statement on Tuesday titled: “Ozubulu Massacre: Time to reorder our value systems” co-signed by Comrades Aloysius Attah and Pedro Azuogu Esq, Zonal Chairman and Zonal Treasurer respectively, the group bemoaned the erosion of morals from Nigeria.
Here is what the statement says in part: “The killings is a manifestation of how low our society has sunk in imbibing the ethics of right and wrong, quest for materialism, revenge and forgiveness, upholding the right values and glorifying ill-gotten wealth.
“From available pieces of information so far, (High Chief) Aloysius Ikegwuonu, a.k.a Bishop who is at the centre of the whole storm has been in the public scene for some years now, yet nobody cared to question his source of wealth.
“He has been the toast of musicians; highlife, gospel and secular. The Church hierarchy cutting across several denominations starting from the Bishops to the clergy have been falling head over heels “in love” with him because of his deep pocket and acclaimed philanthropy.
“Last year, 1st May 2016 to precise, he dedicated St. Aloysius Church of Divine Mercy, Eziora Ozubulu to mark his 35th birthday”.
Lamenting that the rich ethics and values associated with the Igbos have been sacrificed on the altar of riches, the CLO called on traditional rulers to rise up to their customary duties and responsibilities.
“The traditional institutions are not left out in the bastardisation of the societal value system in Igbo land. What was the criteria used in selecting and conferring the status of a “High Chief” on Ikegwuonu and also rewarding him with several titles like “Akuchinyere Nwata 1”, “Uzochukwu Kwalu 1?“, the statement questioned.
Calling on the Church to be more interested in the spiritual as well as moral well-being of his adherents rather than allow members’ wealth status determine how to relate with them, the statement has this to say.
“It is time to evaluate how to ask and also receive donations in the church. If God could reject King David’s offer to build him a temple, church leaders should also be bold to reject any offer from anybody with question mark”.
Commending Governor Willy Obiano for aptly visiting the scene of the incident to commiserate with the community, the CLO in its statement urged him to go beyond commiserating towards complete rehabilitation.
“The onus is on the governor to ensure complete post rehabilitation of the affected families and individuals, get to the root of the perceived drug gang war which has spiraled into families and communities outside Anambra and ensure that justice and peace prevails among individuals, families and communities”.
Blaming the bloodbath on Anambra State Police Command’s ineptitude in detecting unscrupulous elements in spite of the many check-points in the state; the group asked that the investigation be taken from them.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police to not only take over the investigation of this matter but use a special squad who will work with INTERPOL to ensure that those connected to the killings whether residing here in Nigeria and elsewhere abroad are arrested, prosecuted and justice served. Security agencies should also stop the present siege on the people of Ozubulu.
“Finally, let justice prevail at all times so that the blood of the innocent shed will never be in vain” the statement concluded.