Drug gang violence claims innocent lives
2017-08-15 -

“Sacrilege and insane!” That was how one man, in a recent WhatsApp message to Metro Éireann, described the massacre of parishioners in a Nigerian Catholic church on Sunday 6 August.


Thirteen people died with 22 more wounded, some seriously, in the attack at St Philip’s in Ozubulu, in the southeastern state of Anambra. 


It’s alleged that the violence was prompted by a failed drug deal between two South Africa-based kingpins from the town, authorities said. Three people have since been arrested in connection with the ghastly crime.


Shortly after the attack, Anambra police commissioner Garba Umar and governor Willy Obiano urged people not to panic. Dismissing rumours that Boko Haram had attacked the worshippers, they explained that one of the two drug bosses had sent assassins to kill his rival, who was on a visit to Nigeria.


However, when the assassins were unable to find their target, they went to the church were they attacked and killed his father and several innocent people, including a family of three, during the early Sunday morning service. Coincidentally, reports said the church was built and donated to the community by the man who was the target of the assailants.


In a statement stressing the Nigerian government’s determination to get to the root of the problem, acting president Yemi Osinbajo promised to punish those behind the brutal attack.


While we welcome the government’s resolve that security authorities will bring “the perpetrators of these heinous crimes” to justice, we urge the acting president to use this opportunity to go after other drug dealers across the country in communities similarly plagued by violence.


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