By Willie Obiano
A Special Broadcast by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano on the St Phillips Catholic Church Killings at Ozubulu on August 7, 2017.
Good morning fellow citizens
Ndi Anambra ekenem unu
With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu yesterday.
First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu yesterday was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town. I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate here, going forward.
This explanation, I believe, has erased the fears that the incident may have been caused by either some terrorist organizations or some members of some groups of agitators in the country.
Brothers and sisters, what happened in Ozubulu was neither a terror attack as we know it, nor a violent action by some agitators. We are dealing with a dangerous GANG WAR that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch!
Fellow citizens, I want to assure you that we are on top of this situation. We are completely in charge here. The people directly and remotely involved in this crime are known to the law enforcement agencies. But no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law. So, we have taken bold steps to bring them to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra State has enjoyed since the past three years.
Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra state is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case. It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!
Ndi Anambra, in all our 25-year history, never has a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives. I strongly condemn this wanton killing of our fellow citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God. I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity!
All the shadowy characters behind this crime shall account for it. This is the first and the last of this appalling crime!
Fellow citizens, I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State.
To our numerous friends and partners, I want to assure you that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state. Indeed, the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened our commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state. We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals.
Ndi Anambra, I have declared today a Day of Mourning in honour of our brothers and sisters that were slain yesterday. We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a Condolence Register for them in the Government House.
Finally, for the 18 survivors of this carnage who are nursing different injuries in the hospital, my administration shall pick up all their medical bills. I have visited them at the hospital to ascertain their recovery rate. I have also dispatched 50 additional medical doctors to the hospital to ensure that they have access to the best medical care possible. Indeed, all hands must be on deck to save more lives.
At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident. I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who also called last night to condole with us. My gratitude goes to everyone who has called my Team and I to say a soothing word since this incident happened. Your calls have re-affirmed my belief that we are one people under God! It has strengthened my faith in the unity of this country.
Anambra State has survived incredible odds in our modest history. This too shall pass!
God bless Anambra State
God Bless Nigeria