Normal church services were held at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra, a week after gunmen killed worshipers during early morning service. The church was sealed after Aug. 6 massacre which claimed 11 people and 18 others sustaining various degrees of injury. A News Agency of Nigeria correspondent, who attended the church service, reports that there was an initial low turn-out of parishioners but the attendance later picked up.
The service was attended by officials of the state government led by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu. Also, present at the Mass was Aloysius Ikegwuonu, popularly called ‘Bishop” and one of the chieftains of the village, who was alleged to have been the target of the Aug 6 attack. IIkegwuonu, who lost his father in the attack, refused to talk to newsmen, but one of his aides said his principal would talk at appropriate time.
Security operatives were seen in and around the church wielding arms. In his homily, Rev. Fr. Jude Onwuaso, the Parish Priest, encouraged parishioners not to be deterred by Aug 6 attack, adding that “God is still on the throne”. Ownuaso said that the slain parishioners were at the right hand of the Almighty. Some Parishioners told NAN that many of them were yet to overcome the shock of the invasion.
Mr Jude Okoye, a parishioner, said he forced himself to attend church service because of his deep religious understanding that a Christian believer must experience persecution to make to heaven. A delegation of the federal government led by Minister Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had visited the church on Saturday Aug.12 to condole with the state.