It was a dark Thursday yesterday in Adazi Nnukwu as the community helplessly committed to mother earth 12 of its citizens mowed down in Mubi, Adamawa State on December 28, 2011 and January 6, 2012 by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Sorrow, agony and anger was written visibly on the faces of the thousands of citizens whose tears surged like flood as the caskets bearing the remains of the 12 victims were laid at the St Andrewsâ€™ Catholic Church, Adazi Nnukwu field for funeral mass.
The victims buried yesterday which included 35 year-old Mrs Ukamaka Aforka who until her murder was a staff of federal Polytechnic, Mubi are, 42 years old Mr Amaechi Onwukaike, 16 year old Obinna Okoye Akukwe, 52 year old Mr. Osita Aforka, 45 year old Mr. Uchenna Okpala and 48 year old Mr. Ugochukwu Ezenwekwe.
Others were 62 year old John Obiakonwa, 49 year old Mr. Patrick Aghachi, 35 year old Mr. Job Mgbemena, 56 year old Mr. Bede Anagbado, 47 year old Simeon Asor and 54 year old Mr. Sunday Okoye.
By 8am the church field venue was already filled with people for the mass slated for 10am and security operatives had a herculean task controlling the crowd, majority of who were in all black attires.
Governor Peter Obi, the leader of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and Hon Uche Ekwunife led other Anambrarians and Ndigbo to the burial.
In his homily at the mass attended by over 100 priests, the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Rev. Paulinus C. Ezeokafor warned that â€œenough is enoughâ€ of the senseless killing of innocent Nigerians especially Ndigbo, insisting that human life is sacred and must be respected.
He said, â€œWe are gathered here with heavy hearts to commend into the Lordâ€™s hands, 12 victims of senseless acts of violence that took place at Mubi, Adamawa State. Law abiding citizens of Nigeria, going about their legitimate businesses, were wantonly cut down by the assassinsâ€™ bullet in cold blood. Ten women were instantly made widows; scores of children rendered fatherless; a group of children lost both father and mother and untold hardship visited on countless other dependants whose breadwinners and lifelines were mowed down by those who ascribe to themselves the divine power of deciding who lives and who dies.
â€œThe fact that all these victims are from one community, the Adazi-Nnukwu community, compounds the pain. As the chief shepherd of the flock of God in this diocese, I have come to condole with the families who lost their loved ones and with the entire Adazi- Nnukwu community for this great loss. I have come to mourn and pray with you for the repose of our brethren and to reflect with you, in the light of the Gospel, on the recent events in our country.
â€œMost countries in the world contend with natural disasters that take lives and damage properties. In Nigeria, what we face are mostly human disasters: human beings killing and maiming others for absolutely no just cause. The present human disaster in Nigeria is Boko Haram, an Islamic sect who claimed responsibility for the Christmas day bombing of St Theresaâ€™s Church Madalla, Niger State, in which over 30 persons were killed and scores wounded. People who gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ saw their joy turned into sorrow by reckless and lawless agents of hate and destruction. On Friday, January 20, 2012 the same group pulled off a coordinated bombing campaign in Kano which sent over 180 innocent Nigerians to their untimely death. We recall similar incidents of senseless killing in Borno, Bauchi, Kaduna, and Plateau States of Northern Nigeria.
â€œFaced with the events of the recent past, we are compelled to ask: when will all these barbaric, inhuman and animalistic behaviours end? What does the future hold for our dear country Nigeria? Who will save this country from an impending doom if the Boko Haram menace is not addressed decisively and very soon too? Where are our elected leaders into whose hands we have freely surrendered our live and properties? What are the security agencies doing to end this cycle of violence? Let our leaders and those entrusted with the security of the lives and properties of Nigerians remember that there continued failure in this regard will surely attract the wrath of God.
â€œEnough is enough! We cannot continue like this! Human life is sacred and must be respected. It is our responsibility to nurture and defend life and not to destroy it. Those charged with security in the land have to act fast to prevent the senseless shedding of human blood and the spread of pain, misery and hardshipâ€.
In his speech at the funeral mass Governor Obi condemned the killing of his subjects who live in Mubi but urged the people to maintain peace.
He announced government scholarship for the children of the victims and N 1 million for each of the victimsâ€™ families as an initial package, just as he announced Adamawa State governmentâ€™s initial package of N 1 million each for the victim families. Obi further said, â€œThough this affected many communities, Adazi-Nnukwu was the worst hit by the present unnecessary murder in a country that is supposed to always give protection to all of us. This murder diminishes our humanity. This indeed is a season of anomie.
â€œI am aware that some people have tried to compare this sad turn of events with what happened during the Nigeria civil war (1966-1967). I disagree. As opposed to what was the case in the wake of the Civil War, the Federal Government of today is responsive to the situation. At the same time, we should cast our eyes back to senseless killing in the past in countries like Sudan, Rwanda, Somali and Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. In all of these cases, the people only ended up diminishing their humanity and lowering their status as countries in the comity of nations. The same fate awaits us if we do not stop the present unwarranted killings.
â€œAs we bury these brothers and sisters of ours, let us bear in mind that what their families need today is love, compassion and understanding. I have been informed of the difficulties some of their people encounter owing to the ugly situation. I assure them that the Anambra State Government will continue to assist them wherever she is supposed to do so. The victims were later buried at the church burial ground where again their family members especially wives and children cried their hearts out.