Priests protest: Police yet to find killers of the catholic priest in Enugu

FOLLOWING the death of Paul Offu, parish priest of St. James the Great parish, Ugbawka, priests in the Catholic Diocese of Enugu on Friday took to the streets on Friday to protest the alleged targeted killings of clergymen in the State.

The protesting priests carrying various placards, stormed major streets in Enugu metropolis to express their displeasure with the state of security in the state.

Before proceeding to the state government house and the state police command headquarters to press home their demands for a safer society for members of the clergy.

The protest was prompted by the death of Paul Offu, who was shot dead on Thursday evening by “some hoodlums suspected to be the notorious and murderous Fulani herdsmen, along Ihe-Agbudu Road in Awgu Local Government Area of the state” according to a statement on its Facebook post.

Benjamin Achi, communications director of the Enugu diocese, who spoke to The ICIR lamented the increased spate of attacks on priests in recent months in the State.

“This latest death is one attack too many on catholic priests specifically, the church is unhappy about it because in the past couple of months several priests have been killed along that road without any effort from the government to stem the tide,” he said.

He said the protest was the last resort to ensure that the government pays attention to the security threat posed by gunmen along that axis.

“The protest is to call the attention of the security personnel in the State because it doesn’t seem they are doing enough considering it lies within their competence to fish out the Fulani herdsmen behind the attacks,” he stated.

When asked if he had evidence to support his claims, he stated that accounts of victims who had survived their attacks suggest that line of thought.

” Apart from the fact of their past antecedents, people who have survived their attacks say their dressing and accents points to the fact that they are herdsmen,” he said.

Paul’s death on Thursday evening comes on the heels of a recent attack on Ikechukwu Ilo, another Reverend Father, along Nomeh axis of Nkanu East Local Government Area, on Wednesday, by suspected kidnappers who opened fire on him after he refused to stop his car.

    He sustained gunshot wounds and is currently recuperating in an undisclosed hospital.

    Clement Ugwu, who was the parish priest of St Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia Ndiuno in Ezeagu Local Government Area of the State, was also killed five months ago by gunmen.

    Contradicting the claims of the Achi, Ebere Amaraizu, Enugu State Police spokesperson, told The ICIthe Police were yet to determine the identities of the gunmen and unravel the circumstance surrounding the death of Paul.

    “What we can’t confirm right now is the identity of the people who perpetrated the act and the circumstance that led to the unfortunate incident the death of the priest. Immediately the case was reported to the police we swung into action and the commissioner of police, Sulieman Balarabe ordered a full-scale investigation to bring those behind this dastardly act to justice,” he said.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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