St. Francis Catholic Church
THEY woke up on that Sunday morning bubbling with life. Yes, they woke up hale and hearty .They took their bath , wore their best clothes to celebrate and to do thanksgiving . ‘Armed’ with their rosaries dangling in their hands and necks as they clutched their Holy Bibles under their armpits then headed for church to serve God. While in Church the Choristers joyfully sang to high heavens , praised the Lord and danced like skilled dancers rejoicing and praising God .In fact they mashed Satan on the ground and they sang “mash am , mash am “. They te èsù pa and shouted Hallelujah as they danced to the tune of Organ. The Priest performed his Priestly rituals while the congregation prayed, poured their troubled minds and deposited their problems to Holy Mary mother of Jesus whose ‘picture’ was on the wall of the altar to solve .Yes , they looked forward to seeing another week and waiting for their prayers to be answered and manifested the following week in order to come back to give testimonies the following Sunday.
As the the church service was coming to an end the unexpected happened . Tragedy struck. Within a twinkle of an eye catastrophy reared its ugly head. The congregants’ joy was cut short . It was an unhappy ending as some criminals entered the church and punctured their happiness . Sadness took over as the church received some visitants : the Devil they prayed against appeared from nowhere. The Devil they avoided and cursed appeared in Church. Yes!, the Satan they mashed and crushed suddenly rose as he manifested himself through his Satanic messengers . The Devil came to kill, maim, steal and destroy . And they came , killed, maimed, stole and destroyed.
Ha! Oloun Oba o! the unsuspected congregants met one -on -one armed -to-the -teeth daredevil armed men. They were face -to -face -with the men of the underworld holding AK 47 (Kalashnikov automatic rifles). They saw the blood – thirsty and fierce- looking bloodshot eyes of these wicked men . Haaa ki l’eleyi?. Igbe a n’fe ewé! Guns ke , in the church!. Wàhálà de! . Òràn ńlá!. Oghàn mó gbé! Mo wèsún òràn. Òrò di bi o ko lo y’àgò fun mi. Oloun Oba o, eni orí kó yo o d’ile. The sound of their guns gbàù, kà-kà-kà-kàà rent the air and made some to climb the fence , some hid under the pulpit , some under the Pews , some ran into Sacristy while some laid flat as the assassins emptied bullets on them .They opened fire and sprayed their bullets mercilessly on them .God have mercy .They shelled heavily . Then a loud sound was heard, it was a dynamite . It was an explosive . It was bomb!. Bómbù kè in the House of God?. The church building vibrated and shook to its foundation. All the materials on the table came down crashing , human brains spilled on the altar. Human flesh littered the ground like leaves. Blood splattered on the walls as they stained the pictures of Holy Mary on the altar. Ha! it was a Black Sunday . Yes, ojó burúkú èsù gb’omi mu. The old ones who could not run with their feeble legs were not as lucky. Innocent children were caught in the melee as they were soaked in their own pool of blood. Ha , nwon o nii jèrè. Ik ú òjijì will kill these wicked people.
While some mothers abandoned their children and ran for their dear lives having the Yoruba saying in mind that bi iná jo ni jo omo eni t’ara eni laa ko gbòn, O di bii o kò lo y’àgò fun mi .While some too died alongside with their children. Husband and wife were forcefully ‘joined’ together in death as they were shot dead!. It was like a movie but real.
The assailants opened fire and shot the innocent congregants .Limbs were separated from the bodies. Some had their bones shattered . Body parts scattered on the floor .Blood was everywhere . It was ikú gbígbóná as innocent souls were sent to the grave . Many of them were identified by their clothes and shoes they wore. It reminds one the Hotel Rwanda Movie – a 2004 drama film directed by Terry George . Haaa ! O ma se o. Ìkà l’ènìyàn, ènìyàn ni ìkà.
This toddler came from America to visit her grandparents, was among the victims
Some minutes later ( after the monsters had left) the church was besieged by sympathizers as tears flowed freely while many lay dead and some were writhing in pain, dying .The assailants left behind sorrow ,tears and blood courtesy of Fela Anikulapo -Kuti. The Federal Medical Centre, St Louis Catholic Hospital had their mortuaries filled with dead bodies. Over 40 were killed. The victims had their blood -soaked clothes and shoes returned home by sympathizers who identified them telling the family members of the victims that the owners of these properties are no more. Tears flowed freely, the shouts of õróóó òòò rent the air. In the victims’ homes crying and anguish filled the air. Many were rolling on the floor while the bold ones were gnashing their teeth. Wailing took over. Wàláítàlaì the old held their heads biting their lower lips as if regretting going to church that day. It was a Black Sunday.
OWO BECAME ‘MECCA’ OF SORTS
The ancient town where Action Group (AG) was formed in 1951 which made it popular politically became the sacrificial lamb for the ISWAP who owned up to the killings . Who could have done it?. Questions remained unanswered while others guess as well as theories upon theories emerged. This dastardly act shook not only Òwò but Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole. Unexpectedly , the ancient town became a Mecca of sorts for genuine and fake sympathizers for some politicians came for political reasons . Politicians came to show sympathy while the CNN and other foreign media reported the ugly incident that occurred at St. Francis Catholic Church , Òwálúwà Street , Òwò, Ondo State. The whole world was taken by surprise. Òwò for that matter? .Òwò the land of Honour was dishonoured by the intruders that day as the assailants spilled innocent blood. Òwò of all towns? ÒGHÒ!.OGHÒ!!.
On the third day women and children came out not only to protest but to lay curse and invoke the spirit of Òronshèn (a goddess in Òwò) on those who performed the heinous act. Few days later the whole town trooped to the palace Of Olówò of Òwò, Oba Ajíbádé Ògúnoyè III to have a glimpse of those were allegedly caught whom they suspected to have performed the wicked act. Rumour went round from Òwò to America, Canada , France that the assailants had been arrested. Na lie, no bi dem jare .Those arrested were later discovered to be Hausas selling Indian Hemp in the farm. Again , the whole town and the world were told that the search for the assailants continued. When will we apprehend these criminals?
Elerewe’s killers yet to be prosecuted
PAST EPISODES: OPC, FADARE, ELEREWE
Although this ugly incident is not new. What is new is that it happened in a Church . About 21 years ago dozens of people were killed in Owo during the OPC members’ clash . About 22 years ago Engineer Fadare Amúlélé was brutally killed alongside his wife and his house was burnt down .In fact petrol was poured into the toilet where he and his wife ran into to hide and the couple were gruesomely burnt alive!. Six years ago some robbers invaded the ancient town and unleashed terror on the indigenes as they killed many including one Mr. Ogundipe Adene who was in his late 70s. He relocated from America to Ipènmèn after spending 29years in the United Sate of America .The report said that some were caught but that was all we heard about it till date.
Exactly six months ago High Chief Elérèwè of Owo Kingdom Túndé Ìlòrí was brutally murdered in Owo .According to reports some suspects were arrested but released and up till the moment of filing this report nothing was done.
About one month ago news went round that a foreigner was kidnapped after killing a soldier who was guarding the Engineer working on road construction in Owo. The soldier was shot in the head and the video went viral .Up till the moment of reporting this story nobody has been arrested.
LIES AND LIES ABOUT OWO BY PRESENTERS
Since the ugly incident the social media has been awashed with all kinds of ugly and unbelievable stories that some disgruntled people were after the Olowo Of Owo’s life . The video has been going round . Not only this some Bloggers seized the opportunity to have verbal diarrhea talking jargons . Let me remind you all that we don’t toy with our traditional ruler, the Olowo of wo. We respect our King and therefore those self -aclaimed sympathizers or Sòròsòrò ( Presenters) should be mindful of their words if not we would sue them to Court and would ask Òronshèn to deal with them. One of them was talking about the money donated to the Church and to the family members of the victims, please Bloggers be warned and know that Owo is a land of Honour !.
WHERE ARE THE SPIRITUALISTS?
According to history Òwò has never been conquered in war and no one has ever invaded Òwò .So what is happening? .Where are the Babalawos and the gods in Òwò? Where are the powerful men in Òwò?. Is Owo no longer the Ogho we know?. I doubt if we will get these assailants , infact I doubt 1,00000 times for if the killers of Elerewe cannot be fished out , and when the suspects were arrested it was turned to awúrúju , it was done in màgòmágó way and they were released. It is almost going the way of Dele Giwa’s case when we all knew the killers of Dele Giwa yet none of them was brought to book. Please when are we going to arrest , re arrest killers of Elerewe ? .When are we going to get the killers of worshippers of St. Francis Catholic Church?
And the questions remains unanswered ” Who Killed Chief Elerewe of Owo Kingdom?. Who killed the Congregants at St. Francis Church?. Who killed Fadare Amulele? . If we cannot unravel the killers of Elerewe ,then I doubt if we can get those who came from outside to unleash terror on St. Francis Church members!.
WE SHOULD ALL BE ARMED
We need gun. We need amulets .We need ōgùn abenugongo . We need Àse .We need both physical and spiritual intervention. Imagine these assailants had the effrontery to come to the centre of the town very close to Olowo of Owo’s palace to unleash terror for 30minutews according to reports and nothing happened .Nobody challenged them .Kai! O ma se o. Everybody was indoor to save their heads. Ah! it is unheard of .Ki lode? and when they left everybody now came out crying and rolling on the floor. According to some reports they contacted the police who in turn complained of not having vehicles to use. But wait where are the brave ones in Owo?. If they could shoot and unleashed terror for 30minutes uninterrupted then they would do worse in the nearby villages uninterrupted as they are now doing in Benue and other Northern areas where they would invade and killed for hours uninterrupted.
It was these victims today and who knows the next victims ? . It could be me and it could be you!. It could be a member of my family and as well could be yours!. When the Elerewe of Owo was killed I wrote and wrote not because I enjoy writing but it could happen to ANYBODY. Eni kan lo mo. He who feels it knows it .
This writer is angry as he asks’ where are our traditionalists?’
WHERE ARE OUR TRADITIONALISTS?
As the old man was told that his only child had his boat capsized and was drowned by a ferocious whale , he was dumbfounded and did not say a word. The following day he went to the spot where the boat capsized and sprinkled some powdery substance there. On the third day the carcass of the huge whale was found by the river bank. When the old man visited the place and saw it ,he was relieved. He said ” this is to save other proposed victims”. Where is our traditional power our forefathers bequeath to us? .When the St Francis Church members’ assassins fled they should be made to start dancing or be confused where they were. Where is our power?
Some months ago some dare -devil armed robbers robbed some banks in Uromi, Edo State .The robbers killed and used explosives on the Banks’ vaults and the ATM’s machines and carted away millions of naira in Ghana Must Go bags . Immediately the youths heard about the news they barricaded all the roads leading to the town to avoid the robbers from escaping . The robbers could not pass through the road and therefore abandoned their loots and fled, according to reports. The video went viral in social media .Now where are our brave youths?. After killing our people the youths came out fuming and raging . Hmmmmm, medicine after death , you will say. We could have used our phones to boldly take their pictures. We could have use our Babalawos to make them be dancing to the sound of the unseen drums and invisible bells . They could have turned the killers to ants or turned them to sweepers and be sweeping the Church compound. Where are the Babalawos we honour, fear and respect?
Mark you , these dare devil ones if care is not taken would start unleashing terror on our villages for they would think if they could succeed in the town then they could do this unperturbed anywhere.
What is the role of our Government on security?.But the Government cannot do everything. Where are our traditionalists /Babalawos? is our iseese no more working?.
I rest my case.