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IG drafts detectives to Lagos over killing in church

Posted by Kunle Adeyemi on 2005/08/04 | Views: 291 |

IG drafts detectives to Lagos over killing in church


Shocked by the killing on Tuesday of Rev. Fr. Gabriel Okwesili, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, has drafted homicide detectives from the Force Criminal Investigation Department to Lagos for a probe of the incident.

Shocked by the killing on Tuesday of Rev. Fr. Gabriel Okwesili, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, has drafted homicide detectives from the Force Criminal Investigation Department to Lagos for a probe of the incident.

The IG reportedly ordered his men to work towards apprehending the culprits.

Force spokesman, Mr. Emmanuel Ighodalo, a superintendent of police, said on Wednesday that the investigation would show whether armed robbers or assassins killed the priest.

He told our correspondent, “The Inspector-General is already aware of the incident and he has ordered detectives from the Homicide Section of the FCID to investigate the murder with a view to arresting the culprits.”

But the leadership of Saint Dominic’s Catholic Church, Yaba, Lagos, where the deceased belonged and was killed, said armed robbers and not assassins killed the reverend father.

Okwesili, born in 1963, was killed by three men who disguised as visitors to the church when he allegedly came out of his room to ascertain the cause of an unusual noise that woke him from sleep.

On Wednesday, the church wore a sombre look.

A mass was going on when our correspondent visited the church.

Immediately the service came to a close, hundreds of worshippers trooped out to the entrance of the church’s priory where a condolence register and the deceased’s photograph were placed on a table.

According to the church’s pastor, Rev. Fr. MaryVin Ubili, the killers arrived at the church’s reception at about 4.45pm on Tuesday, with one of them carrying a “neatly wrapped parcel while the two others had nothing visible with them.”

Ubili said, “The parcel holder told the receptionist that one of the priests prayed for their brother who travelled to the United States, and that he sent them to come and thank the priest with the gift.

“He asked the receptionist to sign that he received the gift, while trying to open the parcel. The receptionist agreed to do so only after seeing the gift, to be sure of what he was receiving.

“Suddenly, one of them brought out a pistol and put everybody under arrest at gunpoint. The parcel holder quickly unfolded the supposed ‘gift’, which turned out to be a rifle, and two of them started demanding for the safe.”

The priest said one of the men held hostage eventually escaped and was vigorously pursued by a member of the gang, who could not catch up with the fleeing man.

The stampede that followed reportedly made the deceased, who was in a pair of shorts and slippers, come out of his room; and immediately he was sighted by the men, “he was shot dead instantly in front of his room door.”

The Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. George Ehusani, described the killing as not only “terrible and shocking,” but also a damning statement on the direction Nigeria was headed.

He told our correspondent over the phone on Wednesday, “We reject violence in all its forms. Whether it is armed robbery or assassination, it is irresponsible and a frightening indication of where the country is headed. It is sad that human life seems to have become so cheap.”

The clergyman wondered why anyone had to kill the late Okwesili when he was a clerical apprentice. “He was not even a full church administrator, he was still learning from the parish priest. So he could not have posed a threat to anyone. It only shows that there are no safety guarantees for anyone in this society if in a church where people expect to have free access to the priest for spiritual help, some gunmen can just walk in and kill the priest.

“We need to work for a safer society by providing jobs for the young ones that are walking idly all over the place, posing a threat to other citizens.”

Also commenting on the killing, the Director of Communications at the Catholic Secretariat in Lagos, Rev. Fr. Gabriel Osu, said it violated both the law of God and that of nature.

According to him, “Human life is sacred, and the shedding of human blood is an abominable thing. It is against the Fifth Commandment.”

Asked if the incident could warrant better security arrangement for the clergy, he said that was implied not only for the clergy, but the entire citizenry.

Osu explained, “God is our insurance. If you knew the St. Dominic’s Church (where the incident happened) well, there are security guards all around, but they do not carry arms.”

The PUNCH, Thursday, August 04, 2005

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)