Ozubulu: Three high-profile suspects in police net
By Jide Babalola
•They are wealthy but have no identifiable means of livelihood’
•Catholic Church has forgiven brains behind attack, says Bishop
•Osinbajo sends high-powered delegation to horror scene
The Police now have in their custody three suspects linked to last Sunday’s massacre at St Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State.
The suspects are said to be very wealthy but with no identifiable means of income.
Police spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, who confirmed the arrest however declined to reveal the identities of the suspects.
He spoke as the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Dr. Hilary Okeke said the Church has forgiven the brains behind the attack.
Okeke, receiving a presidential delegation during a sympathy visit in Nnewi, however said the forgiveness does not in any way preclude government from fishing out the perpetrators and bringing them to book.
Jimoh also said the Police will not dignify any suspect with the term high profile, pointing out that anyone who violates the law of the land is liable to be arrested and charged accordingly.
“The arrested suspects have no identifiable means of income and they completely have no explanation as to their means of livelihood,” Jimoh told The Nation in Abuja.
“No doubt, when people do things relating to the offence of drug-running, they do not have a recognized means of livelihood.
“I would not want to say that they are ‘big men’ because anybody can claim to be big but once you commit crime, even if people in the society say you are a big man, it is the duty of the police to hold you and take you before the law. The process is not a respecter of anyone’s social standing.
“They are leading us further in our investigation into the crime. What happened was a vicious and condemnable act in a place of worship. It is criminal and reprehensible to go and attack worshippers and kill people, no matter what issue prompted any feud.
“All the perpetrators of such crimes would definitely be arrested and prosecuted. I want to assure Nigerians that whether they are in Nigeria or any other country, the Nigeria police and Interpol will get them anywhere they are.
“We will get anybody who had a hand in committing this offence; anyone who participated in any way and anyone who gives custody to the perpetrator or hides him has flouted the law. Such a person would be culpable.
“The process of the law would be firmly followed without compromise towards ensuring that we bring the criminals behind the Ozubulu incident to justice.”
And welcoming the Presidential team led by Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige in Nnewi yesterday, Bishop Okeke hailed the federal government for responding promptly to the Ozubulu incident.
He said that the federal government had by the gesture, shown that it had the interest of all sections of the country at heart in spite of differences in religion, creed and political affiliations.
He said that the incident claimed the lives of 13 people, while 26 others sustained various degrees of injury.
The bishop said that the church had set up a trust fund to assist the victims, adding that government was free to add its own contribution.
Ngige, a former governor of the state said that the delegation was in the state to condole with the people and government of Anambra.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari was much concerned about the incident and that the government would bring the perpetrators to book.
He pledged that government “will do everything to track the perpetrators,” and pledged its commitment to the safety of Nigerians every where they reside.
Others on the entourage were Health Minister Prof Isaac Adewole; Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State for Education Anthony Anwukah; and Minister of State for Environment Ibrahim Jibrin.
The delegation visited St Philips Catholic, the scene of the incident, in Ozubulu.
They were scheduled to deliver to Governor Willier Obiano a letter of condolence from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo, in the letter, commiserated with the families and friends of the victims, as well as the Ozubulu community for the loss and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
He condemned in very strong terms the atrocious and dastardly act which he said has brought sorrow to many innocent families.
“Such barbaric act constitutes an affront to our common humanity and it challenges, but will not overwhelm our collective resolve to rid our communities of all forms of violent crimes and criminality,” he said.
Osinbajo said President Buhari’s administration remains committed to deploying all available resources towards ensuring adequate security of lives and property in Anambra State and across the entire country.
He also informed that he had instructed law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice without any delay.
Unknown gunmen had on Aug. 6 invaded the church during morning Mass and opened fire on worshippers.