The Catholic Archbishop of Benin, Most Rev. Augustine Akubueze and the Bishop of Uromi Catholic Diocese, Dr. Donatus Ogun, have appealed to the Federal Government to tackle the growing attacks by criminals in Edo State.
The bishops, who spoke against the backdrop of last Friday’s attempt on the life of the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
Onaiyekan was said to have been attacked by suspected herdsmen along the Benin-Ekpoma Road on his way from the 10-year anniversary of the enthronement of Akubueze as a bishop and the 10-year anniversary of the Diocese Uromi.
The men were said to have emerged from a forest close to Ehor at about 5.00pm and shot at the vehicle conveying the cardinal.
The driver of the vehicle, who identified himself as Segun, said “We left Benin for Uromi and at about 5.00pm on the fateful day – I think very close to Ehor – I saw a big pothole and decided to slow down the vehicle. I would have passed the spot with speed but because the cardinal was sleeping, I decided to slow down the vehicle so that he would not wake up.
“Suddenly, I saw three men came out of the palm tree plantation by the road side and started shooting at the vehicle. Drivers of other vehicles who saw me coming with reverse started clearing off the road and when I got to a safe distance, I decided to stop the vehicle and people started running to see what had happened.
“It was then we realised that the bullets shattered the left passenger window glass and made huge holes on the panel of the door. We just thank God nothing happened to the cardinal or any of us in the vehicle.”
However, Akubeze noted that the manner in which the herdsmen commit atrocities in the state without adequate security checks had become worrisome.
“We thank God that Cardinal Onaiyekan survived the attacks of some criminals elements last week on the Benin-Ekpoma Road. If something had happened to him, what would have been the story?
“We thank God that nothing happened and we are using this opportunity to appeal to Mr. President (Muhammadu Buhari) to provide adequate security for the citizens of Edo state,” Akubueze was quoted to have said in an interview with newsmen.
On his part, Bishop Ogun said, “What would have happened if the Cardinal was killed? It would have been sorrow and pains for us, considering that he was coming to attend the 10th anniversary of the creation of Uromi Diocese. We thank God he came out unhurt.
“We need adequate security to protect the lives and property of the residents of the state. We cannot continue to live in fear in our own land because of the activities of these criminals.”
Gunmen attack Onaiyekan in Edo, Catholic bishops kick
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