President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday directed the security agencies to go all out to find the brains behind Thursday’s killing of Reverend Father Paul Offu in Enugu.
Buhari also sent condolences to the Catholic Church over the killing of the priest who, until his death, was in charge of St. James Greater Parish Catholic Church, Ugbawka, Enugu State.
Similar condolences came from the state branch of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
The group described the death of Offu as one too many and said the killers must be brought to book.
Buhari, according to his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, expressed deep shock and dismay over the killing of the priest.
The President commiserated with government and people of Enugu State, family of Rev Fr. Offu and members of the parish and all Christians.
Describing the killing of the priest as “barbaric and unwarranted’’, President Buhari assured the Catholic Church and all Nigerians that the fight against “lawlessness and recklessness’’ will be intensified as security of lives and property continues to top his priorities.
“The entire nation is shaken by the horrible assassination of this priest. The administration will continue to guarantee the freedom of religion and protect places of worship as well as the lives of citizens wherever they live,” he added.
Directing law enforcement agencies to act swiftly in their investigations and bring the perpetrators of the “horrific crime’’ to book, the President called on all religious leaders to pray for peace, healing and security of the country.
Miyetti-Allah: Fulani herders not responsible for killing of Offu
In its reaction, the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Enugu State said that its members were not responsible for the killing of the Catholic priest.
It said it has been inundated with a barrage of accusations following the killing which it described as unfortunate.
The group said it was part of the security and peace committee in Enugu State, hence it was bound to control its members and ensure that criminals do not infiltrate its members conducting their business of cow rearing.
Chairman of MACBAN in South East, Alhaji Giddado Siddiki in a statement said: “Again our hearts bleed over the most bastardly murder of a Catholic priest, Reverend Father Paul Offu, of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu.
“This is one murder too many! It is most condemnable and heartily regretted.
“Again our society aches as a result of the activities of criminals who care less about the value of human life. It is painful that the security apparatuses of the government have not been able to contain the excesses of these men of the underworld who have continued to diminish the value of life in our society.
“We hereby most heartily console the members of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, and all the Christian faithful on this very painful and irreparable loss.
“We once more call on the government to rise to the occasion and provide adequate security for the citizens of Nigeria across the length and breadth of the country.
“We maintain that crime, in whatever form of its perpetration, is anti-society. Criminals of any guise cause pains to society and should therefore be properly identified and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“While we mourn the sudden departure of Father Offu, we are very hopeful that this occasion will agitate the government sufficiently to respond to the challenge of criminality amongst us.
“Please let all of us be duly consoled. May God receive the soul of His dutiful servant in Paradise.”
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