Anambra Church killings not ‘terrorist attack’ governor insists, says attackers known

St Phillips Catholic Church after the attack
St Phillips Catholic Church after the attack

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has declared Monday as a day of mourning for those who died in Sunday’s attack at St Phillips Catholic Church Ozubulu which claimed 12 lives.

The governor stated this in a broadcast to the people of the state on Monday.

The governor, who debunked reports attributing the incident to terror attacks, again reiterated his earlier statement that the incident was a spill over of a drug war between indigenes of the state living abroad.

He promised that the perpetrators would be arrested and prosecuted no matter how highly placed they are in the society.

The governor also thanked President Muhamadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osibanjo for calling to show concern over the incident.

He said the state is still very safe for people despite the incident which he promised would not be allowed to repeat again.

Below is the full speech of the Governor

A Special Broadcast by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano on the St Phillips Catholic Church Killings at Ozubulu on August 7, 2017.

Good morning fellow citizens

Ndi Anambra ekenem unu

With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu yesterday.

First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu yesterday was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town. I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate here, going forward.

This explanation, I believe, has erased the fears that the incident may have been caused by either some terrorist organizations or some members of some groups of agitators in the country.

Brothers and sisters, what happened in Ozubulu was neither a terror attack as we know it, nor a violent action by some agitators. We are dealing with a dangerous GANG WAR that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch!

Fellow citizens, I want to assure you that we are on top of this situation. We are completely in charge here. The people directly and remotely involved in this crime are known to the law enforcement agencies. But no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law. So, we have taken bold steps to bring them to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra State has enjoyed since the past three years.

Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra state is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case. It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!

Ndi Anambra, in all our 25-year history, never has a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives. I strongly condemn this wanton killing of our fellow citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God. I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity!

All the shadowy characters behind this crime shall account for it. This is the first and the last of this appalling crime!

Fellow citizens, I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State.

To our numerous friends and partners, I want to assure you that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state. Indeed, the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened our commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state. We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals.

Ndi Anambra, I have declared today a Day of Mourning in honour of our brothers and sisters that were slain yesterday. We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a Condolence Register for them in the Government House.

Finally, for the 18 survivors of this carnage who are nursing different injuries in the hospital, my administration shall pick up all their medical bills. I have visited them at the hospital to ascertain their recovery rate. I have also dispatched 50 additional medical doctors to the hospital to ensure that they have access to the best medical care possible. Indeed, all hands must be on deck to save more lives.

At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident. I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who also called last night to condole with us. My gratitude goes to everyone who has called my Team and I to say a soothing word since this incident happened. Your calls have re-affirmed my belief that we are one people under God! It has strengthened my faith in the unity of this country.

Anambra State has survived incredible odds in our modest history. This too shall pass!

God bless Anambra State

God Bless Nigeria

Thank you


Willie Obiano
Governor Anambra State


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  • Spyman29

    This is reassuring. The next step is to arrest Bishop and his opponent. Also warn Chijioke Mbanefo and Onyenze to stop eulogizing this miscreants with their songs

    • aisha ani

      Thank you for the sensible comment.

  • Spyman29

    At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident. I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who also called last night to condole with us.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    There are certain things that stand out here like a sore thumb:
    1. These ‘brothers’ have been fighting silly in the African country they live. Was the Nigeria Police not informed about this? And did the host African country not prosecute them over there?
    2. These ‘brothers’ carried over their fight to Nigeria. And this fight culminated in the murders of 12 people and the bodily harm done on 18 others. Are these people members of the fighting group? If not, one wonders why an assassin, ostensibly, would begin to shoot and kill people not concerned with the fight.
    3. The security agencies know these ‘brothers’ and, by extension, their acolytes and hangers-on. What is now secret about naming these people and their acolytes?

    I have no reason to dispute this story, since I don’t have any evidence, but so many things stand out as not being right in the story.

    • marcos avelino

      You sorely wished it to have been Jonathans creation – BokoH as that will give you great sectarian and political ammunition.

      • aisha ani


    • SamPsalm

      So, they should have arrested people because they heard they were feuding over something that happened out of jurisdiction in South Africa? Something that even the South African Police apparently did not feel they had enough evidence to arrest or in your words, name them? The suspected scoundrels in your village, who has arrested or named them? Or do we forget that citizen have constitutional presumption of innocence until reliable evidence of their crime becomes available?

      Please, let’s stop fishing. In every country, Police know drug peddlers and many other criminals but they are only arrested when public policy would be best served by the arrest.

      This was a dastard act and no proactive Policing would have prevented a killer from entering the Church to kill if he was so minded

  • Rommel

    When then Gen Buhari wanted to rid Nigeria of Drug menace, certain people swore hatred on him and like the saying goes, when you sow wind, likelihood of reaping whirlwind is very high and today,Ndi Anambra who swore hatred for the man because of his stance against drugs are reaping what they sowed.

    • 0tile

      You are a_damned lair. Your god Imam Buhari swore to stamp out corruption. The only politician who attempted to stamp out drug dealing in Nigeria was late Dorothy Akunyili, but your people got rid of her. Your hatred for Igbo is only second to Buhari’s. Don’t mock Igbo, there is daily shooting, bombing, beheading all over one Nigeria, no tribe has monopoly of violence or drugs.

      • Moses Stone

        Otile-the-mule is here again with his hate filed jargon.


      It’s early; the hausa/Fulani have delivered the first blow, they’ve killed many innocent Igbos, and you are mocking them by your silly comment. But it’s early…

      • marcos avelino

        Sick man you see nothing except through the lens of sectarian and tribal geography

  • ’70

    If this is not terror, what is it?

  • Excisionist

    This bears all the hallmarks of atrocity by Fulani herdsmen. Igbos don’t attack churches. In the south East, South-south, South-West no one attacks worshipers in churches or anywhere. This is Fulani culture. When did the vigilantes from this community clash with Fulani herdsmen over their farms and crops? That is where the investigation should start. I suspect that the terrorist Danbazau (imposed as minister of Interior) knows something about this along with Fulani Commissioner of Police in Anambra. They should bring out the herdsmen who did this instead of pointing dirty fingers elsewhere. Has Danbazau ever arrested any Fulani herdsman all these years while they pillaged and destroyed in every part of the country. Crocodile tears are not enough. Arrest the herdsmen

    • Moses Stone

      You must be born by a harlot.

  • Moses Stone

    So what is a terrorist attack if this does not qualify to be one??