Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has called an emergency meeting of all heads of security agencies in the state after a Catholic priest was shot dead on Thursday — the latest of such attacks in the South-east state.
A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Simon Ortuanya, did not state the reason for the emergency meeting, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the meeting may be connected to the killing of Paul Offu, a reverend father.
Mr Offu, who hails from Okpatu in Udi Local Government Area of the state, was the parish priest of St. James the Greater Parish, Ugbawka in Nkanu West Local Government.
The police command in the state and the director of communication, Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Benjamin Achi, confirmed the killing of the priest.
Mr Achi said the deceased was taken away and killed along Ihe-Agbudu Road in Awgu Local Government Area of the state.
The director of communication said that the situation had become unbearable as another Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Ikechukwu Ilo escaped assassination on June 19, 2019.
He said Mr Ilo was still recuperating from the gunshots he received along Numeh-Nenwe road in Nkanu East Local Government Area of the state.
“As we speak, Catholic priests in Enugu are on the streets demonstrating over these incidents,” Mr Achi said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu Police Command, Ebere Amarizu, said investigations were ongoing to unravel the perpetrators.
He rejected earlier suggestions by the Catholic diocese that the attack was carried out by suspected Fulani herders.
Human Rights Groups Protest
The South East Human Rights Situation Room has expressed worry about the alleged attacks and killing of Catholic priests in Enugu State by gunmen.
The group led by Joy Ezeilo, a professor, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the situation was becoming unbearable as residents of the state now live in fear.
“We condemn in strong terms the incessant attacks and killings in Enugu State targeted especially on priests in the state.
“These attacks have reached a threatening level that calls for urgent action and measures to bring them to a halt,’’ she said.
She called on the South-East Governors, especially Gov. Ugwuanyi, to urgently put necessary measures to stop the rising rate of insecurity in the zone.
Mrs Ezeilo also called on security agencies in the state to rise up to their responsibilities and tackle security challenges in the state. (NAN)
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