The Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Lucius Ugorji has called on Imo State government to unravel and punish the murderers of seven youths at Awo-Omama Community in Oru East Local Government Area of the state.
Archbishop Ugorji insisted that fishing out and bringing to book those who masterminded the killing was the only way to assuage public anger triggered by the extra-judicial killing.
In a statement dated July 22, 2022, Archbishop Ugorji noted a probe of the killings would lay to rest who actually pulled the trigger that sent the seven youths who were returning from a wedding to their early graves.
The Prelate who said he would not like to delve into the contradictory narratives over the killings condemned what he called mindless blood-letting that has bedeviled Igboland especially Imo State in recent times.
He decried the defilement of Igboland with blood of innocent people and the swift descent of the Igbo society to an enclave that lacks respect for the sanctity of human life.
According to Ugorji, no society could survive let alone make progress when its youth population is decimated on mere suspicion as it is happening in Imo state.
He also submitted that law and order cannot be achieved through jungle justice and extrajudicial killings.
The prelate described the Awo-Omama killings as barbaric, offensive and unacceptable, saying it must not be swept under the carpet.
The statement reads in part; “The gruesome murder of some youths at Awomama in Imo State a few days ago has caused public outrage.
“Since this incident, there have been various narratives about who carried out this dastardly and abominable act, and why.
“While some members of the public blame government and her security outfit Ebubeagu for murdering unarmed and defenceless young men coming back from a wedding, the DSS Director, on the other hand, confirmed that his men carried out an operation in a camp where those he described as ‘bandits’ were killed, as a means of ensuring public security.
“Our aim is not to delve into this web of contradictory narratives, but to unequivocally condemn this mindless blood-letting, and similar senseless killings, which have bedevilled Igbo society, especially Imo State in recent times. Our soil has been defiled by the abominable shedding of innocent blood.
“We are becoming a society that has no regard for the sanctity of human life and are ready to waste human life at the least provocation. How many of our youths have been cut down in their prime?
“No society can flourish or survive when her future leaders and productive sector of the population are mercilessly mowed down for mere suspicion. Like Abel’s blood (Gen 4:10), the blood of many slaughtered youths in our land is crying to high heaven. Similarly, like the lamentations of Rachel at Ramah (Gen 30:1), the lamentations of mothers, who have lost their beloved ones at Awomama, are inconsolable.
“Law and order are not synonymous with jungle justice. While no one should condone any form of banditry or lawlessness from any quarters, yet jungle justice and extra judicial killings cannot be a solution to the challenges of law and order.
“Let us reiterate here that we condemn all killings fiom all quarters, whether private or public, whether by overzealous, trigger-happy security men or by paramilitary or cults groups.
“As moral agents, no one should clearly aim at taking away human life no matter the circumstances.
“The Awomama massacre should not be swept under the carpet. That slaughter, no matter the reasons, is barbaric, offensive, and totally unacceptable. Enough is enough!
“We, therefore, call on government to undertake a thorough and transparent investigation in order to unearth the perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to book”.