How victims received help from church, government
The catechist of St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Jonathan Awolo, said the church’s welfare committee had purchased coffins for the deceased victims of the June 5 terror attack.
Mr Awolo, who escaped unscathed during the shooting, told PREMIUM TIMES that the church also distributed money to the victims and their families.
“We distributed 33,000 naira for each person and the corpse (coffin) of those who died. The church bought it. The church paid for the morgue and also gave the families of the deceased victims 250,000 each,” Mr Awolo said.
At least 40 people were killed when gunmen stormed the Ondo state church on June 5, in the middle of a Sunday mass, and opened fire on the congregation. The terrorists also detonated explosives as worshipers rushed for their safety.
The police said the armed men arrived at the church around 11:30 a.m.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the assailants approached the church during the service, began firing from outside the church while others numbering about four fired directly into the church. church,” police said in a statement.
While many injured victims were taken to Federal Medical Center and St. Louis Hospital, both in Owo for treatment, the corpses were deposited in various morgues across the state before being buried.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who visited the scene of the attack, ordered that the flags are flying at half mast in the state for seven days.
Mr. Akeredolu, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Richard Olatunde, also announced the opening of a bank account to receive donations from natural and legal persons interested in helping the victims and their families.
The governor assured that the survivors of the attack would receive adequate medical care.
Some of those who donated to support the victims included All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, who donated 75 million naira – 50 million naira to the victims and 25 million naira to the church – to support the victims and the church.
The Nigerian Governors Forum has also donated N50 million as support through its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also visited the church but did not announce a financial donation.
Awolo said a religious committee, set up after the attack, was responsible for paying the victims and nearly 120 people received food, clothes, baskets and soap.
“The injured victims then received an additional 20,000 naira each and we will continue to distribute more when we receive from the government,” he said.
“I do not know the source of these sums that we shared, it is the committee that will tell you where the money comes from.
“The money just went to the bank, they collected the money and distributed it to people. Some people are rushed from the federal medical center to another place and their medicine, the church has paid for these things.
A committee member told PREMIUM TIMES that the funds distributed to survivors and deceased families were donations from philanthropists and non-governmental organizations.
“We distributed everything we had to the victims, none of them can say that they did not receive it. The list of what we got is recorded and everything has been received by the families accordingly,” said the member who asked not to be named as no permission was given to speak on the matter.
Committee members said the church also pays for medical care in hospitals as well as drugs in pharmacies.
“I didn’t see any money”
“I didn’t see any money physically and I didn’t receive any money,” the MP, whose child was also a victim of the attack, told this newspaper in August.
“She was discharged last week, she came to the hospital for a medical check-up yesterday. Whenever I want, if I go to the pharmacy, they will give me (medicine). I did not pay a penny personally for his treatment since the incident.
“All of the victims who claimed to have paid for medical treatment mean that they did not inform the church committee. I am a member of the committee and we took care of all the victims in the hospital. Anyone who reports that a particular thing is not available, we will appeal to the authority of the church and the church will get it and we will distribute it.
On September 6, the Ondo State government gave money and about 120 bags of cassava flour to the victims and their families.
In August, Richard Olatunde, Governor Akeredolu’s chief press secretary, told PREMIUM TIMES that the process of compiling the names of the victims had taken a long time because the government had never experienced such an incident.
“As I speak to you, they have identified phone numbers, emails and addresses,” Mr Olatunde said at the time.
“The purpose of identifying their names is to ensure that what is given to them is given to the right people. We have seen a situation where people come to say they are the uncle of the deceased, so many distant families come to receive money in the name of a deceased person.
Support the integrity and credibility journalism of PREMIUM TIMES
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can guarantee the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy and a transparent government.
For free and continued access to the best investigative journalism in the country, we ask that you consider providing modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you help sustain relevant journalism and keep it free and accessible to everyone.
Make a donation
ANNOUNCEMENT TEXT: Call Willie – +2348098788999