People praying at a Church service

This barbaric attack is a crime against humanity, and an outrage against the sanctity and sacredness of life common to all religions,” said Sauca. There can be no justification, religious or otherwise, for such an atrocity.”

The attackers are reported to have killed dozens of worshippers and to have wounded many others during the morning mass on Pentecost Sunday, 5 June. The very next day, other criminals attacked a housing estate in the Federal Capital Territory and kidnapped a number of residents,” said Sauca. Not isolated incidents but part of a longstanding and growing crisis, it is obvious that the security situation in Nigeria is worsening by the day.”

Sauca noted that the activities of criminal groups compound the threat posed to the people of Nigeria by violent extremism. These threats, if unaddressed, undermine peace and security in the whole region,” he said.

Noting that “the protection of the lives and properties of its people is the main duty of any government,” Sauca urged the Nigerian government and authorities to fulfil this duty, to restore security in all affected areas of the country, and to ensure that perpetrators are apprehended and held accountable for their crimes.

The WCC conveys its solidarity and support to the churches of Nigeria as they seek to fulfil their essential ministry for justice, peace and human dignity and rights in this escalating crisis,” Sauca concluded. We pray that you may experience the presence and the love of God even in the midst of these challenges.”

WCC statement on attacking the church community during a Sunday morning mass in Owo, Nigeria