HURIWA Condemns Attack on Worshippers In Delta Mosque

Starry Obazei/December 02, 2022.

Prominent civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Friday, unequivocally condemned Friday’s early morning attack by gunmen on peaceful worshippers at a mosque in Ughelli, Delta state, where three worshippers were reportedly kidnapped and 11 others injured.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said freedom of religion and association remain constitutional rights according to sections 38 and 40 respectively of the Nigerian constitution and no one should be attacked because of their religious affiliation or faith.

The group, while sympathizing with the victims of the unprovoked attack, tasked the Nigeria Police Force to bring the perpetrators to book immediately to serve as a deterrent that attacks on places of worship won’t be condoned in our society.

Aside from the Delta attack of Friday, gunmen continue to unleash terror on innocent worshippers during prayers at mosques. For instance, in April 2022, gunmen attacked a mosque in the Bali LGA of Taraba State, killed one, and kidnapped seven kidnapped, while several others suffered gunshot wounds. Also, in the same month, gunmen attacked a mosque in the Maisamari community in Sardauna LGA, Taraba, killing the district head, Abdulkadir Sufiyanu.

In September 2022, bandits attacked the Bukkuyum local government area of Zamfara and killed at least 15 worshippers at a mosque. In December 2021, 16 worshippers were killed at a mosque, and others were kidnapped during an attack in the Mashegu area of Niger State. Also, in the same month, gunmen abducted worshippers at a mosque in Tella town in Gassol LGA of Taraba. At least five worshippers were killed and 40 others kidnapped when gunmen attacked a mosque in Zamfara in November 2020.

Data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project showed that there have already been 34 separate attacks on church premises so far in 2022. In 2020 there were 19, and in 2021 there were 33. 1,664 worshippers were killed, 390 persons injured and 188 churches burnt and destroyed since 2010, the statistics noted.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The maxim by prominent German pastor Martin Niemöller comes to mind again: ‘First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and no one was left to speak for me.’

“For years, gunmen have been coming for Christians, killing them in churches including the kidnapping of scores of priests and the dastard Owo Catholic church attack of June 5, 2022, where over 40 Christians were killed in broad daylight, yet those of the other religion kept quiet and failed to put the government on its toes to protect all.

“Now, the same gunmen have shown that they support no religion hence the attacks on Muslims and Christians. This is the time to collectively face the social menace and stop attacks on worship centers without religious sentiments.

“HURIWA condemns in strong terms the attack on the mosque in Ughelli, Delta State. It is an unfortunate incident that is avoidable if there is community policing in place and vigilantes manning worship centers. HURIWA sympathizes with the wounded worshippers and demands the immediate arrest of the perpetrators to bring to an end the despicable trend of kidnapping and killing at worship centers.”

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