By Jude Chinedu, Enugu
It was a harvest of tears in Enugu, Tuesday, as thousands of Catholic faithful and sympathisers, including Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and other political office holders in the state gathered to witness the burial of Rev. Father Paul Offu at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu.
Speaking during the service, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Bishop Calistus Onaga, disclosed that “The death of Fr. Offu has sent a message, not just to us in Enugu state alone, but also to the whole of Nigeria and the world”.
He urged the faithful to realise that security of lives and property was not just a state responsibility or for those in power, but also for everyone.
While commending the governor and security agencies for their effort so far, which, he said, has led to the arrest of the killer herdsmen, pointed out that God answered the prayer of Christians, who remained steadfast in prayer.
Onaga, who urged the faithful to lead a holy life, prayed for a peaceful repose of the soul of Fr. Offu.
Bishop Onaga, while commending Gov Ugwuanyi over his commitment to tackling insecurity in the state, urged priests to always contribute to ensuring that the menace of insecurity is solved. He also urged priests and the faithful to be security conscious.
“Those who killed Fr. Paul Offu have been caught. Not only that, those who killed Fr. Clement have been caught as well. God is answering our prayers. Your Excellency, thank you so much; we are praying for you too, and we shall continue to work together.
“My dear brothers and sisters, Fr. Paul has sent a message, not just to us, not just Enugu Catholic diocese and Enugu state, but also the entire Nigeria and to the whole world. Let us realise that the responsibility of security in this state and in Nigeria is not just the responsibility of those in the ruling class. We should all be involved. Don’t stay aloof and stop pointing accusing fingers at others”, he said.
In his homily, the parish priest of Holy Innocent Parish, Amagunze, Nkanu East, Very Rev. Fr. Sylvester Nwodo, lamented the continued attack on priests, and said that the diocese had convened again within a short period of time to bid farewell to another priest.
“Fr. Paul, since his ordination in August, 1999, has worked vigorously in many dioceses and also held high positions in the diocese and denary, where he worked. Our diocese is in great mourning. Today, we have convened again in short time to bid farewell to another great apostle of our diocese, who have died in the hands of Fulani herdsmen”, he said.
Also in attendance were Bishop of Awgu diocese, Bishop Ifeanyichukwu John Okoye; Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Godfrey Onah; and other Bishops. Deputy Governor of Enugu state, Barr Cecelia Ezeilo; Hon. Dennis Amadi and chairmen of the 17 local government areas of the state.