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13th Jun 2022

Local bishop criticises Michael D. Higgins’ statement following Nigerian church shooting

Hugh Carr

micheal d higgins statement

The bishop described Higgins’ statement as “incorrect and far-fetched”.

The Bishop of Owo in Nigeria has criticised Irish President Michael D. Higgins following a statement in response to a massacre in a local church this month.

40 people were shot dead in St Francis Catholic Church in Owo last Tuesday (7 June), and eighty-seven were injured.

“As President of Ireland, and on behalf of the people of Ireland, may I express my deepest condolences to the families of all those killed and injured in Owo District of Nigeria in the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, as they marked Pentecost Sunday,” Higgins said.

“That such an attack was made in a place of worship is a source of particular condemnation, as is any attempt to scapegoat pastoral peoples who are among the foremost victims of the consequences of climate change.

“The neglect of food security issues in Africa, for so long has brought us to a point of crisis that is now having internal and regional effects based on struggles, ways of life themselves.

“The solidarity of us all, as peoples of the world, is owed to all those impacted not only by this horrible event but in the struggle by the most vulnerable on whom the consequences of climate change have been inflicted.”

Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade thanked Higgins for the condolences, but strongly criticised aspects of the statement, describing the sentiments as “incorrect and far-fetched.”

“To suggest or make a connection between victims of terror and consequences of climate change is not only misleading but also exactly rubbing salt to the injuries of all who have suffered terrorism in Nigeria,” the bishop said.

“The victims of terrorism are of another category to which nothing else can be compared!

“It is very clear to anyone who has been closely following the events in Nigeria over the past few years that the underpinning issues of terrorist attacks, banditry, and unabated onslaught in Nigeria and in the Sahel region and climate change have nothing in common.”

Ayodeji Arogundade said such statements were “deflections from the truth”.

You can read the full statement from the Bishop here.

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