From Maurice Okafor Enugu
The remains of slain Catholic priest, Rev Father Paul Offu was finally committed to earth yesterday within the prrmises of Catholic Holy Ghost Cathedral Ogbete Enugu,after after a special church service, which was attended by Governor Ugwuanyi and several other dignitaries.
Offu was murdered three weeks ago along Ihe-Awgu road in Enugu state while he was on missionary work by miscreants who wanted to kidnap him.
Speaking earlier before the service to bid Fr Offu farewell, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev Bishop Calistus Onaga disclosed that, “the death of Fr Paul had sent a message not just to us, Enugu state but to the whole of Nigeria and the world.”
He urged the faithful and the country to realise that the responsibility of security to the state and Nigeria is not just of those in power but all of us.
While commending the governor and security agencies on their effort so far to arrest the killer herdsmen, Bishop Onaga pointed out that God answered the pray of Christians who prayed without season.
Onaga, who urged the faithful to leave a holy life and believe in God the creator, prayed for a peaceful repose and appealled that God may receive his soul.
Bishop O.naga while commending Gov Ugwuanyi on his commitment to tackle insecurity in the state, urged the priests to contribute their own quarter to ensure that the menace is solved. He also urged the priests and faithful to avoid movement on the street after 6pm.
“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 prayer. 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 the whole 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”, He said.
During a sermon, the Parish Priest of Holy Innocent Parish, Amagunze, Nkanu East, Very Rev. Fr. Sylvester Nwodo lamented the continues attack on the priests, saying that the diocese has convened again within a short period of time to bid farewell to another priest.
He said that the priest before his sudden death in the hands of Fulani herdsmen was “an active pastoral, a game changer, a charisma and a soul winner to God.”
He also said that the gathering was an opportunity to honour a great man, heal the broken hearts and to give hope according to the book of Ecclesiastes.
Fr. Nwodo who said that the death of Paul has propelled the state government effort on security, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for the effort in tackling the insecurity.
“Fr Paul since his ordination in August 1999, has worked vigorously in many diocese and also held capacity positions in the diocese and deanary 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 was a game changer even at the death, he revolutionalised the effort of state government on security”, He said.
In attendance are Bishop of Awgu diocese, Bishop Ifeanyuchukwu John okoye, who offered prayers for the peaceful repose of the soul of Fr Paul offu, Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Godfrey Onah and other Bishops, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, his deputy, Hon Dennis Amadi and Chairman of the 17 local government Areas of the state.