Ondo church massacre: UN makes demand from Nigerian govt

The High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC), Mr Miguel Moratinos, has called on all governments to support the implementation of the Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites to keep worshippers safe.

Moratinos made the appeal in the light of the attack on St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria, during the Pentecost mass on Sunday.

In a statement on Tuesday, Moratinos called for mutual respect of all religions and faiths and for fostering a culture of fraternity and peace.

Moratinos recalled the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites, developed by UNAOC, and appealed to all governments and relevant stakeholders to support its implementation.

The high representative also invited the global youth and faith communities to join UNAOC’s global call to action #forSafeWorship to contribute to celebrating the universality of religious sites as symbols of our shared humanity, history and traditions.

Also, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has condemned “in the strongest terms” the killings of innocent worshippers in a Catholic church in Owo, which left over 49 people dead and wounded dozens more.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Guterres described the attack as “heinous”, as worshippers gathered on Sunday to celebrate Pentecost, an important date in the Christian calendar.

According to him, attacks on places of worship are “abhorrent”, urging the Nigerian authorities to spare no effort in bringing those responsible to justice.

To date, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which is considered unusual for Southwest Nigeria.

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