Nigerian-American lawyer and human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe told Spero News that a Mass was held to commemorate Nigerians murdered by a Muslim terrorist car bomb in 2012. In an emailed statement, Ogebe wrote “We had a remarkable service on Sunday (ed. March 16) worshipping in a memorial Mass at St Finbarr's Catholic Church that was bombed 2 years ago in which 6 Boy Scouts and 7 church members were killed.” The parish is located in the Rayfield neighborhood of Jos, a city in Plateau State in northern Nigeria that has seen frequent bombings and bloodshed in the ongoing civil war in the oil rich nation.
St. Finbarr’s pastor, Father Peter Umoren, told the press after the 2012 explosion, “Just barely 10 minutes into the Mass, I heard these blasts... and there was this chaos and the people were finding their way out of the church."
Ogebe continued, “The Boy Scouts gave their lives protecting more people from being killed. The priest gave us an opportunity to speak to the congregation and share with them about the UNfair campaign.”
It was on Sunday, February 26, 2012, when a car rigged with explosives was detonated by its driver at the gate outside of St. Finbarr's parish church while the congregation was gathered for worship. Witnesses said that the suicide bomber had refused to open the trunk of his car when challenged at the gates. He detonated the explosives when worshippers approached him. Boko Haram, a Nigerian Muslim terrorist organization, did not initially claim responsibility for the deadly attack. However, the group said it was behind a similar attack on a church in January 2012. The group is seeking the Islamization of Nigeria, including the imposition of Muslim religious law.
Ogebe attended the memorial Mass at which survivors, and family members of the deceased, were present. Several Masses were celebrated to accommodate the throngs of worshippers. “We met with family members afterwards at the monument in their children's honor. The saddest thing for me, I think was the fact that when we were coming into the service, we were frisked by a boy scout who looked no more than 7 years old. The youngest killed in the bombing was just 10. During the third mass of the morning, it was Girls Scouts manning the church gates. Sadly, this continues to remain the last line of defense protecting the church.”
A frequent traveler to Nigeria, Ogebe was accompanied by fellow activist Ian Kitterman, who represented Solidarity with the Pilgrim Church.
(Photo credit: Teyei Pam, Jubilee Campaign)
Speaking recently in Nigeria, Ogebe has briefed local media on the plight of victims of Muslim terror. He has denounced the Nigerian federal government’s apparent inability to come to the aid of the victims of Muslim terrorist. Ogebe said that approximately 6 million people have been affected by the terror campaign. Moreover, he said, Nigeria has become a net exporter of its own people in the form of refugees fleeing to neighboring countries.
Jubilee Campaign, a Human Rights Group, is part of the Washington Working Group coalition pushing for the UN to repay $30 million spent by the government of Nigeria in rebuilding the UN office facilities destroyed in the city of Abuja by Boko Haram attack in August 2011. The government of Nigeria has not rebuilt the hundreds of churches destroyed by Boko Haram in its 10 years of terror. The groups says with its ‘UN-fair’ campaign that the UN should reimburse the cost of rebuilding the UN facility by establishing a victim compensation fund. A letter to this effect has been sent by the group to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in January 2014.