Ondo First Lady visits St Francis Church, hospitalized victims of Owo attack

..Provides Support to church and survivors

The First Lady of Ondo State, Her Excellency, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has paid a condolence visit to St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State where 40 worshippers were brutally murdered and countless others wounded by gunmen during the Sunday mass of June 5, 2022.

Arabinrin Akeredolu who presented financial support to the church and survivors noted she shared very close ties with St. Francis.

Mrs Akeredolu signing the condolence register at the church’s premises

During the Mother’s Day celebration held on Sunday 24th April 2022, Chief Anyanwu-Akeredolu was conferred as Humanity Member of CWO, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Owo by the women of the church.

The First Lady of Ondo State condemned the attack on innocent worshippers on the 5th of June as horrible, horrendous and incomprehensible

The visibly emotional First Lady encouraged the survivors of the attack to get psycho-social support to aid their recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other related trauma.

The First Lady at Children’s ward where young victims were admitted

He said the patients were admitted to three different hospitals in the state – The FMC Owo, St Louis Hospital and Jonabet Hospital, a private hospital.

Speaking during the First Lady’s visit to Federal Medical Center (FMC) Owo, Dr Oladele Ayodeji, the Head of the Emergency Operating Center in charge of the response to mass casualties of the church attack said that there were a total of 131 victims.

Providing a breakdown of the statistics he said “Presently there are no patients in Jonabet, there are eight patients in St Louis Hospital and we have 33 patients currently on admission at FMC Owo.

“The patients are doing well and improving. A few of them will be going home today.”

Ayodeji hailed the Arabinrin Akeredolu’s visit describing it as an encouragement to the patients. He noted that he was certain the spirits of the survivors were lifted by the visit.

The Ondo First Lady consoling the victim who lost her two legs to the incident

Speaking, the Parish Priest of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Rev. Father Vincent Anabi described the church as passing through a “period of pain”. He deeply appreciated those who came to the condone with the church, especially the First Lady.

“Her husband has been up and doing since the incident not just as a Governor but you can see that he is a father. The First Lady coming proves that both of them have the same heart in tending to issues that attend to human life in the state.

“The First Lady visited the church a month ago during Mother’s Day, she was well received and everyone had a good time. No one would have envisioned that over a month later she will come here to grieve with us.

“It is something that calls to us for constant consciousness because it could have happened the day she was here. God has a purpose, right now I’m devastated,” he said.

The Parish Priest noted that survivors of the massacre have begun psychotherapy as part of the recovery process from the trauma of the incident. He noted the priests of the church will also partake in therapy and counselling because the “trauma from the incident runs deep.”

Mrs Susan Obi, the President of the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), of St Francis Catholic Church, Owo described the First Lady as a member of the church. She noted that Anyanwu-Akeredolu was conferred with an honorary award over a month ago during Mother’s Day celebration in the church.

At the male ward

“For four or five years I have been working with the First Lady alongside some other female members of our church. She has been a mother to us. Though she has not been around, when she heard about the incident, she called and sent her condolences. Immediately after she returned from her trip, she came to see the congregants and the priests.

Obi described the attack as very traumatic, revealing that she and other congregants were in the building during the shooting. She noted said the church set up a committee to assist church members physically affected by the attack.

“I’m a member of the committee. We come to the hospitals to help them with provisions and necessary drugs that they need.

“The Governor has tried and he has shown truly that he is a father. All the medical treatment they are receiving here is free though there are some medications that the hospital does not have that the church will have to buy,” Obi said.

Story Credit: Oluwatobiloba Fademi

Press Secretary, Office of the First Lady

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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