Gunmen invade Lagos Catholic Church, shoot priest

Three gunmen posing as worshippers yesterday invaded St. Thomas’ Catholic Church, Onilekere, Ikeja, shooting the parish priest, Rev. Daniel Nwankwo at close range.

The incident occurred around 8:30am, shortly after the priest concluded the day’s morning mass.

The gunmen were said to have approached the priest and demanded audience with him, a request his granted without suspicion.

But as soon as Nwankwo followed them outside the church auditorium, one of the hoodlums, who allegedly spoke fluent Igbo language, opened fire on him.

It was gathered that his alleged attackers, who were armed with locally-made pistols, scaled the fence into a nearby canal as soon as the priest raised the alarm.

The Nation gathered that the acting Police Commissioner Imohimi Edgal led some policemen to the scene and assured worshipers that the culprits would be fished out.

According to the Command’s spokesman, Olarinde Famous-Cole, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) five suspects have already been arrested in connection with the crime and were being interrogated.

Famous-Cole dispelled rumours that the priest was killed, adding that he was recuperating at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

He said: “The priest was immediately taken to LASUTH for medical attention where he is currently being treated and is under stable. The CP has visited the priest to ensure he was being given adequate treatment. He also spoke with him

“Yes the CP was at the scene and he spoke with some witnesses, who said the assailants were three and all Igbos.

“The witnesses said the assailants were not known to be members of the church. They said they were having a conversation with the priest before he was shot.

“CP Edgal has deployed a crack team of detectives and operational officers to the scene and all areas leading to the canal, where the suspects were said to have ran towards.

“Already, five suspects have been arrested in connection with the crime and they are being interrogated.

“The CP is advising residents to be vigilant and security conscious at this time. He appealed that strange and suspicious faces, movements be promptly reported to the police.

“He has also ordered the deployment of static police guards in all churches and mosques across the state. Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) have been directed to provide 24 hours daily static police guard at churches and mosques.”

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