Mourners on Wednesday unleashed their anger on the Emir of Suleija, Alhaji Awal Ibrahim, at the funeral mass held for victims of the Christmas Day bomb explosion as they prevented him from entering the church.
Report says the Emir arrived the venue (St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State) at about 11.00am for the service that started at 10.00 a.m., but was embarrassed by the congregation as they shouted “No, no. We don’t want him here.”
Despite the intervention of some priests, the monarch was not allowed into the church to make any speech. He was later driven off amidst tight security.
Reacting to this, the Niger State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Musa Dada, said the Emir should have been forgiven.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Deputy Chaplain of the Aso Rock Chapel, Pastor Abba Mschelia, maintained that the government will see the end of Boko Haram. Besides, he promised more changes in the security agencies.
According to him, “When the bomb incident happened I was told that the Emir neither came nor sent anybody to the church about three days after until when the government queried him to explain why he refused to visit the church and sympathise with the victims.
“Although I don’t know his response but I understand he was given 24 hours to respond why he didn’t show that he was their Emir and royal father and didn’t bother to ascertain what had happened to them.
“This could be the reason why they (congregation) didn’t want him to be here. It is even better that he is not here; if he is here it would have been a very terrible embarrassment.
“He however later came to apologise and when cheques were presented to relations of victims, he was here to apologise for his inability to visit on time.”
However, it was a day of great anguish as weeping, sobbing, crying filled the event.
Some men covered their faces with their hands – in shame that this happened – and troubled women, held firmly by relatives, created a moving scene – after realising that the end had, indeed, come for their fellow parishioners at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church.
In all, 17 bodies were buried in a row of graves in the church’s premises.