Church still full two years after massacre

Margaret Attah receiving ACN's first ever 'Courage to be a Christian' award in London in November 2023. (Photo: Aid to the Church in Need)

A terror attack on a church in south-west Nigeria has not dampened the faith of its congregation as worshippers continue to fill the pews two years on.

Forty-one worshippers were killed and over 70 injured in the attack on St Francis Xavier's Catholic Church, Owo, during a Pentecost Sunday mass on 5 June 2022. 

The anniversary is being marked today with a special mass and a talk on martyrdom. Despite the trauma of the attack, attendance at the church has not been affected. 

Margaret Attah, a nurse who became wheelchair-bound after losing both legs and an eye in the attack, told Aid to the Church in Need that there was a lot of fear in the community because of the ongoing threat of attacks and kidnappings, and that many Christians are "afraid to leave their homes". 

"There is no peace of mind. We cannot sleep with our two eyes closed. We cannot even travel short distances without fear," she said. 

Despite this, she continues to thank God and says that "the church is always full on Sundays – to God be the glory".

Fr Michael Abugan, parish priest of St Francis Xavier, praised survivors of the attack for being "very resolute, very committed, very resilient in their practice of faith".

ACN is financially supporting survivors, including funding for prosthetic legs for Mrs Attah. 

Despite her life-changing injuries, Mrs Attah said she had forgiven her attackers: "I pray to God to forgive me my own sins, so likewise I have to forgive others."

She said that the only hope for Nigeria was prayer and that she was trusting God with the future of the country. 

"We have to continue to pray to God that his Kingdom should come," she said. 

"It is only God's Kingdom that can reign in Nigeria – that is the only way we can have peace."

Republished from Christian Today UK.