The Lagos State Police Command has confirmed the shooting of the Parish Priest of St. Thomas Catholic Church, Onilekere, Cement in Lagos State, Rev. Fr. Daniel Nwankwo, in the early hours of Friday.
As earlier reported, Father Nwankwo was shot by the gunmen shortly after the early morning mass.
The shooting, according to the police, occurred at about 8:30am.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the Command, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, the gunmen had also attended the morning mass, which started at about 6:30am.
They thereafter requested to have a dialogue with Nwankwo, who heads the parish.
Famous-Cole said: “The Rev Father who unsuspectingly granted the hoodlums an audience outside the church auditorium for a yet to be determined reason was shot at by one of the hoodlums who spoke fluently in igbo language with a locally made pistol.
“After the incident the Rev Father raised alarm, while the hoodlums jumped the fence and escaped towards an adjoining canal. The Rev Father was immediately taken to LASUTH for medical attention where he is currently been treated and is under stable conditions.”
The State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, was at the scene and spoke with a witness who confirmed that three assailant of Igbo background, who were not known to be members of the church, were seen having a conversation with Nwankwo before he was shot.
Edgal, according to Famous-Cole, has also visited Nwankwo, spoke directly with him and confirmed that the Reverend Father is being given adequate medical care and recuperating fast.
The CP also immediately ordered a crack team of detectives and operational officers from the police command to fish out the attackers.
Five suspects were said to have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Father Nwankwo.
They are undergoing interrogation, Famous-Cole said.
He added: The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State is advising Lagosians to be vigilant and security conscious at this time and must identify and report any strange faces and suspicious movement.
“He has also ordered the deployment of static police guard and instructed the Area Commanders and DPOs to provide static police guard on 24 hours basis in all churches and mosque across the state instead of only on Fridays and Sundays like it has been done in the past.
“Edgal Imohimi has also assured Lagosians that every asset of the police command will be deployed to make sure these hoodlums that made an attempt on the Rev. Father’s life will be arrested and brought to book.”
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