Contrary to claims that the parish priest, Reverend Father Mike Bonni Bazah of the bombed St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero area of Kaduna metropolis was dead, he is very much alive, recovering fast on his hospital bed. Speaking to Daily Sun yesterday, Father Bazah said he emphasized on the gospel message last Sunday which was about the need to forgive one another and remain firm and unshaken in the face of adversity of any sort in the journey of life on earth.
“We believe in faith all the time as Christians, and even the sermon I was preaching was all about the need for forgiveness, pray for your enemies and those who prosecute us, and all that. But you see, as Christians, it will always be our line of thought, a kind of shock absorber that will sustain our faith continuously in order to withstand any form of tribulation in our Christian lives.” Rev. Father Bazah also shared his experience of the blast, noting that he was able to witness part of the church wall crumbling, and quickly alerted the church members, particularly the choir members since the wall was falling from that side of the church.
“We went through the rites of mass, up to the final part where we were ready to receive the Holy Communion. We had shared the sign of peace, so I went to the tabernacle to bring out the Holy Communion for distribution, and that is when I heard the bang and saw the fence falling, so I was trying to alert the choir members because it came from that angle, that they should watch out, something is happening behind them. But before I could finish speaking out, I heard a loud sound, and the roof fell on us.
From that point, I don’t remember what happened again because there was confusion here and there, people were running out, helter-skelter, tramping on one and another. “So all I noticed was that blood was flowing all over me, completely dripped with blood. I thought that my left eye was blown off because I was covered in blood, I could not see, and so, some of my parishioners came around me and assisted me out, it was not easy because everybody was rushing out. I was a bit conscious so, I was able to direct them to take my car key from my pocket. They drove me to the hospital in my own car.
“My survival was miraculous because when you see a situation around you, people dying in your presence, some are oozing out blood. I had actually thought that I lost all my blood, but after 24 hours I was able to talk. The incident had only strengthened my faith, it has made me to sojourn on for Christ, I will continue to be the priest of the parish, and I will not give up “We always have the Catholic cadets in place, they were the only security agencies you could notice around, even when we were going to the church in the morning, they have barricaded the road from both sides of the church. Apart from the Catholic cadets, I didn’t see any other security personnel.
So, that is why I was disappointed this morning because when I saw newspapers’ review, I saw military and policemen all over the place, but up to the time I was taken to the hospital, there was no single policeman or soldier, but much later they came around.
“We have been told time and again that security men are being attached to churches, and up to last Sunday, we have always had two to three policemen in the church.” Father Bazah said. One of the survivors, Vista Okoh, also collaborated the priest’s Sunday homily, saying that he emphasized on faith and healing having taken the gospel reading from St. Mark 10: 40-52 where a blind beggar named Bartimaeus simply pleaded with Jesus to restore his sight, and he was immediately healed based on his faith.
Okoh noted that it was based on this biblical message and miracle that Father Bazah urged the worshippers never to give up praying to God since nothing is impossible before God. “So, I see this message as a shock absorber for many of us to have survived the bomb blast.”
NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna