Two years on, terrorists suspected of murdering more than 40 worshippers during Pentecost Sunday Mass in south-west Nigeria still have not been charged, but parishioners’ faith is stronger than ever, say local sources.

Father Michael Abugan – parish priest at St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church, Owo where the massacre took place – told  Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the suspects are in police custody but have not yet been brought before a court.

On 5th June 2022, extremists opened fire and detonated explosives inside the church at the end of Mass, killing 41 people and injuring more than 70.

Father Abugan said his parish will be commemorating the second anniversary of the massacre with a special Mass and a talk on martyrdom.

The priest added that the survivors have been “very resolute, very committed, very resilient in their practice of faith” since the attack.

Nurse Margaret Attah – who lost both legs and an eye in the atrocity and has been in a wheelchair since then – told ACN that despite the widespread fear in the community, “the church is always full on Sundays – to God be the glory”.

Mrs Attah said that “there is tension everywhere in Nigeria”, with many people “afraid to leave their homes” because kidnapping is common in parts of the country.

She added: “There is no peace of mind. We cannot sleep with our two eyes closed.

“We cannot even travel short distances without fear. But we still thank God.”

She stressed that prayer was people’s only hope, and “the future of the country is only God”.

She added: “We have to continue to pray to God that his Kingdom should come.

“It is only God’s Kingdom that can reign in Nigeria – that is the only way we can have peace.”

Despite the lack of justice, Mrs Attah said that she “found it very easy to forgive the attackers”, explaining: “I pray to God to forgive me my own sins, so likewise I have to forgive others.”

ACN has provided some financial support to the survivors of the attack, including Mrs Attah, and approved funding for a memorial site honouring the victims.

Mrs Attah said that the help she received has brought her closer to obtaining prosthetic legs which will enable her to walk again.

She concluded: “I want to thank ACN’s benefactors. I pray that God will continue to bless all of you.”