The Emir of Suleija, Malam Awal Ibrahim, was yesterday booed by worshippers during the mass burial of victims of the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State. The service, which held at the Catholic Church, was attended by thousands of people from within and outside the country. A suicide bomber of the Boko Haram sect had, on December 25, 2011, detonated a bomb at the church, killing scores of worshippers including women and children. At the funeral mass organised by the Catholic Diocese of Minna, 18 victims of the blast were buried, amidst wailing and tears, within the premises of the church.
Trouble started when the monarch, who arrived late for the service, attempted to disembark from his vehicle with a retinue of his aides. As soon as the emir and his entourage drove into the church, some youths and worshippers who could not find space inside the auditorium started complaining about his presence. To avoid any unpleasant encounter, the monarch remained inside the vehicle until his presence was announced by the moderator of the service. “I wish to also announce the presence of the Emir of Suleja, Malam Awal Ibrahim,” the moderator said. Once the announcement was made, worshippers within and outside the church thundered, “No! No! No! No!”
The situation within and outside the auditorium became so charged that the Bishop of Minna Diocese, Most Rev. Martin Uzoukwu, who also served as chief mourner at the service, held the floor to address the worshippers.