Statement on Mass Shooting in Nigeria

Dear Howard University Community,

I am deeply saddened by the mass shooting at the St. Francis Catholic Church in the Nigerian city of Owo that took place this past Sunday. An attack of this magnitude is always tragic. But when a house of worship, a space created for the glorification of God and the furtherance of peace and love in our world, is tarnished by bloodshed, the tragedy becomes magnified. I know that the hearts and minds of our entire community are with the people of Nigeria as they only to begin to process this devastating calamity. 

Of course, many within our community are intimately affected by this terrible event. Nigerians and people of Nigerian descent have been a part of Howard for generations. These students, staff and faculty members are much beloved and highly appreciated for their passion and service. For all those in our community who have family in Nigeria, who may be in Nigeria right now, or who feel a part of themselves to always be in Nigeria, I hope you know that Howard University is here to support you in whatever way you need.

Our University has a longstanding connection and great deal of affection for the country of Nigeria. We have many highly productive partnerships and programs that send our students to Nigeria to further their educations and expand their service. During difficult times such as these, it is important to reinforce how important these programs are to us. We will continue to engage with the country to the mutual benefit of our University and Nigeria.

This terrible event serves as a reminder that violence of one form or another is a problem everywhere in the world. Not only does Howard University stand against violence, but the work we do actively pushes against it. When we introduce more justice, greater equality and mutual prosperity; when we help to realize diversity, equity, inclusion and representation; when we uphold our principles of truth and service and insist that they be embraced throughout the globe, then the impulse toward violence begins to wane and a more peaceful world perseveres. 

Once again, let us offer our love and support to those who are feeling the effects of this tragedy. We share the burden of your grief and pledge to remember your pain so that we may work together to prevent further anguish and suffering.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
Charles R. Drew Professor of Surgery