The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has condemned the last weekend’s attack on worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, which led to the gruesome killing of many, including women and children.
In a statement made available to GBETU, signed by his Special Adviser on Media Projects, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, the governor said the mindless act tilted the scale in the nation’s war against terror.
He said, “I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on innocent people in St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, which led to the gruesome killing of many, including women and children.
“This mindless act committed in a church where many gathered to seek spiritual solace and worship God has tilted the scale in our nation’s war against terror.
“I commiserate with families that lost loved ones in this act of shame which has never before been heard of in the history of Owo, a quiet and peaceful town with inextricable ties with the people of Edo State.”
Obaseki further noted, “I also express my condolences to my colleague, the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, as well as all the people of Ondo State. Let me assure you all that in this dark and desperate time in our history as one people separated by a very intangible geographical boundary, you are not alone.
“You can count on our prayers, support, and cooperation as we all wade through this tough time together, as we take steps to ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are apprehended and that this cowardly act of terror is never perpetrated in our land ever again.
“Please accept my most heartfelt condolences.”
Chief Emeka Igwe of Akwa North and South Federal Constituency, have condemned the attack in strong terms.
”With a heart filled with grief, I join millions of Nigerian citizens to condemn in strong terms, the despicable attack by Unknown Bandits at the Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state during which scores of innocent people lost their lives.
”The rate at which insecurity has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society has become so alarming and very annoying that government institutions charged with security administration should really change the strategy that is not working.
”While I pray that the soul of the deceased find rest in the bossom of the Almighty, I also urge the security agencies to deploy a rapid response strategy apprehend, prosecute and serve justice to the perpetrators.”
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has identified with his Ondo state counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, over the gruesome killing of his kinsmen on Sunday.
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The Governor said Owo, the hometown of Governor Akeredolu has suddenly become the epic centre of terrorist attacks just like Guma local government area in Benue state has constantly been invaded by terrorists.
“I identify and share in this grief with my brother, Governor Akeredolu over the unprovoked massacre of his kinsmen inside the Church,” Ortom said, as quoted in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Nathaniel Ikyur.
“I have suffered similar attacks and the loss of my kindred at the hands of these terrorists. I was personally attacked on my farm sometime last year by Fulani herdsmen. Till date, none of those arrested has been prosecuted. And these terrorists have continued killing our people in various communities without any arrest.
“I can say that the Owo murderous act, like the continued invasion of communities in Guma and other local government areas in the state is more than mere coincidence that Governor Akeredolu and myself are targeted for attacks and threat of assassination because of our resolve to enact the open grazing prohibition law. It is the decision of the people of the state that this law will never be altered or revoked.”
The Governor added: “Is it not curious that this dastard killing in Owo is coming a few days after the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, while addressing Fulani at its headquarters rained curses on some state governors whom, he claimed, chased Fulani pastoralists away from their states using state systems? This was immediately after its policy dialogue on the Future of Fulani in Abuja with delegates from 16 African countries.”
Governor Ortom lamented: “We have been marked for elimination because of our resolve for the sanctity of the Open Grazing Prohibition And Ranches Establishment Law. Our decision is because we believe in a decent society where respect for human rights and rule of law is supreme which the terrorists and their sponsors feel otherwise.”
The Governor insisted that “given the lukewarm attitude of the federal government towards the bloodletting going on in every community in the country, it is obvious that they are complicit in the atrocities being visited on Nigerians. This is unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”
He maintained: “I will not be intimidated to abandon my people. I have resolved to defend my people even with the last pint of my blood,” the Governor said.
He urged Akeredolu to stand firm for his people believing that the days of the evil men are numbered.
Ortom said while the security operatives are encouraged to continue to protect lives and property, the unabating security challenges demand that citizens should rise up to defend themselves forthwith.
Also, the Ilaje League of Professionals (ILP) have joined millions of people across the world to condemn in strongest terms, the atrocious killing of worshippers in Owo Kingdom.
”We are calling on the federal government and the security agencies not to allow this sad event to go without bringing the perpetrators to book. We should all not cower to the whims of elements who lurk in darkness to unleash inconceivable wickedness on our people. We believe in the leadership of Mr. Governor and his resolve to keep ondo state safe, and no amount of intimidation will stop him from achieving a safe and secure ondo state.
We ILP as a body stand in utter solidarity with the people of Owo and Ondo state in this terrible moment.” A stament signed by Benson Obayelu
Meanwhile Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Aketi, SAN, has directed all public buildings, facilities and official residences to fly the Nigerian flag at half -mast for seven days in honour of the victims of the Owo terror attack on Sunday.
The Governor said: ”Those who unleashed this unprovoked terror attack on our people have tested our collective resolves. We will not be deterred in responding appropriately to this dastardly act.
“In honour of the victims of this unfortunate attack, I hereby direct that all flags be flown at half-mast for seven days, starting from today, Monday, June 6, to Sunday, June 12, 2022. It is a collective loss to the people of our dear state.”