10th June, 2022
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has faulted claim by the Federal Government that terror group, Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) is behind last Sunday’s terror attack at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State in which at least 40 worshippers were killed.
Rauf Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior, had told journalists at the end of Thursday’s National Security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Thursday that the imprint of ISWAP has been found on the scene of the attack.
According to him, the brutal attack on innocent worshippers was meant to cause social discontent and ethno-religious conflict among Nigerians.
“The Council is quite concerned about the violent attack in Owo, Ondo State. We have been able to locate the imprints of the perpetrators of that attack and from all indications, we are zeroing in on the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).
“It is not an ethno-religious thing. The ISWAP members wanting attention and recognition are suspected to have carried out that attack and we have directed all the agencies concerned to go after them and bring them to justice,” Aregbesola who briefed newsmen alongside Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, said
But speaking during a virtual interaction with a Swiss-based Christian human rights Organisation, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) on Friday, Akeredolu was the Federal Government was too hasty in reaching conclusion about the brains behind the deadly attack.
Akeredolu said he took the conclusion with a pinch of salt because ISWAP are known for claiming responsibility for their attacks.
He said: ”The statement is too hasty. I take their conclusion with a pinch of salt. ISWAP don’t hide their attacks. If they have done it, they would have owned up. We are yet to know their identity and our security people are still on their trail.”
The Governor, who said the attack was a crime against humanity, stressed that the Southwest region has been a peaceful haven before the horrific attack.
He said despite the attack on the psyche of the people, the people of the state are indomitable and ready to fight insecurity.
The Governor also reiterated the call for state police, noting that the time for state police is now.
He emphasised that the present security architecture of the country can not provide adequate security of lives and property.
“A single police command can not guarantee safety in this country. We must have state police now. We are doing our best with Amotekun. But Amotekun is suffering a lot of limitations in getting all the equipment needed to fight these criminals.
The Governor commended the international community for their prompt reactions on the killings in Owo, saying it was unprecedented.
Akeredolu disclosed that government is determined to help victims of the attack, particularly those who lost their loved ones and those on admission in the hospital.