11th August, 2022
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to compensate the Fulani residents of Ondo State for the losses they suffered in the reprisal attack which followed massacre of worshippers at a Owo Catholic Church.
MURIC said this in a statement issued by it director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday commending security agencies for the arrest of those behind the Owo church massacre, which claimed about 40 lives.
He noted that the Nigerian Army arrested suspected terrorists who attacked over 40 churchgoers at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, on Sunday, June 5.
But he added that it was interesting that none of the attackers was a Fulani man, contrary to the general belief that the attackers were Fulani people.
“However, it is interesting to discover that contrary to the gargantuan mountain of blame heaped on Fulani herders over the attack, none of those arrested was a Fulani man. Rather, they are all from Okene, Kogi State.
“For instance, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu blamed the trilogy of Fulani, bandits and ISWAP. The U.S Institute, Knoxville News Sentinel, swallowed Akeredolu’s bait by accusing the Nigerian Government of shielding herdsmen involved in the attack on worshippers in Owo church.
“The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) was not left out as it blamed Fulani terrorists and accused FG of shielding herdsmen by accusing ISWAP of the horrendous attack.
“Next came the Yoruba Alliance who said that President Muhammadu Buhari should be held responsible saying he invited Fulani terrorists from across Africa into Nigeria,” he said.
“Also the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) linked the attack to ‘Fulani terrorists. Even Nairaland’s online media came out with a screaming headline, ‘Fulani terrorists behind Owo Church attack Arrested’.
“But surprisingly, none of those arrested is a Fulani as announced and paraded by the army on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
“We recall the spontaneous attacks on Northerners and their property immediately after the church massacre, particularly in Ogwatoghose and Ikare areas of Ondo State. Now we can all see that the wrong and innocent people were attacked while the criminals got away.”
Akintola urged the Ondo State Government to compensate the victims of the reprisal attacks caused by the wrong accusation of the Fulani people for the attack.
“It behoves Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu to appease the Fulani victims of the reprisal attacks. Those who lost property should be compensated. Some form of relief should also be provided for families of those who were killed among them.
“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to be circumspect, to avoid jumping to conclusions and, most importantly, to stop ethnic profiling and hasty judgement. There are criminals in all tribes just as there are decent people everywhere. Tribes do not commit a crime. It is individuals who do.
“MURIC commends the security agencies for unmasking those behind the massacre. Their task was herculean, yet they did Nigeria proud by getting results within a reasonable time. They proved beyond any reasonable doubt that no arm of the security agencies is sleeping.
“We charge cynics to rekindle the fire of hope in Nigeria. We will get positive results if our attitude to our soldiers, the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) is positive. We can only reap what we sow. The security agencies need our cooperation because they are not magicians. They need information,” he said.