Call For Self-Defence: FG Should Accept Inevitability Of State Police – Ondo Govt

Suspected terrorists abducted an unspecified number of traders travelling along the Kaduna- Birnin Gwari Road
A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

The call for self-defence by the Zamfara State government has again emphasised the importance of establishing a state police to adequately tackle the insecurity bedevilling various parts of the country, the Ondo State government has said.

Dr Doyin Odebowale, who is Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s aide on Special Duties and Strategy, made this known in a statement on Tuesday on behalf of the government.

According to him, the call by the Zamfara State government for citizens to arm themselves has shown the loss of confidence in the current security arrangement in the country.

Stressing that this poses a grave danger to the polity, the governor’s aide decried the increasing inability of state governments to protect their citizens in the wake of assaults by terrorists and bandits.

He believes there is a lack of trust between the states and the Federal Government on one hand, and the people have found themselves in a helpless situation on the other.

Odebowale said Governor Akeredolu has commended the courage of his Zamfara counterpart, Bello Matawalle, in his bid to confront the security challenges in his state using a pragmatic approach.

He accused the Federal Government of denying exigent regional security outfits the right to bear firearms, saying the security agencies in the country were overwhelmed and distracted.

The governor’s aide, therefore, asked the Federal Government to accept the inevitability of the establishment of state police to adequately tackle the security threats in the country.

Read the full statement below:

The press statement released by the Ministry of Information of the Zamfara State Government on the need for citizens to arm themselves for self-defence, among others, confirms the pervasive loss of confidence in the current security arrangement in the country.

It signals a situation of near- capitulation on the part of the security agencies centrally controlled by the Federal Government. It portends great danger for the polity.

It is a sad commentary on the increasing inability and impotence of the Zamfara State Government, and other States, to protect their citizens in the wake of relentless and mindless assaults by terrorists and bandits.

It suggests a total lack of trust between the State Government and Federal Government on one hand, and the helpless and hopeless situation in which the people have found themselves concerning the security of lives, on the other.

The stark reality confronting the people of Zamfara leaves the Government with no esoteric option but to lean heavily on the current arrangement.

The Government and the people of Zamfara State have been pushed to the wall. The feeling of despondency is pervasive in the land. We must, however, advise caution.

The directive of the State Governor to the Commissioner of Police to issue licenses to qualified citizens to bear arms in the defence of their immediate environments and the State, in general, is commendable.

But the NSA and Inspector General of Police may have to issue licenses to possess a certain category of arms. No such licenses have been issued to individuals since 2007 while those which existed had been revoked.

Therefore, this directive, attractive and compelling in the current circumstances, may be stifled by existing federal arrangements.

The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, commends the boldness of his brother Governor, Bello Matawalle, in his bid to confront the security challenges in his State, adopting a pragmatic approach.

The Governor notes, with great concern, the continued refusal by the Federal Government to grant licenses to security outfits, run by some States, to bear sophisticated firearms capable of restraining, effectively, acts of criminality and brazen impunity with commensurate responses.

The deliberate policy of the Federal Government to deny exigent regional security outfits the right to bear firearms, when it is evident that the security agencies in the country are overwhelmed and distracted by centrifugal forces, is a major factor, among many, exacerbating the current security challenges in the country.

A federal system of government cannot be administered as if the country is a unitary colony, controlled, rigidly, at the centre, while the constituent units are treated as mere outposts.

This fact, coupled with the logic of divergence and rapid growth in population, imposes no other practicable measure on the managers of this country, including our legislators, than to accept the inevitability of the establishment of a State Police.

Dr Doyin Odebowale

SSA, Special Duties & Strategy

Ondo State Government.

Flood Sweeps Student Away In Ondo Community

A map of Ondo, a state in southwest Nigeria.

 

A student of Mount Carmel Girls’ Secondary School in Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, Motunrayo John, has been swept away by flood at a location close to a river called Dada. 

The incident happened after the victim, who is in Junior Secondary School 3, had left the school premises after closing hours. She was said to have dipped her legs into the heavy flood in an attempt to know the depth.

According to an eyewitness account, the victim had lost balance and was already carried away by the flood into the river before help could reach her.

Read Also: President Buhari Sends Ministerial List To Senate For Screening

The spokesperson of Ondo State Police Command, SP Funmilayo Odunlami, confirmed the incident in a telephone conversation with Channels Television.

Odunlami described the incident as very unfortunate, noting that parents and guardians should always caution their children and wards from taking such dangerous acts.

She, however, disclosed that a search and rescue operation for the student has commenced, expressing hope that she would be found.

Owo Attack: We Failed To Defend Victims, Akeredolu Laments At Funeral

The Federal Government has blamed ISWAP for the attack. [email protected] RotimiAkeredolu

 

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State says the government did not do enough to protect victims of the Owo church attack. 

He spoke on Friday during a funeral mass held for the victims of the St. Francis Catholic Church attack.

“We have failed to defend these people. Not because we have not tried. But because these forces on the other side are evil,” the governor said.

Governor Akeredolu noted that “the sight of the victims of the horrendous attack cuts deep in our hearts”.

READ ALSO: Catholic Church Holds Funeral Mass For Members Killed In Owo

The Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, however, said “we take solace in the Divine even as we hold the assurance that light will always prevail in the end. May the souls of the departed requiescat in pace.”

After the funeral mass at the Mydas Event Centre in Owo, families of the victims took the remains of their loved ones for burial.

A former governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, was among the dignitaries that graced the event.

Some clergymen, including Bishop Jude Arogundade of Ondo Catholic Diocese and Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, also attended the funeral.

Over 40 persons were killed in the attack with several others injured.

Catholic Church Announces Date For Mass Burial Of Owo Massacre Victims

Scene of the St Francis Catholic Church, Owo where scores of worshippers were killed in Ondo State on June 5, 2022.

 

The victims of St Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State who were gruesomely murdered on June 5 will be buried this week, Channels Television gathered on Tuesday.

Gunmen suspected to be terrorists had stormed the church nine days ago, killing over 40 worshippers, while injuring several others. The massacre has since been condemned by Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari and many state governors who have called for a probe into the attack.

In a statement, the Catholic Diocese of Ondo said the mass burial for the slain worshippers will hold would hold on Friday, June 17.

The Director of Social Communication of the Diocese of Ondo, Revd. Father Augustine Ikwu told Channels Television in Akure that the mass burial would take place at a new cemetery of the diocese located along Emure-Ile Road in  Owo.

READ ALSO: INEC Promises To Conduct Good Governorship Election In Ekiti

The Diocese and the State government had earlier announced that about 40 people died while several others sustained injuries during the attack on a fateful day.

Some of the injured victims are still receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre and the St. Louis Catholic Hospital both in Owo and some other private hospitals in the state.

Although no one has been arrested in connection with the attack, the police authorities said three unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been recovered from the scene of the Owo church attack.

Force Police Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, noted that police investigators have also recovered “pellets of expended AK-47 ammunition” from the scene.

Condemning the tragic incident, the Inspector-General of Police said full-scale investigations into the incident have been ordered with a view to bringing to book the perpetrators of the gruesome killings.

Meanwhile, governors across the six states in the South-west region have declared three days of mourning for victims of the terror attack at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.

The governors made the decision in a virtual meeting held on Friday to review the state of insecurity in the region.

According to a communique issued after the meeting, the governors condemned the June 5 attack in Owo which claimed at least 40 lives, and scores hospitalised.

“The Governors agreed to declare a 3-day mourning period in memory of the victims of the 5th June 2022 terror attack on St Francis Catholic, Owaluwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, starting from Monday, 13th June, to Wednesday, 15th, June 2022 to symbolise our collective loss across all South Western States in Nigeria,” the communique read in part.

“The meeting agreed that all the Governors should direct the flying of Flags at Half Mast in all public buildings, facilitates and official residences across all the States in the South West in honour of the victims of the Owo terror attack.”

Owo Attack: Akeredolu Extends Mourning Period In Ondo

 

A photo of Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu

 

 

The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has extended the mourning period in the state following the attack on worshippers at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo.

The extension according to the governor is from Monday, June 13 to June 15.

He said the resolution is from the outcome of the meeting of the Southwest Governors’ Forum to observe a 3-day mourning period across all the southwest states.

Governor Akeredolu has also directed that all flags in the state be flown at half-mast for the three days period.

The governor had earlier directed that all flags in the state be flown at half-mast for seven days from Monday, June 6th, to Sunday, June 12th, 2022.

He appreciated his counterparts in the Southwest for the massive love and cooperation showed since the horrendous attack in Owo.

Ondo Govt Cancels June 12 Celebrations Over Owo Attack

A map of Ondo, a state in southwest Nigeria.

 

The Ondo State Government has canceled this year’s June 12 celebrations in the state following an attack on the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo.  

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said this in a tweet on his official handle on Saturday.

“In honour of the victims of the terror attack at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, the Ondo State Government has canceled this year’s June 12 celebration,” the governor tweeted.

“The cancelation is to enable the people of Ondo State to mourn their loved ones who lost their lives in the horrific attack.”


RELATED

Insecurity: Gunmen Kill Four Persons In Ondo

ISWAP Behind Owo Church Attack – National Security Council

Owo AttackDeath Toll Rises To 40, Hospitals Discharge 26

Owo Church Attack: Police Recover Three Unexploded IEDs


Earlier, the governor had faulted the Federal Government for blaming the attack on the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), saying the move was hasty.

A statement from the governor’s media aide Richard Olatunde quoted his principal as saying that the terrorist group could have taken responsibility for the attack if it was behind it.

“The statement is too hasty. I take their conclusion with a pinch of salt. ISWAP don’t hide their attacks,” the governor was quoted as saying during a virtual interaction with a Swiss-based Christian human rights Organisation, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) on Friday.

“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.”

As far as the governor is concerned, the attack which left scores dead and many others injured further heightens the need for state police.

“A single police command can not guarantee safety in this country. We must have state police now,” he said during the meeting.

“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.”

PHOTOS: Soyinka Visits Akeredolu, Says Owo Attack A Message To South West

Soyinka during a visit to Governor Akeredolu on Friday, June 10th, 2022. [email protected]

 

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has described the attack on Owo as a message to the South West. 

Soyinka said this during his condolence visit to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State on Friday following the attack on the St. Francis Catholic Church on Sunday.

“He was targeted and there is no question about that. It was not an accident, and it is passing a message to the rest of us,” Soyinka said according to a statement issued by the governor’s media aide Richard Olatunde.

“That is why I’m here. I want the Governor to know that we have received the message. We understand it and we came to sympathize with him that he was selected as a medium for that message.

“So, the answer we must give to the message we all received is that we are not slaves. Here, on our own soil, having had the experience of a century of disdain, and contempt about us as black people.”


RELATED

Insecurity: Gunmen Kill Four Persons In Ondo

ISWAP Behind Owo Church Attack – National Security Council

Owo Attack: Death Toll Rises To 40, Hospitals Discharge 26

Owo Church Attack: Police Recover Three Unexploded IEDs


 

He said “some characters come along calling themselves whatever, ISWAP, Boko Haram. So, all those groups including those who are just opportunists – the herdsmen – are making a mistake. I want the Governor to realize they are making a mistake.

“I have been on this issue for quite some time. This invasion has been on and these herdsmen are all over the forests. At a time we thought it was Boko Haram, we didn’t know that Fulani herdsmen were capitalising on the fundamentalist insurgency and brutality.

“And that is why we see a nexus of operation between ISWAP, Boko Haram, and Fulani herdsmen. They work singularly, individually and they work collectively. I Know Ondo State has always been at the forefront of awareness.”

On his part, the governor thanked Soyinka for the visit, saying that the state will remain hugely indebted to him.

“It is a cause that he has dedicated his life to, and I thank God for his life. The state wants to appreciate you for finding time to come at this hour of grief.

“This is like a dagger drawn to our heart, and it is an assault on our psyche. The psyche of those of us in the South-West and Western Region,” he said.

“I think they think they can create some fears in us but they made a mistake because this will make us more fierce in our condemnation of their actions. And we are not hiding it.”

See more photos from the visit below:

[email protected]
Soyinka during a visit to Governor Akeredolu on Friday, June 10th, 2022. [email protected]

ISWAP Behind Owo Church Attack – National Security Council 

 

The National security Council has blamed the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) for the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, that led to the death of about 38 persons on June 5.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said this on Thursday while briefing State House Correspondents after the National Security Council meeting in Abuja.

He disclosed that security agencies, particularly the police, have been directed to apprehend the perpetrators. The former governor said the attack has no ethnic-religious connection, affirming that the group’s activity has nothing to do with religion.

The council, according to him, is also concerned about killings in the name of blasphemy and has directed the security agencies to go after perpetrators of the incidents that occurred in Sokoto State and Abuja recently.

Scene of the St Francis Catholic Church, Owo where scores of worshippers were killed in Ondo State on June 5, 2022.

 

Toll Rises


RELATED

Owo Attack: Death Toll Rises To 40, Hospitals Discharge 26

Owo Church Attack: Police Recover Three Unexploded IEDs


The governor had vowed to fish out the attackers.

 

Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba equally noted the imprints of the perpetrators of the Owo killings have been identified and although no arrests have been made, security agencies are now zeroing in on them.

The meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, was held less than a week after scores of persons were killed in the attack and several others wounded.

In a recent meeting, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said 40 persons died in the incident while 26 survivors have been discharged from hospitals in the area.

“The figure I have now shows that 127 persons were involved and that the number of death now is 40. On admission receiving treatment, we have 61. Twenty-six have been discharged,” he said on Wednesday when he hosted Catholic Bishops from the South-West led by Most Reverend Leke Abegunrin.

“Those are the figures we have now from the Commissioner for Health. So, the government is not hiding anything.”

Insecurity: Gunmen Kill Four Persons In Ondo

A graphical illustration of gunmen.

 

Four persons have been reportedly shot dead as gunmen suspected to be cultists and armed robbers attacked the Sabo area of Ondo town in Ondo State.

The gunmen were said to have stormed the Hausa dominated community on Tuesday evening shooting sporadically.

Witnesses say the driver of a J5 bus loaded with tomatoes, coming from Zaria, enroute Ore, was said to have been killed, while his motorboy escaped with gunshot injuries.


Many Feared Dead As Terrorists Attack Catholic Church In Owo, Ondo

Owo Attack: Death Toll Rises To 40, Hospitals Discharge 26


The public relations officer of the Ondo State Police Command, SP Funmilayo Odunlami confirmed the incident in a press statement made available to newsmen in Akure, the state capital.

She disclosed that a motorcyclist and a passerby were also hit by stray bullets.

The commander of the Amotekun Corps in Ondo, Adetunji Adeleye also conformed the incident in a telephone conversation with Channels Television.

Adeleye revealed that the gunmen were suspected cultists, adding that investigation into the incident is still in progress.

He vowed that the fleeing suspects would be apprehended and prosecuted as soon as possible in accordance with the law.

There were earlier reports suggesting that the gunmen were bandits, however, the police spokesperson and the Amotekun Commander debunked the claims, noting that further details regarding the attack will be disclosed on or before the investigation is concluded.

Owo Attack: Death Toll Rises To 40, Hospitals Discharge 26

The St Francis Catholic Church, Owo where scores of worshippers were killed in Ondo State on June 5, 2022.

 

The death toll in the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State has risen to 40 with 26 survivors discharged from hospitals, days after the incident. 

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State made the disclosure when he hosted a team of Catholic Bishops from the South-West, led by Most Reverend Leke Abegunrin, on Wednesday.

A statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary Richard Olatunde quoted Akeredolu as saying that “the medical team led by the Commissioner for Health has sent figure to us, and it is slightly different. What I put out during my address on the broadcast to the State was wrong and we must accept it.

“The figure I have now shows that 127 persons were involved and that the number of death now is 40. On admission receiving treatment, we have 61. Twenty-six have been discharged. Those are the figures we have now from the Commissioner for Health. So, the government is not hiding anything.”

READ ALSO: Owo Church Attack: Police Recover Three Unexploded IEDs

According to the Ondo leader, the new figure followed the harmonization of reports from the various hospitals including the private ones, urging people to disregard earlier figures.

This is as he maintained that there are no right words to describe the attack but assured his government is making plans for the burial of the victims.

“That is why one is moved. We will have a Memorial Park here where those who died in the attack will be buried. My Bishop sir, we will find a good place as a Memorial Park,” the governor said.

“It will also be my suggestion that even if there are people who have retrieved their family or members of their family, we must still have a symbolic grave there for them. And it will be there forever, it is not something we can forget and we should never forget it.”

He also disclosed that the government is accepting donations from individuals and groups who want to help the families of the victims. Governor Akeredolu explained that the move became important following a series of calls from several quarters.

Akeredolu said an account has been set up for such donations and assured that all monies received will be used judiciously.

Owo Church Attack: Akeredolu Orders Flags To Fly At Half Mast In Ondo

A file photo of Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu

 

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has ordered that flags fly at half-mast following the killing of worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owo.

Gunmen had stormed the church on Sunday, killing dozens and injuring several others. The incident has since been condemned by Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari and many governors.

READ ALSO: Owo Church Attack: Police Recover Three Unexploded IEDs

Akeredolu, who later visited the scene of the attack wept, vowing to unravel the perpetrators of the act.

In a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Richard Olatunde, the Ondo governor said flags will fly low for seven days in honour of the slain and injured victims.

“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,” the governor was quoted as saying.

“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.”

According to him, the attack on innocent worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo was a deliberate and calculated assault on the people of the state.

You Are Not Alone, Obaseki Tells Ondo People

A file photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has condoled with the people of Ondo State following the killing of worshippers at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, including women and children.

Suspected terrorists had attacked St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

It was also gathered that many worshippers died and several others were left injured following the incident at the church which is situated close to the palace of the Olowo of Owo.

Condemning the attack, the governor assured the indigenes of Ondo state saying they are not alone in their fight against insurgency and acts of terror.

“I 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”.

He said 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.

“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”, he added.