BEING A BROADCAST TO THE PEOPLE OF ONDO STATE BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN IN RESPECT OF THE TERRORIST ATTACK AT THE ST. FRANCIS’ CATHOLIC CHURCH, OWALUWA STREET, OWO WHICH OCCURRED ON SUNDAY 5TH JUNE, 2022
My good people of Ondo State.
It is pertinent for me to address you this afternoon following the dastardly incident of Sunday, 5th June, 2022 at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa Street, Owo. The day marked an indisputably sad one in our dear Sunshine State when murderous elements and bloodthirsty terrorists unleashed an unforgettable scar on all of us.
Undoubtedly, this unprovoked attack and killing of innocent worshippers is an attack on our collective psyche in Ondo State. This is a highly reprehensible national tragedy.
This vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom and indeed, the good people of Ondo State, who have enjoyed relative peace over the years. It was a black Sunday. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss to me.
As you will all recall, I was out of the State on Party assignment in respect of the ongoing National Convention of the All Progressives Congress, APC. I had to cut short my stay in Abuja to have a personal first hand assessment of the situation.
On arrival, I received preliminary briefings from the heads of the various security agencies which formed the basis of movement to the scene of the devilish act in Owo. The site, that is, St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo presents a gory war-like scene. The Federal Medical Centre, Owo, the St. Louis Hospital, Owo, the General Hospital, Owo as well as some private hospitals in Owo were filled with the injured, most of who were in critical conditions. The most unfortunate part is the lives of innocent children cut down in their prime and some severely injured by the mindless attackers. The total number of people involved was 80. As at now, 56 are on admission, two discharged, while the death toll is 22. Efforts have been deepened to prevent further casualties.
At Owo, the anger was palpable. The tension was at an abrasive level just as the urge for reprisals was high. Without doubt too, the ripple impact of this heinous act as well as the understandably angry reaction across the State could not have been different.
To me, this is an attempt to test the will of the people of the State and indeed, the Southwest. It, unequivocally, has the brazenly possible consequence of invitation to national anarchy because Yorubaland, and Owo in particular, have never been conquered before; and it will never happen.
I promise you that we shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay dearly. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolve to rid our State of criminals.
I, therefore, urge our people to be calm but remain vigilant. Do not take the law into your own hands. Leave the rest for government to shoulder. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I can assure you that security operatives have been deployed to monitor and restore normalcy to Owo kingdom.
In honour of those who lost their lives to this unfortunate attack, I have already directed that all flags be flown at half-mast for seven days. This started yesterday, Monday, 6th and will end on Sunday, 12th June, 2022 because it is a collective loss to the people of our dear State.
I commiserate with my people in Owo, particularly the families of those who lost their lives to this wicked attack. I extend my condolences to Kabiyesi, the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III as well as to the Lord Bishop of the Catholic Church, Ondo Diocese, Most Rev. Jude Arogundade.
May I use this medium to express gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who aside his demonstrated concern, directed his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON to visit the scene of this criminal act. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum led by its chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, their Excellencies, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Honourable Minister of Interior and Engr. Seyi Makinde, the Governor of Oyo State also deserve a special mention for their collective and individual show of love and empathy. We will remain eternally grateful to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his donation of a whopping amount of N50 million to the victims and N25 million to the Catholic Church, Owo. The gesture of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum which donated N50 million to the victims is equally appreciated. The donations are to assuage the effects of the attack. In the meantime, I have directed that an account be opened to receive further donations from well meaning individuals and corporate bodies who may wish to assist the victims of the terrorist attack.
I am particularly enthralled by the wonderful show of solidarity from my brothers across party divides, especially in the State. It is heartwarming that we all have found a common ground to confront these monsters. In this regard, I thank the former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and the entire PDP family. To all others too numerous to mention, your show of love, encouragement and goodwill are not taken for granted. You have displayed compassion and demonstrated an appreciable level of brotherliness.
In the same vein, I commend the medical teams of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, the St. Louis Hospital, Owo, the General Hospital, Owo and some private hospitals who showed love and participated in stabilising the victims in the various hospitals. We equally appreciate the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and BEDC for their assistance. I convey our gratitude to volunteers who assisted in evacuating the victims and the dead to the hospitals and mortuaries respectively. I also thank our people who had deemed it fit to voluntarily donate blood towards the treatment of the victims. They have lived up to expectation within the precinct of the available space and time.
I thank you all.
God bless Ondo State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.