Owo massacre: Senate demands raid on killers’ hideouts, helicopter, drones deployment

The Senate on Wednesday condemned the June 5 terrorists attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State which left about 40 persons dead and many others hospitalised.

Lawmakers, who observed a one-minute silence in memory of the victims, asked security agencies to intensify efforts to investigate the matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.

They also urged the agencies to deploy drones and helicopters to monitor forests and ungoverned areas in Nigeria, to identify illegal camps of bandits throughout the country.

The red chamber then urged for collaboration amongst various security agencies on intelligence gathering and sharing in a discreet and organised form, at local government and state levels, and nationwide.

These formed part of resolutions reached sequel to the consideration of a motion titled “Killing of worshippers in Owo, Ondo State” sponsored by the lawmaker representing Ondo North, Senator Ajayi Boroffice.

The senator, while noting the killings of Nigerians across different parts of the country, warned that “such a massacre could be a trigger to inter-religious conflicts and ethnic war in Nigeria.”

Contributing, the Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker representing Ondo South, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo said, “Our internal security is still very defective.”

On his part, the PDP senator representing Plateau North, Istifanus Gyang urged religious leaders in the country to desist from inciting their followers through religious messages preached in places of worship, adding that doing otherwise poses a significant security threat to the country.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said, “One thing that is so imperative is for security agencies to continue to protect our citizens, and where we encounter breaches, the perpetrators must be fished out and then the law takes its full course.”

Traditional rites

The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye, has denied restriction of human and vehicular movements during the traditional activities that would come up on Thursday, as being reported in the media.

It was reported in some online media that there would be no movements during the time the traditional rite would be done in the community but the monarch said the report was untrue.

It was gathered that the traditional activity that would be coming up on Thursday, was part of the efforts to prevent any further attack on the community.

In a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media to the monarch, Mr Sam Adewale on Wednesday, the monarch said people would be allowed to move during the exercise.

Meanwhile, the Olijebu Owo of Ijebu-Owo, Oba Kofoworola Ojomo, has expressed his displeasure over the ugly development when some Owo indigenes, under the auspices of the Krown Club, led by Mr Yanju Alabi paid him a visit on Wednesday.

He urged the Federal Government to allow creation of state police for more effective and efficient security system at the local level.

The monarch said, “We have less than 300 policemen to police activities here in Owo. The security of our people does not mean anything to the present administration. We are just waiting for the administration to end without any solution insight.”

The members of the club also visited the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye.

“We are already taking steps to ensure that such won’t repeat itself in the town,” Olowo stated.

Speaking at the palace on behalf of the club, Mr Ademola Oshodi said, “We also commend the South-West governors for the actions they have outlined to make the region more secure. It is important at this juncture for the Federal Government to reconsider its opposition to State Police. The state government must also reinforce, reinvigorate and enlarge Amotekun for it to be able to provide adequate security cover for not only Owo but Ondo State as a whole.”

Earlier, members of the Krown Club visited the church where they donated N500,000 to the victims of the attack.

Similarly, the Catholic Bishop of Diocese of Ondo, Jude Arogundade, while expressing gratitude to the club for their support to the victims and church, revealed that some decisions will be taken, adding that many issues will be tackled head-long over the incident.

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the League of Imams and Alfas in Ogun State have signed a pact to continue living in harmony amidst insecurity in the country, as a delegation of the league of Imams and Alfas on Wednesday submitted a condolence letter over the attack on Christians in Owo to the Ogun CAN Chairman, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya.

Leading the Islamic leaders to the CAN chairman’s Abeokuta office, the Secretary-General, Sheikh Tajudeen Adewunmi described the Owo attack as unfortunate.

Responding, Akin-Akinsanya lauded the league for the gesture and said the Christians do not mistake Muslims for the attackers of Owo church.


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