Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo State of Nigeria, has slammed the conclusion of the Nigerian government ascribing last Sunday’s attack at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo to the Islamic State West African Province, ISWAP.
Governor Akeredolu said that it was too hasty to come to such a conclusion on the act of terror which claimed over 40 lives.
Also yesterday, the Ondo State Police Command denied speculations that the terrorists that attacked the Catholic Church had been arrested.
The National Security Council, made up of the President, the Vice President, as well as the heads of all the defence, security and intelligence agencies in the country, had last Thursday identified ISWAP as responsible for the bloody attack in Owo.
But Akeredolu, who spoke during a zoom interaction with a Swiss-based Christian Human Rights Organisation, Christian Solidarity International (CSI), said, “The statement is too hasty. I take their conclusion with a pinch of salt. ISWAP doesn’t hide their attacks. If they had done it, they would have owned up. We are yet to know their identity and our security people are still on their trail.”
Akeredolu said: “My government is determined to help the victims of the attack, particularly those who lost their loved ones and those on admission in the hospital.
“We are helping the victims of the attack, including those who lost their loved ones and those who are in the hospitals. We also have people who have offered the state government some assistance. Some people have donated to the Catholic Church.”
Reiterating the call for the empowerment, by law, of autonomous policing structures at the sub-national levels of Nigeria, referred to as ‘State Police,’ Akeredolu emphasized that the present security architecture in the country could not provide adequate security for lives and property.
“A single police command cannot guarantee safety in this country. We must have state police now. Amotekun suffers a lot of limitations in getting all the equipment needed to fight these criminals,” he lamented.
The governor commended the international community for their prompt reactions on the killings in Owo, saying it was unprecedented.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while briefing State House Correspondents last Thursday, after the National Security Council meeting in Abuja, identified ISWAP as responsible for the Owo attack.
The minister said security agencies, particularly the police, had been directed to apprehend the perpetrators, adding that the attack has no ethnic-religious connection.