Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has disclosed that 78 persons were involved in Sunday’s terror attack on St Francis Catholic Church in the Owo area of the state.
Governor Akeredolu said 22 people lost their lives to the horrific attack, while 56 survivors are on admission at the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Owo, St Louis Hospital, and the Owo General Hospital as well as some private hospitals.
The governor disclosed this on Tuesday during a statewide broadcast on Sunday’s terror attack in the state.
Akeredolu said the attack was an attempt to test the will of the people of the state and the South-West region of the country.
He added that the incident has the brazenly possible consequence of invitation to national anarchy, saying “Yorubaland, and Owo in particular, have never been conquered before; and it will never happen”.
He, therefore, promised to commit every available resource to hunt down the assailants and make them pay dearly, stressing that the state will never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in its resolve to stamp out criminals.
The governor said: “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.
“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.
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“I 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,” he stated.
Governor Akeredolu further expressed his appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for directing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to visit the scene of the terror attack.
“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,” he added.
Akeredolu further disclosed that he has 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,” the governor said.
He equally thanked the former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and “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.”