A terrorist attack, by way of an explosion was carried out by yet unknown persons on Sunday morning at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, in the ancient city of Owo, Ondo State. The congregants were reportedly attending Sunday Mass when the explosion occurred, killing an unspecified number of people.
Eyewitness accounts reveal that the blast was followed by sporadic gunshots, leading to chaos in the vicinity, with residents fleeing for safety after being caught off guard.
In a swift response, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, an indigene of the town expressed deep sadness at the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, during Sunday worship.
In his first response to the tragedy, the governor said ‘the vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.
“It is a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state. I have spoken to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, who is presently on his way to Owo. Similarly, I have had to cut short my party’s national assignment in Abuja and visit Owo immediately;
“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, We shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolve to rid our state of criminals.
“I commiserate with my people in Owo, particularly families of those who lost their lives to this ugly and unfortunate attack. I extend my condolences to Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye as well as the Catholic Church.
“I urge our people to remain calm and vigilant. Do not take laws into your hands. I have spoken to the heads of the security agencies. I have equally been assured that security operatives would be deployed to monitor and restore normalcy to Owo kingdom.” Akeredolu said.
Another Ondo State indigene, Lagos based human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN described the attack as ungodly.
He said: “Today, the people of Ondo State and Nigeria woke up to the sad news of the massacre of worshippers in Owo, Ondo State, right inside the church;
It is ungodly to take any life, whatever the motive may be. Whether in the mosque or church, innocent worshippers should not be killed in the course of the practice of their faith;
Although no one has claimed responsibility for this dastardly act, the security agencies bear a duty to unravel the perpetrators and bring them to justice;
My appeal is to all those who have grievances to adopt the rule of law to ventilate them. The bloodshed in the land is too much and no reason can be advanced for this desperate act of wickedness;
Owo being the hometown of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, I pray that this dastardly act has nothing to do with his principled stand on national issues such as restructuring, resource control, power rotation, restriction on open grazing and state police;
The Governor has been at the forefront of the implementation of the regional security outfit, Amotekun, which has been hugely successful in crime reduction. I urge him not to relent in any of these noble pursuits, if that is the genuine desire of the people that he represents.
My heartfelt condolences go to the families of the innocent souls that were brutally terminated, the Catholic Church and the people and government of Ondo State.
I hope in no time, the perpetrators will all be fished out and dealt with according to law”..