Owo attackers; Suspects linked to Owo church massacre arrested.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu confirmed the arrest of five suspects in the attack on St Francis Catholic Church in the state’s Owo area on Tuesday.
The governor’s confirmation comes shortly after the announcement by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, in Abuja.
The church was attacked while worshippers were attending mass on Sunday, June 5. At least 40 people were killed and several others were injured in the incident.
Akeredolu revealed two months after the massacre that the owner of the house where the attackers stayed before the June 5 attack in Owo had also been arrested.
Since the horrifying attacks on innocent worshipers at the St Francis Catholic Church in Owaluwa, Owo, he said, the state government has not wasted any time in tracking down the terrorists.
According to Richard Olatunde, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Akeredolu spoke during a courtesy visit to his office by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), led by the Council’s Chairman, Prince Leke Adegbite.
“Now that the military has announced it, I can tell you that five of them have been arrested now. They are still on the trail of the rest. The home where they lodged in Owo and the person that accommodated them before the attack, has also been arrested,” he was quoted as saying.
“We did not spare a moment. I am happy that the Chief of Defence Staff has announced it. We have known for a while but we needed not to come out with it because more works are still ongoing. I can confirm that this arrest has been made. And they are still on the trail of some of them.”
Governor Akeredolu has also called on leaders of the Ebira community in the state to warn their young ones not to copy the bad venture of kidnapping.
According to him, recent reports from victims of kidnap in the state have established that some Ebira indigenes are now involved in the unwholesome act.
He noted that the Ebiras have lived together with the people of the state peacefully for several decades, adding that they have always been supportive and hardworking.
The governor stated, “I want to use this medium to urge our brothers to concentrate on their farming trade. It will be unfortunate to know that the Ebiras in our midst are now involved in kidnapping.
“We are appealing to them not to copy bad things. The traders selling by the roadside should not become informants. We are not fighting them.
“We have seen their numbers, they supported and voted for us during elections. I will call their leaders and talk to them. Our brothers who were kidnapped on their way to Ikare, talk to them. They were taken to Ebira farmsteads.
“For me, we have lived together for too long for this to happen. I am ready to make any effort to ensure that the conviviality that we have enjoyed continues. But we are begging their leaders to urge them not to copy bad things. They are in our midst, we are surrounded by them. The issue of security is key and it’s dynamic.”
In terms of security, Governor Akeredolu stated that, in addition to the recent recruitment and training of new Amotekun personnel, the Amotekun corps will train 20 hunters and local vigilantes in each of the state’s eighteen local government areas.
Earlier, the Chairman of the NUJ, Ondo State Council, thanked the governor for his support for the management of OSRC and Owena Press PLC, saying that the upgrading of facilities in the two state-owned media organizations is commendable.
He also praised Akeredolu for approving the weigh-in allowance for journalists and information officers working for the state and local governments.