Soyinka says terror attack on Ondo church targeted at Akeredolu

Ondo State
  • FG’s conclusion on ISWAP hasty – Akeredolu
  • Ondo Governor: It’s dagger driven into our hearts

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka said yesterday that Ondo State governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), was the target of the recent deadly attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State.

Soyinka, who was at the governor’s office at Alagbaka, Akure on a condolence visit over the terror attack that occurred last Sunday, noted that the attack was on Governor Akeredolu who he said had been showing leadership in terms of internal liberation.

He described the attack as a message from a people obsessed with domination.

“We are dealing with people who are obsessed with domination; it is in their blood, it is in their Creed, their psyche that they need to dominate,” he said.

Soyinka added: “He (Akeredolu) was targeted and there is no question about that.

“It was not an accident, and it is passing a massage to the rest of us. That is why I’m here.

“I want the governor to know that we have received the message. We understand it and we came to sympathise with him that he was selected as a medium of that message.

“So, the answer we must give to the message we all received is that we are not slaves.

“Here, on our own soil, having had the experience of century of disdain, contempt about us as black people. Again some characters come along calling themselves whatever, ISWAP, Boko Haram.

“So, all those groups including those who are just opportunists – the herdsmen, they are making a mistake. I want the governor to realise they are making a mistake.

“I have been on this issue for quite some time. This invasion has been on and these herdsmen are all over the forests.

“At a time we thought it was Boko Haram; we didn’t know that Fulani herdsmen were capitalising on the fundamentalist insurgency and brutality.

“And that is why we see a nexus of operation between ISWAP, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.

“They work singularly, individually and they work collectively.

“I Know Ondo State has always been at the forefront of awareness.”

Responding, Governor Akeredolu appreciated the Nobel laureate for the condolence visit, saying that the state would remain hugely indebted to him.

He said: “It is a cause that he has dedicated his life to, and I thank God for his life.

“The state wants to appreciate you for finding time to come at this hour of grief.

“This is like a dagger drawn to our heart, and it is an assault on our psyche; the psyche of those of us in the South-West and Western Region.

“I think they think they can create some fears in us but they made a mistake, because this will make us more fierce in our condemnation of their actions, and we are not hiding it.”

FG’s conclusion on ISWAP hasty – Akeredolu
Meanwhile, Akeredolu has described as hasty the federal government’s conclusion that the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) was responsible for the terror attack on St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State last Sunday.

Speaking during a meeting with the Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Swiss-based Christian human rights organisation, Akeredolu said he decided not to attach much importance to the conclusion of the National Security Council on Thursday that ISWAP was behind the attack because the terror group is notorious for admitting responsibility for its attacks.

Describing the attack as a crime against humanity, Akeredolu noted that the Southwest region had been peaceful before the tragic incident.

He said: “The statement is too hasty. I take their conclusion with a pinch of salt. ISWAP don’t hide their attacks. If they have done it, they would have owned up.

“We are yet to know their identity and our security people are still on their trail.”

He said the people of the state remained unshakeable and ready to battle insecurity in spite of the attack, adding that his government is committed to assisting the victims of the incident, particularly those who lost loved ones and those who were hospitalised.

Killings barbaric, disheartening, says IPCR
The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) described last Sunday’s killings at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State as disheartening, despicable and barbaric.

The Institute, in a statement he issued yesterday, the Director-General of the Institute, Dr. Bakut Bakut, noted that such heinous crime is a smear on the serenity, sacredness and dignity of humanity as well as an affront on the territorial integrity of the Nigerian state.

The IPCR also noted that a nation only strives and develops when citizens avoid criminal acts and stay together in peace and harmony.

Bakut therefore called on Nigerians to shun vices that are inimical to peace and antithetical to development.

The DG admonished that as a nation, we should let unity and oneness define us, noting that clear cut ideas that bring development are incubated in a peaceful environment.

The Institute appealed to those perpetrating all manner of violence and criminality in the country and in a way, sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government, to desist and give peace a chance, given that Nigeria is the only country we can call our own.

We should treasure our country as a common heritage for the present and the generation to come.

Bakut commended the security agencies especially the Armed Forces and Police who are the frontline agencies for their commitment and gallantry in maintaining peace and order.

He however charged them to deploy all necessary machinery in making sure that the perpetrators of St. Patrick Catholic Church Massacre are apprehended and face the full wrath of the law.

He also commiserated with the families of the victims of the unfortunate attack, the Catholic Church, the government as well as the people of Ondo State.

The Nation

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