At least 22 people have been confirmed dead out of the 80 casualties from last Sunday attack on the St.Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa street, Owo in Owo Local Government Area, Ondo State.
The State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, disclosed this on Tuesday during a statewide broadcast to the people of the state.
Akeredolu said the attack was an attempt to test the will of the people of the state and indeed, the Southwest, adding that the dastard act has the brazenly possible consequence of invitation to national anarchy.
“Yorubaland, and Owo in particular, have never been conquered before; and it will never happen”, he said.
The governor, however, promised to commit every available resource to hunt down the assailants and make them pay dearly for the attack, stressing that the state will never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in its resolve to stamp out criminals.
Governor Akeredolu in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said “22 people lost their lives to the horrific attack while 56 survivors were on admission at the Federal Medical Center, Owo, St Louis Hospital, Owo and the Owo General Hospital as well as some private hospitals.”
The statement read: “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.
“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.
“May I use this medium to express gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who aside his demonstrated concern, directed his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON to visit the scene of this criminal act.
“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. In the meantime, I have 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.
“In this regard, I thank the former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and the entire PDP family. To all others too numerous to mention, your show of love, encouragement and goodwill are not taken for granted. You have displayed compassion and demonstrated an appreciable level of brotherliness.
“In the same vein, I commend 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.
“We equally appreciate the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and BEDC for their assistance. I convey our gratitude to volunteers who assisted in evacuating the victims and the dead to the hospitals and mortuaries respectively.
“I also thank our people who had deemed it fit to voluntarily donate blood towards the treatment of the victims. They have lived up to expectation within the precinct of the available space and time.”