•Says it’s time for state police
•Police, Govt, Olowo deny arrest of suspect as protesters besiege palace
By Dayo Johnson, Akure
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Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, has described as hasty the Federal Government pronouncement that ISWAP was the terrorist responsible for the attack of worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state.
This is coming as the state police command, the governor and the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye denied the alleged arrest of the killers.
Recall that the palace of the traditional ruler was under siege by youth from the ancient town demanding for the perpetrators of the last Sunday attack on St. Francis Catholic church in the town.
The youths in their hundreds trooped to the Palace following alleged reports that the suspected terrorists have been arrested by the combined team of Nigerian Army, Amotekun Corps and other security forces and taken to the palace.
They demanded that the suspected terrorists should be handed to them and pleaded to the traditional ruler not to transfer them to Akure, the state capital.
It took several hours for the monarch to convince the youth that the information was untrue.
Meanwhile, governor Akeredolu noted that he took the Federal government’s conclusion with a pinch of salt, adding that ISWAP are known to take responsibility for their attacks.He said this during a zoom interaction with a Swiss-based Christian human rights Organisation, Christian Solidarity International (CSI).
“The statement is too hasty. I take their conclusion with a pinch of salt. ISWAP don’t hide their attack. If they had done it, they would have owned up. We are yet to know and our security people are still on their trail.”
Akeredolu, who said the attack was a crime against humanity, noted that the South-West region has been a peace haven before the horrific attack. The governor said despite the attack on the psyche of the people, the people of the state are indomitable and ready to fight insecurity.
Government, according to him “ is determined to help the victims of the attack, particularly those who lost their loved ones and those on admission in the hospital.
“We have a plan to help the victims of the attack, including those who lost their lives and those who are in the hospitals. Deliberately, we have people who have offered the state government some assistance. Some people have donated to the Catholic Church.”
Akeredolu also reiterated his stand on state police, noting that the time for state police is now.
He empathised that the present security architecture in the country can not provide security for lives and property.
“A single police command can not guarantee safety in this country. We must have state police now. Amotekun suffers a lot of limitations in getting all the equipment we need to fight these criminals.”
The governor commended the international community for their reaction to the killing in Owo, saying their reaction was unprecedented.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the Special Assistant Media to Olowo of Owo, Samuel Adewale, said there was no arrest and the palace wondered the source of the information leading to the invasion of the palace by the angry youths, Adewale said:” The rumour was not true, there was no arrest and we don’t know where the information emanated from. We have assured the youths that the security agents are still after the perpetrators.”
Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde, denied the arrest of the suspects.
The State Police Command image maker, Funmi Odunlami, also said no arrest was made in respect of the last Sunday attack on the Church in Owo.
Odunlami said that members of the public will be duly informed if any arrest was made by the security agencies in respect of the Owo attack.
“Verdict shows criminals aren’t invincible, above law”However, the Pan Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere, has said that sentencing three killers to death by hanging, signalled that criminals are neither invincible nor above the law.
General Secretary of the group, Chief Olusola Ebiseni said this while reacting to the court verdict. Recall that an Akure High Court sentenced the three suspects to death after killing the deceased in 2019. Ebiseni, in a statement issued in Akure, said that “Though not able to bring back the dead, unfortunately, the judgement sentencing to death of the murderers of Mrs. Olufunke Olakunori, daughter of the Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasonranti, nevertheless is most welcome in several ways.
“First, the families, friends and other well-meaning citizens will have a sense of relief that justice has been done, notwithstanding that these murderers have constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal up to the apex Court.
“Besides, it is a signal to these criminals that they are neither invincible nor above the law of the land.
“For too long, it is unfortunate that the Federal Government which monopolises the instrument of coercion and security, has given Nigerians and the world that these criminals who parade themselves as cattle rearers are above the law of the land for which they make the lives of the citizens worst.
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