Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has decried Sunday’s terror attack on innocent worshipers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owa-luwa Street, Owo, describing it as horrific.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, the governor said he was terribly saddened by the dastardly act.
Olatunde quoted Akeredolu to have also described the attack as “the most dastardly act that could happen in any society”.
He further stated that the governor visited the Palace of the Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye, to condole with him and his subjects over the incident.
Akeredolu was quoted to have said: ”What has happened here today is tragic. No better way to qualify it.
“It is the most tragic event! Horrific!
“What we have seen in America is a child play to what has happened here.
“That it happened in a church, to say the least, is most condemnable.
“I feel terribly sad and I can understand our people are in sad mood.
“Nobody will see or hear what happened here that will feel safe.
“But let me tell you, we have a duty to protect you.
“Our security agencies lost about two men. It was not an expected attack. It was sudden.
“How they entered and escaped is still surprising. What has happened, met us unexpectedly.
“On this matter, don’t retaliate. We know what to do and you will hear it.
“The perpetrators will never escape. We are after them. And I can assure you we will get them. I am not boasting.
“I want to express my condolences to those who have lost their dear ones to this gruesome murder.
“This is a great massacre. Our people in Ondo state, we will not let down their guard.
“This will not happen again. We have all heads of security agencies here.
“They are listening to me and I am urging them to take all necessary steps.
“This must not happen again. We must be very vigilant.
“I want to particularly send a word of condolence to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, Bishop Jude Arogundade.
“What they damaged here is much. Dynamite was used. We can see pools of blood everywhere.
“I have come to appeal to you to maintain your calm and let the security agencies take charge.
“They are taking this seriously. Please, don’t take the law into your hands.”
The governor was also reported to have said that “the gunmen made a mistake of attacking Owo, vowing that they will not escape justice.
“What happened shocked me. It shocked everyone.
“It was like a deliberate target on Owo.
“But they made a mistake because we are bold. We don’t run away from battles.
“We will fight them. No matter what it takes.
“The government will not sit back without ensuring that those who did this pay for it,” Akeredolu said.
The statement also quoted the royal father to have thanked the governor “for showing leadership.
“It takes genuine leadership for the governor to have flown into the state from Abuja barely three hours the
“I called you in Abuja less than three hours ago and you are here already. That’s leadership.
“It’s quite unfortunate that this kind of incident would happen in Owo.
“There must be a motive behind this.
“It behoves our security agencies to investigate this deep down so that those behind it will face the full wrath of the law.
“No one brings battle into Owo. We shall give it what it takes.
“I believe the Federal Government should be much more concerned.
“Those behind this want to cause discord in the country. “The whole nation is challenged.
“On our part, whatever is expected of us, we will do.
“I have spoken to our youths to remain calm,” the statement added.
Akeredolu was said to have also visited the hospitals where the survivors of the attack were receiving medical treatment.
He reportedly commended the doctors and health workers for the prompt attention given to them.
He was said to have been joined on the visit by members of the state Executive Council, led by the Secretary to the State Government, Oladunni Odu.
The bishop was also reported to be part of the governor’s entourage.