Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has officially confirmed that 80 worshippers were involved in the terror attack at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa Street, Owo, on Sunday, putting to rest speculations about the figures.
Akeredolu who made the disclosure in a statewide broadcast on Tuesday, said 22 people were killed while 58 survivors were on admission at the Federal Medical Center, Owo, the St Louis Hospital, Owo, the Owo General Hospital, as well as some private hospitals in different areas of the state.
Akeredolu who described the horrific incident as the most devastating moment in his life, said the “attack was an attempt to test the will of the people of the state and indeed, the South-West.”
“Yorubaland, and Owo in particular, have never been conquered before; and it will never happen,” he said, adding that the “dastardly act has the brazenly possible consequence of invitation to national anarchy.”
“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,” he said.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Akeredolu promised to commit every available resource to hunt down the assailants and make them pay dearly, stressing that the state would never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in its resolve to stamp out criminals.