Scene of the St Francis Catholic Church, Owo where scores of worshippers were killed in Ondo State on June 5, 2022.
The six states in Nigeria’s South West region on Monday commenced three days of mourning in honour of the victims of the church attack in Owo.
This comes three days after governors in the region resolved to mourn the victims within the period following a meeting held last Friday to review the state of insecurity in the South West.
Channels Television had reported that no fewer than 40 people were killed and many others injured when gunmen opened fire on worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The incident sparked widespread condemnation with various individuals and groups calling on the government to ensure the assailants were arrested and brought to justice.
Days after the incident, the Federal Government linked the killings to the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) – an account that Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State said was speculative.
In line with the resolutions of last Friday’s meeting, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Ondo State extended the mourning period in the state till Wednesday, following the initial seven days period which began last Monday.
He directed that all flags in the state be flown at half-mast for the three days period, to honour those who lost their lives to the attack.
Similarly, the Oyo State government, in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, directed that flags be flown at half-mast for three days.
Authorities in the remaining states are expected to issue a similar directive, as the governors sternly condemned the attack.
Read the communique issued at the end of the virtual meeting of the South West Governors’ Forum on June 10, 2022, below:
The Governors of the Southwest, at the meeting, held, virtually, on the 10th June 2022, deliberated extensively on the rising wave of insecurity in the country, especially the South West and decided on some measures, deemed immediate in stemming the tide of banditry, kidnapping and terror attacks in the region.
The recent attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa Street, Owo, compels immediate intervention in the whole of the South West to nip the insidious phenomenon of insurgency in the bud. The meeting, consequently, took decisions, some of which are expected to have far-reaching implications in the quest to protect lives and property in the region.
The meeting deliberated on issues that pose a great risk to the collective well-being of the people and resolved as follows:
The Governors condemn, in very strong terms, the horrendous crime perpetrated by terrorists against the people and residents of Owo, Ondo State, and, by extension, the peace-loving people of the South West. The Governors sympathise with the victims of the mindless attack in Owo.
The Governors agreed to declare a 3-day mourning period in memory of the victims of the 5th June, 2022 terror attack on St Francis Catholic, Owaluwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, starting from Monday, 13th June, to Wednesday, 15th, June, 2022 to symbolise our collective loss across all South Western States in Nigeria.
The meeting agreed that all the Governors should direct the flying of Flags at Half Mast in all public buildings, facilitates and official residences across all the States in the South West in honour of the victims of the Owo terror attack.
The Governors noted, with great discomfiture, the increasing agitations about spaces taken over by unidentified and unknown migrants in all South West States. The meeting, therefore, recommends an increase in the scope of surveillance of the activities of these undocumented settlers by relevant security agencies in all the States.
The Governors, as Chief Security Officers, resolved to continue to assist the security agencies in the areas of crisis management and intelligence gathering at ALL times.
The Governors reviewed reports from various States on the factors militating against peace and security in the region. They expressed grave concern on the influx of Okada riders into all parts of the South West, especially the State capitals. The meeting further resolved that efforts be geared toward identity management of Okada riders and stringent regulation put in place for their operation.
Consequently, the Forum decided it was time to reconvene the South West Security Committee to look critically into this creeping menace before it blossoms into another intractable social problem. The Committee will be expected to submit its findings on the desirability of Okada operations in the region. It is also expected to submit a multi-level template to combat the threat of insurgency and terrorism in the region.
The Forum agreed to convene forthwith a physical meeting of the South West Governors to deliberate on the security challenges confronting the region.
Dated Friday 10th June 2022.
Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN
Governor of Ondo State & Chairman Southwest Governors’ Forum
HE. Dr. John Kayode Fayemi
Governor of Ekiti State.
HE. Dapo O. Abiodun
Governor of Ogun State
HE. Babajide O. Sanwo-Olu
Governor of Lagos State
HE. Gboyega Oyetola
Governor of Osun State
HE. Engr. Seyi A. Makinde
Governor of Oyo State