SPEECH BY THE MINISTER OF INTERIOR AT OWO WHILE ON CONDOLENCE VISIT TO THE COMMUNITY THE DAY AFTER GUNMEN ATTACK ON WORSHIPPERS AT SAINT FRANCIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, ON MONDAY JUNE 6, 2022June 6, 2022
WE ARE NOT DETERRED
We received the sad news of the attack on Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, yesterday in which many lives were lost and others wounded. This is cowardly, barbaric and
absolutely condemnable and condemned.
While the motive of the perpetrators is yet to be established, there is no doubt that their cowardly act is intended to cause chaos and instill fear in the people, foment trouble and provoke bloody inter and intra ethnic crises.
It is worrisome that this is happening in the region of Nigeria that has a measure of peace and tranquility. This could only have been intentioned to destabilize the state and plunge the nation to
Their action is capable of widening the cracks in national harmony and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians, stoking ethnic and religious crises and pitting our people against one and other on the basis of primordial cleavages.
I am therefore appealing to you to reject this ugly and backward agenda and refuse to take any rash, inappropriate, primitive and precipitate action in the spirit of revenge. We should clearly
identify the enemy and their mission. Our neighbours from other parts of the country with whom we have lived together in peace and harmony, are not and cannot be the enemy. We must not be provoked to senselessly attack on each other in reaction to the evil plot of some nihilists and criminals bent on plunging the nation into chaos and anarchy.
Those who attacked innocent people worshipping in the house of God are the enemies. They are nothing more than cowardly savages and animals.
I can assure however that the entire security
system of Nigeria is on the trail of the enemies that sneaked in on us to wreak this havoc. We are on their trail, they will be apprehended and made to pay dearly for this unprovoked attack.
The security of lives and property of Nigerians is number one agenda of government. This is the prime charge of President Muhammadu Buhari to all ministers and heads of departments and agencies of government. I just came in after attending a regional GIABA Ministerial Committee Meeting in Saly-Portuda, Senegal, on anti-money laundering and Counterterrorism financing, which I chaired. We are doing everything possible to make the nation secure and peaceful. The federal government is outraged by this attack and will leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of the attack.
I appeal to our people to be calm, peaceful and vigilant. I will like to encourage the Omo Olowos, equivalent civil society organizations in neighbouring communities, Yoruba traditional institutions and royal fathers to work with the law enforcement agencies in fishing out those who carried out the dastardly acts and bring them to justice.
Let me equally appeal to conspiracy theorists to direct their speculations and imaginations to the appropriate security agencies; The Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, rather than poisoning the social media platforms with provocative tales and unfounded innuendos.
As we mourn and grapple with the fallout of this attack, it is important that every community and civil society organisation be involved in the security of our land by being vigilant and
informing law enforcement agencies of suspicious persons and activities. We should all work to make it the last time this will ever happen.
We must remain irrepressible and undeterred. We should not give the enemies the benefit of rejoicing over us. The attack was meant to dampen our morale and plunge us to gloom and darkness. We must bounce back big time. But we should rise to defend our land and take our historic position in leading the black race to fulfilling their destiny.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the injured and the bereaved families, the good people of Owo and the government of Ondo State. I pray for the repose of the souls of the departed. May God comfort them and be with them in this trying period.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
Minister of Interior
6th June, 2022