Black Sunday in Owo!


*As suspected gunmen kill over 30 worshipers at Catholic Church, Owo, injure many

*Eyewitnesses say they detonated devices and shot worshippers at close range

*Gov Oluwarotimi Akeredolu promises to hunt down assailants

*President Buhari condemns attack as PDP calls on APC to come clean on its pact with terrorists

By Mike Odiakosa and Matthew Dadiya, Abuja

It was a black Sunday yesterday in the ancient city of Owo in Ondo State as suspected gunmen attacked worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State and killed more than 30 persons and left many others with various degrees of injuries.

Multiple media reports of the dastardly incident which occurred at about 11 am, said that the attackers alleged to be Fulani herdsmen detonated explosive devices and shot their victims at close range.

Worst hit were the St Francis Church and a white garment church, both located at Owaluwa axis in Owo, Ondo State.

Besides the high fatality rate, eyewitnesses said that many worshippers sustained gunshot injuries in the fatal attack which lasted for over 30 minutes.

The stampede that ensured it was also gathered, left many with injuries.

Reports from Owo and all the adjoining towns indicate that victims were rushed to the hospitals and the hospital authorities are pleading with public spirited individuals to come and donate blood for the resuscitation of the victims.

Meanwhile, the governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has condemned the attack in the strongest term and condoled with the families of the deceased.

He said that he was deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people in Owo, noting that the vile and satanic attack “is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom.”

“It’s a black Sunday in Owo. Our hearts are heavy. Our peace and tranquility have been attacked by the enemies of the people. This is a personal loss, an attack on our dear state”, he laments.

The Governor said that he had cut short his party’s national assignment in Abuja where the All Progressives Congress, APC is organising her presidential primary.

“This is an unexpected development. I am shocked to say the least. Nevertheless, we shall commit every available resource to hunt down these assailants and make them pay. We shall never bow to the machinations of heartless elements in our resolves to rid our state of criminals.”

The governor further urged the people to remain calm and desist from taking the laws into their hands, noting that he had spoken to the heads of all the security agencies in the state on the need to maintain the peace.

A statement from the Presidency said that President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the heinous killing of worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.

The president while mourning the dead and condoling with the government of Ondo State, vowed that, “No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light. Nigeria will eventually win.”

Also, the main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it is alarmed by reports of how terrorists invaded the church, opened fire on worshippers, freely used explosives within the premises and murdered our compatriots in cold blood.

The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba called out the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to come clean on the pact it had with terrorists for which it continues to look away as these outlaws mercilessly ravage the nation.

“It is instructive to state that the APC has failed to account for the terrorists it imported into the country to assist it rig the 2019 elections and who APC leaders openly romance with despite their atrocities against Nigerians,” the PDP statement said.