…says victims will never be forgotten
By Adekola Afolabi
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has described the June 5, 2022 terror attack in Owo as a devastating tragedy that struck the government and people of the state.
The Governor said the state will always remember the tragedy that befell Owo Kingdom following the attack on innocent worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo.
Akeredolu’s statement was contained in a release signed on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde.
“It’s been one year since the massacre that occurred at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo. Forty-one persons were killed, while several others were injured. Workers of iniquity invaded our land and terminated the lives of our people. It was a black Sunday.
“One year after, we are still nursing our pain. The scars of the heavy blow dealt to us will always remind us of our losses and the pain we endured. The horrific attack was a dagger drawn into our hearts. It was the most dastardly act that could happen in any society.
“The Church of God was desecrated. A place of worship, considered safe, was turned into a slaughter slab. Our people were mindlessly killed by cowards and mass murderers. It was a tale of pain, sorrow, and fear. We are still grappling with the shock from the attack.
“So far, the Donation Management Committee on Owo Attack, led by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, has reached out to the dependants of the victims and the injured. We have provided financial and medical assistance to the dependants and the injured.
“We understand that no amount of money can fill the void left by our loved ones. Our efforts are geared toward easing the burden created by the death of breadwinners in the families.
“We are constructing a fitting Memorial Park in honor of the deceased. The Memorial Park, situated opposite the Palace of Olowo of Owo, is part of our commitment to immortalize the victims of the attack.
“We once again extend our heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their loved ones in the horrific attack. We also sympathize with the injured and their families. Equally, we offer our condolences to the Catholic Church of Owo and the entire people of Owo,” the Governor said.
Akeredolu expressed appreciation to the people of Nigeria for standing up for Owo and Ondo State in general during these trying times.
He particularly thanked former President, Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as well as other members of the Buhari led administration for their roles and supports after the attack.
The Governor also appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his brother Governors under the platform of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for their kind donations and assistance.
“We note with deep gratitude the concerns and support of all Nigerians for Owo and the state. From the North to the South, Nigerians stood with us. Your support and solidarity were a comforting balm for us in the state. We thank you.
“We thank all our security agencies. Your dedication and commitment led to the arrest of the perpetrators of this dastardly act. We are grateful to you for not letting our people die in vain. Thank you.
“We express our gratitude to all countries of the world. We use the United States as a point of contact to appreciate the international community for identifying with us and condemning the attacks.
“To everyone who made donations that were used to support the dependants of the victims and the injured, we are immensely grateful.
“Ondo State is a land of indomitable people. We are bold and brave. Nothing can deter us from the path we have chosen. Our determination to protect our land and people is unwavering. We will continue to rise above this challenge.”
“Our prayers and hopes will remain with the families of the deceased and injured. We pray that God, in His mercy, will grant the dead eternal rest. Amen”, the statement added.