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Owo church attack: Monarch rues lack of suspects’ prosecution one-year after
The church

Exactly one year after terrorists attacked a Catholic Church in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, the Olowo of Owo Kingdom, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye, has appealed to the security agencies to bring the perpetrator to book and make it public.

The PUNCH reports that some suspected terrorists attacked St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, on June 5, 2022, killing no fewer than 41 worshippers and injuring several others.

The monarch, who spoke at his palace in Owo on Monday, decried the inability of the security agency to prosecute the perpetrators, one year after the attack.

He said, “At a time we heard news that some people had been arrested and the Nigerian Army came out to give that information, and ever since, we have not heard about prosecution or investigation, because by now prosecution should have been started after much investigation. We are surprised that this matter is not being talked about anymore.

“People who lost their lives cannot just be forgotten so easily like that. We are therefore calling on government once again to live up to expectations; the security agencies must come out and give us information about those who have been arrested, and we know that the security agencies are still about to carry out our investigations, and we must see that those who came to attack the St. Francis Catholic Church on June 5, 2022 must be brought to book; it is highly expected.”

He, however, noted that the community had become more security conscious after the incident.

“We thank God that we are all alive, and what happened on June 5, 2022, we overcame, and there have been changes in security architecture in Owo. Now we are more conscious about our security, and the security agencies too are already doing what is expected of them in preparing for any untoward occurrence. They are well prepared and there is collaboration between the kingdom and the security agencies as well, people are conscious and we have been giving necessary information relating to security to the agencies.

“We are equally assisting the police as well; at one time, we provided vehicles to the Nigerian Police to enable them to move about around the kingdom and its environs. Since then, the kingdom has been very peaceful, people have been going about their lives without being molested or facing any threat to life. We thank God for everything.

Also speaking, the parish priest of St. Francis Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Michael Abuga, said the church had not got back to its normal self but expressed optimism that things would get better.

“I was not in the church when the incident happened, I was posted here four months later. From the testimony of parishioners, the assailant came to kill, to destroy, and they will be surprised that they succeeded in killing only 41 people because their aim and objective were to kill everybody in the church. Since then, life has not been easy for the parishioners; it has been very difficult for them to begin again, and the healing is in process. We thank God that they are gradually picking up, some of them have started coming to church, while others have not been able to begin again.

“We thank God for those who have returned to worship God in this church after the incident, we have not recorded 100 per cent; we have just recorded about 60 per cent. And we are hopeful that with time some of them will be able to come back, maybe with this event, and with the security architecture there will be rest assured and there will be confidence that we are safe in the church,” the cleric disclosed.