The governor of Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, has urged the good people of Ondo State to repel any attack on them by gunmen in the state. The governor made the call while speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, on Monday
This is just as Akeredolu debunked the Federal Government’s claim that the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists masterminded the June 5 attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, where many worshippers were killed, and scores injured.
Akeredolu, who asked the residents of Ondo State to fight back when attacked, also called for state police in the country. Akeredolu, who is the Chairman of Southern Governors’ Forum, said: “We have called on our traditional rulers that we must all be ready to rise up to defend our land and defend our people. What I really mean by that is that you can’t fold your hands and say people are coming and you are running away.
“If they bring a fight to you, fight them back. There is no room to run away from it. That was why when I heard my brother in Zamfara, who said people should carry arms and license people to carry arms, it might be to some a bit of extreme measure, but when you are pushed to the wall, there is nothing else you can say.
“So, what we have learnt is that our people cannot afford to stay back or lay back as if you are lazy people. We are not lazy; we are indomitable people in spirit and everything and nobody can dominate us. “So, when we believe that and strongly act that, fight these people back. If they come, push them inside the forest and leave. Whosoever has the higher arm will survive,” he stated.
While speaking on the claim by the Federal Government that the June 5 terror attack in the state was carried out by ISWAP terrorists, said: “We are not people who will buy the idea that it is ISWAP or bandits or terrorists or Fulani herdsmen.
“We have been facing, at least in Ondo State, terrorism from the three, whether they are bandits or Fulani herdsmen or ISWAP; they work together. I don’t know how you want to separate them, except you have concrete evidence.
“Our contention is that ISWAP, most times, if not all the time, take responsibility for their actions. So, when they do things, they say ‘we have done it.’ They take pride in this heinous crime. So, I expect that if ISWAP had done this, all this while, they would have come up and own up. But some of us have our fears that it cannot be ISWAP and we do not agree with that position because the security agencies were just too quick,” the governor stressed.
The governor, while speaking on the arrest of the suspected attackers of the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo said the vehicle and other items used by the assailants had been handed over to the Department of State Services (DSS) for investigation.
He added that the state government has been making effort to arrest the perpetrators, noting that, “We are yet to make a serious headway and that is for many reasons. These people usually disappear into our forests and from there migrate to other states,” Akeredolu said.