EKITI State governor, Kayode Fayemi, has described the claims linking the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) to the church attack in Owo as mere speculation. 

He stressed that no evidence had confirmed that the group was responsible for the attack which claimed many lives and left several others injured. 

“I am not going to go into any speculation,” the governor said on Monday in response to a question regarding the position of the Federal Government during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. 

“As far as I’m concerned, the statement that ISWAP or Boko Haram or whatever other institutions are responsible for this (attack) is purely speculative at this stage. I haven’t seen any evidence that concretely puts this in the corner of any of these rogue elements that we have.


“And really it doesn’t at this stage matter. They have committed this crime, they have demonstrated the capacity to cause maximum damage to our people.” 

At least 40 people were killed and many injured when gunmen opened fire on worshippers at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, the headquarters of Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The incident sparked widespread condemnation with various individuals and groups calling on the government to ensure the assailants were arrested and brought to justice. 

Amid controversy over who was responsible for the incident, the Federal Government linked the killings to the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP). 

Fayemi, who doubles as chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), believes the position of the Federal Government is speculation. 

According to him, governors, as the chief security officers of their states, are privy to all manners of intelligence but not all of them are actionable. 

He explained that they have a responsibility to pass such intelligence to the relevant institutions who are expected to take necessary actions. 

Fayemi said, “I don’t want us to jump the gun as far as this is concerned and that is why I am not going to go into any detail as to what intelligence we had and at what point we had it. 

“Our duty as security officers is to ensure that this does not occur again and we go after elements of this nature, whichever organisation they may represent within our domains.” 

Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Ondo has fixed Friday, June 17, 2022 for the mass burial of the victims who lost their lives in the attack on the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State last week Sunday. 

This was confirmed by the director of social communication of the Diocese of Ondo, Rev. Fr. Augustine Ikwu, while speaking newsmen in Akure, the state capital. Ikwu disclosed that the mass burial would take place at a new cemetery at Emure Road, Owo. The mass burial will take place at the new cemetery of the church on Friday in Owo,” he said. 

According to the church, no fewer than 40 people lost their lives in the attack while many others sustained various degrees of injuries. 

The injured victims were said to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre and the St. Louis Catholic Church, both in Owo, and some other private hospitals within the state. 

The police said no arrest had been made in connection with the attack but said detectives from the command have been on the trail of the suspected terrorists. In another development, flags are flying at half-mast in Lagos following Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s directive. 

The action followed the three-day mourning declared over the attack on the St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State. The decision to mourn the victims came at a Southwest Governors’ June 10 virtual meeting, which reviewed the security situation in the region. 

The communique issued after the meeting was signed by Governors Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Gboyega Oyetola, Osun; Dapo Abiodun, Ogun; Seyi Makinde, Oyo and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos. 


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