The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on forest reserves in parts of Ondo State as part of efforts to arrest and prosecute the terrorists who on June 5 massacred about 40 worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo.
The lawamkers made the call after unanimously adopting a motion moved by the lawmaker representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency in Ondo State, Oluwatimehin Adelegbe, which was titled, ‘A Motion of Urgent National Importance Brought Pursuant to the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives on the Killing of Innocent Worshippers in Owo, Ondo State.’
Adelegbe recalled a series of similar attacks in the state, saying, “In Molege community within Ose LGA, earlier in January, farmlands and houses were set ablaze and three persons killed.
“On Sunday, January 23, 2022, there was a deadly attack carried out on Okeluse community, also in Ose LGA by armed men who razed farmlands, houses and left three persons dead. In November 2021, a group of armed men killed the Olufon of Ifon, Oba Israel Adewusi, in the same LGA.”
The House asked that “The Federal Government declares a state of emergency in the various forest reserves in Owo/Ose Federal Constituency in order to comb and fish out the perpetrators of these crimes.”
Meanwhile, Commanders of the South West Security Network, codenamed Amotekun Corps, in Akure on Thursday, declared their commitment to ensuring adequate protection of lives and property of the people of the region.
The team included Corps Commanders from Ekiti, General Joe Komolafe (retd.); Oyo, Colonel Olayinka Olayanju (retd.); Ogun, David Akinremi; and Osun, Brigadier General Bashir Adewinbi (retd.).
Ondo State Commander and Chairman of the Corps, Adetunji Adeleye, who spoke on behalf of the others, during a visit to the Olowo palace said, “As a team, we are here on a condolence visit and also, to assess the security situation and proffer our own solution with a view to ensuring that a repeat of this does not happen anywhere in the South-West region again.”
Responding, Oba Ogunoye commended the Amotekun Commanders for effectively securing the South-West region, and said, “You are all trying your best to ensure peace reigns in Yoruba land. We know you have your own challenges. If only the Federal Government would support and allow you to carry sophisticated weapons, no crime will be difficult for you to burst.”
Meanwhile, the monarch has reiterated that only true federalism would bring effective state police that would tackle insecurity at the grassroots level, when a group, under the auspices of the Owo is One Organisation, visited him in his palace to donate drugs and money to victims of the St. Francis Catholic Church attack
The monarch said, “There is no reason why the Federal Government should have the exclusive preserve of the police. The state government should take over policing their various states.
“Let us begin to advocate for true federalism and creation of state police. Let us practice federalism the way it is practiced in other countries. Let us begin to advocate for power devolution. As we cry for the president to save lives, let us go to the National Assembly.”
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has also donated N10m for the treatment of victims of the terror attack.
Atiku’s message was delivered by the candidate of PDP in the last governorship election in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, and some other chieftains of the party at the Olowo’s palace.
Meanwhile, St. John’s Grammar School Old Boys Association of Ile-Ife, Osun State, has mourned one of the victims of the attack, Adesina Ajanaku, an Ile-Ife Prince who was killed along with his wife. The couple will be given mass burial along with 38 other victims of the attack on Friday (today).
The SJOBA President, Dr Festus Oshoba, in a statement made available to The PUNCH, said, “Ajanaku, who served as an ‘Altar boy’ at the weekly holy mass celebrated in the school hall imbibed all the teachings of our late founder and was nicknamed Father John for his piety and dedication to the service of God. He did not depart from his holy ways as he became a Catholic Church leader as a Knight of Saint Mulumba in 2017.”