The perpetrators of the June 5, 2022, terrorist attack on the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, which left 40 parishioners dead and numerous others injured, are being sought by security officials.
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, disputed the Federal Government's earlier accusation that terrorists carried out the attack from the Islamic State West Africa Province.
The sponsors have reportedly been identified, and security personnel have warned all port and border authorities to watch them.
According to information released on Tuesday by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, suspected terrorists connected to the Owo incident were detained on August 1 in Kogi state.
Idris Ojo, an ISWAP leader who escaped from the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Center on July 5 and Momoh Abubakar, Aliyu Itopa, Auwal Onimisi, Idris Omeiza, and Jimoh Ibrahim, are among those in detention, according to Irabor.
Irabor named Omeiza and Ibrahim as the alleged attack's leaders.
However, in a statement released Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Richard Olatunde, Akeredolu criticized the CDS for the list of suspects.
In contrast to what the CDS said, Ojo was one of the escapees from Kuje Prison, according to Akeredolu.
"I don’t want to be emphatic on that point because what I said is being mixed up now. I addressed issues on the terrorists who came to Owo on June 5, and at the same time, I went ahead to address kidnap incidents that we have had recently, and I said Ebira people were probably involved in this. I also said we were going to call a meeting with the Ebira community within Ondo State. We have lived together for too long for this sort of incident to happen and that was a separate thing," the Governor said in an interview on Monday after fielding questions regarding the profiling of the attackers' ethnicity as Ebira people.
“But it is clear, from what we have, that a terror gang in Okene… we all know that Okene is a land of the Ebira. The terror gang in Okene were involved in the incident of June 5. What do we make of that? Are they all Ebira? That is for us to find out."
“We can’t conclude with their names because we can see that a number of them have two names like so, so and so Ibn something. The Department of State Security is still looking at this. So, we must live that until they come out with the proper location of where they come from before we jump to the total conclusion.
“For me, I know that there is a terror cell in Okene, and everybody knows that, and they strike across the country. They strike in Kogi, Ekiti and strike in Ondo State. But this terror cell is one that must be confronted and eliminated. What I’m trying to say is that my reference to the Ebira during a courtesy visit by the union of journalists was on incidents that happened recently, and I said no, these were our brothers, we have lived together for long, they cannot get involved in this sort of trade. Let them concentrate on their farming and their trade rather than getting involved in the kidnapping. So, that was a different case.”©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.