Owo Attack: Declare State of Emergency on Forest Reserves — Reps Urge FG

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila [PHOTO CREDIT: @FemiGbajabiamila]
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamil

The House of Representatives has urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all forest reserves in Owo, Ondo State, to aid the arrest of the attackers of the St. Francis Catholic Church in the town.

The House directed the police to intensify the search for the perpetrators of the attack, which claimed about 40 lives.

The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Timehin Adelegbe (APC, Ondo) on Thursday during the plenary.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how gunmen stormed the St. Francis church, Owo, Ondo State, during Sunday service on June 5, opened fire on the congregation, and also detonated explosives as the worshippers scampered for safety.

According to Ondo State Government, 127 persons were affected, including 40 dead.

The federal government had claimed that the attack was carried out by ISWAP, a terrorist group affiliated with the Islamic State terror network.

In 2021, the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had ordered herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the state.

Mr Akeredolu said the activities of the herdsmen have long been causing a threat to security in the state.

“All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven days with effect from today, Monday 18th January 2021,” the governor had directed.

The ultimatum by the governor generated a response from the president, condemning the directive.

Garba Shehu, media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement encouraged the state government to tackle all forms of criminality but not breach the rights of herders in the state.

The Motion

Mr Adelegbe said armed groups have been attacking Owo and Ose Local Government Areas of the state in the past few years.

He said a similar attack was carried out against Molege Community within Ose Local Government Area of the State, leading to the death of many and destruction of properties.

The lawmaker cited the killing of Olufon of Ifon in Ose council, Israel Adewusi. He added that kidnappers have been on a rampage in the constituency.

The motion was adopted by the House without debate. (PREMIUM TIMES)