… “You didn’t fail, you are a strong soldier  –  Bishop Jude Arogundade 

 

Abiodun OBA 

 

Tears flowed freely at the funeral mass for the victims murdered by terrorists at the Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo, Ondo State. 

Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, with his wife, Betty Anyanwu, at the funeral mass for the victims murdered by terrorists at the Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa, Owo, Ondo State said, “What has happened to us in Owo in Ondo state is indescribable”. 

Akeredolu, who wept during his speech, said they had failed to protect the victims of the terror attack. 

He said that the forces on the other side are evil, assuring that they will not triumph forever. 

His words: “We have failed to defend these people. Not because we have not tried, but because these forces on the other side are evil and they have supports. 

“They will not triumph over us forever.” 

The governor noted that something must be done in the country, adding that the security architecture of the nation needs rejigging. 

 “When I see the sea of heads that are here; it speaks volumes. What has happened to us in Owo in Ondo state is indescribable. 

“A lot of words are used to qualify it: dastardly, horrendous. But I still believe there are words to use to describe it, but I am still short of those words. 

 “We have just 22 (deceased) in this hall. A few of them have been buried because the relatives couldn’t wait till today. But as at the last count, these animals came to the church and murdered 40 people.” 

However, in a swift response, the Bishop of Ondo Catholic Diocese, Dr. Jude Arogundade, declared that Governor Akeredolu had not failed in protecting his people. 

Bishop Arogundade said: “You didn’t fail. You are a strong soldier. Your determination to protect those who voted you into power is unquestionable. This was done by cowards. You have tried your best. 

He said he spoke to legislators and they made him realize that genocide is ongoing in Nigeria. 

He added: “If this is not genocide, I don’t know what genocide is. I know they have promised us they will find the killers, all these are flimsy promises. 

“What is this? Why do people have no shame? This country, you don’t have shame any more. 

“They just talk but do not match talks with work. So, my brothers and sisters, you didn’t fail, your country failed you, and we know the leaders that failed us and we will continue to hold them accountable. This will not go away,” he said 

He wondered why Nigerians need to beg for state police, despite the endless attack and killings. 

The clergyman thanked the Governor for accepting to designate a memorial park in honour of the victims, stressing that those who created the situation that made the incident happened has bloods on their hands. 

Recall that at least 40 people, including children were killed on Sunday, June 5 by yet to be identified gunmen during a mass service at the  St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo. 

The incident left about 80 others sustained different degrees of injuries during the attack. 

The venue was filled to the brim as families of the victims, people of Owo, and other sympathisers thronged the venue of the funeral mass. 

Dignitaries at the funeral mass included: former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko; Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Engr. Ade Adetimehin; and Chieftain of the APC, Chief Olusola Oke. 

The local government chairmen were also led by the chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALCON) Ondo State chapter, Augustine Oloruntogbe. 

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