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Akeredolu, CDS confirm arrest of Owo church attackers

By Odita Sunday, Ernest Nzor (Abuja) and Oluwaseun Akingboye (Akure)
10 August 2022   |   4:04 am
The military high command has confirmed the arrest of Owo Catholic Church bombers.

Irabor says Abuja is safe, seeks media partnership in war against terrorists

The military high command has confirmed the arrest of Owo Catholic Church bombers.

The arrest, according to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, was made possible by joint operations of all the security agencies.

The CDS said that the suspects, who are members of the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP), had been detained.

Irabor, while speaking with media executives at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja, said that the terrorists, who were nabbed in Kogi State on August 1, 2022, included Idris Abdulmalik Okeiza, Momoh Otueze, Aliyu Yusuf and Awal Oreiza.

He also said that the military, in conjunction with the security agencies, arrested masterminds of the attack, one 32-year-old Idris Ojo at Aiyetor, Ondo State, alongside 39-year-old Jimoh Ibrahim on August 7, 2022.

According to him, Ojo, who was one of those that escaped from the Kuje Prison during the July 5 attack, were planning deadly attacks before they were nabbed by intelligence dragnet of the security agencies.

The CDS, who described reports of terrorists’ invasion of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as fake news, targeted at creating panic among residents of the city, said: “Abuja is safe and has not been invaded by Boko Haram or ISWAP terrorists.”

ALSO, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has confirmed the arrest of the attackers.

The governor, who confirmed the arrest shortly after Irabor made the announcement in Abuja, said that the owner of the house where the attackers stayed before the attack had also been arrested.

Besides, Akeredolu urged the Ebira community in the state to warn some of its members to desist from kidnapping or engaging in other crimes so as not to jeopardise the peaceful co-existence among the people.

He said this, yesterday, during a courtesy visit to his office in Akure by leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), led by Chairman of the Council, Adeleke Adegbite.

The governor said that recent reports from victims of kidnap in the state had established that some Ebira indigenes are now involved in the wicked and dastardly act.

MEANWHILE, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the Federal Government of using routine media propaganda in the case of the terrorists that bombed and killed over 50 Catholic Church worshippers in Owo, Ondo State.

The rights group, in a statement by its National Co-ordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in Abuja, said the public celebration by the government of the nabbing of the suspected terrorists in the Owo genocide inside the Catholic Church is not the main issue because the government is not doing enough to prosecute the terrorists or protect their detention centres, thereby enabling their easy escape from custody. 

It said there is no guarantee that the Owo incident would be different because in the last seven years, no significant mass murderers have been prosecuted, jailed and secured inside the prisons.

According to HURIWA, the arrest of the attackers will remain in the realm of empty media propaganda until the Federal Government, through the attorney-general of the federation, prosecutes and obtains conviction of the attackers.

Akeredolu, who lauded the NUJ in the state for the cooperation extended to his administration, assured them of sustained efforts at developing the state.

To further sustain gains on security, he disclosed that aside the recent recruitment and training of new Amotekun personnel, 20 hunters and local vigilantes will be trained by the Amotekun corps in each of the 18 local government areas in the state.
While the NUJ Chairman of the NUJ thanked the Governor for his support for the management of OSRC and Owena Press PLC, adding that the upgrade of facilities in the two state-owned media outfits is commendable.

Adegbite equally appreciated the Governor for the approval of the weigh-in allowance for journalists and information officers working in the state and local government service.