The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, could not contain his emotions as he wept bitterly on Friday at the funeral mass for victims of the terror attack at St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.
It would be recalled that it was a black Friday for Nigerians on Sunday, June 5, after gunmen invaded the Catholic church and shot sporadically at worshippers, leaving scores dead and others injured.
The remains of victims who were killed in the attack were laid to rest today, Friday, June 17, with a funeral mass that was held at the Mydas Resort and Hotel, Owo.
Governor Akeredolu and his wife, Chief Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu, were present at the event.
Governor Akeredolu, who wept during his speech, said the government failed to protect the victims of the terror attack.
“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 support. They will not triumph over us forever,” He said.
The governor stated that something needs to be done in the country, and that the country’s security architecture needs to be restructured.
“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 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.” Governor Akeredolu added.
However, the Bishop of Ondo Catholic Diocese, Dr. Jude Arogundade, responded quickly, declaring that Akeredolu has not failed to defend his people.
“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.” Bishop Arogundade said.
He 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.
Members of the State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. David Bamidele Oleyelogun also attended the service.
Members of the state executive council, led by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu, were also present at the funeral mass.
Other 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.