The Nigerian government says the fatal attack on a Catholic church in Ondo State was likely carried out by a terror group, ISWAP.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said this while briefing journalists after Thursday’s National Security Council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Council is quite concerned about the violent attack in Owo, Ondo State. We have been able to locate the imprints of the perpetrators of that attack and from all indications, we are zeroing in on the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP),” Mr Aregbesola said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how dozens of people were killed when gunmen attacked worshippers on Sunday at the St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State.
At least 40 people are believed to have died in the attack with the lawmaker representing the area saying 70 people were killed.
Mr Aregbesola said ISWAP’s aim is to pit Nigerians against each other by making the attack appear an ethnoreligious war.
“It is not an ethnoreligious thing. The ISWAP members wanting attention and recognition are suspected to have carried out that attack and we have directed all the agencies concerned to go after them and bring them to justice,” he said.
He also said the security council is concerned about the killing of innocent people because of ‘blasphemy.’ At least two people have been killed by different mobs (in Sokoto and Abuja) for alleged blasphemy.
“We are equally concerned about the spate of attacks in the name of blasphemy. The police have been directed to mobilize, identify and apprehend all those involved in the blasphemy attacks in Sokoto and Abuja of recent,” he said.
He said the current administration will not relent in its effort to provide adequate security to citizens across the country.
“The assurance is that we are committed to maintaining law and order and providing adequate security for Nigerian citizens,” he said.
The former Osun governor also spoke of the preparedness of security agencies for the forthcoming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
“Appropriate preparation is put in place for the elections coming up in Ekiti State this month and Osun State next month by principally Nigeria Police and other security agencies, with the military at the background,” he said.
Also speaking, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, said 10,000 additional police officers will be graduating next month and would be added to the existing police force.
Mr Alkali said the police will be leading other security agencies to monitor the June 18 election in Ekiti State. He said over 17,000 police officers have been mobilized to maintain law and order during the election.
He also disclosed that over 500 crime suspects have been arrested in the last two months.
“I informed the council that we have made arrest of over 584 suspects involved in high profile crimes; ranging from banditry, IPOB, book haram and terrorism in general,” he said.
He also said efforts are on to rescue victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack who are still in captivity.
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