The Owo Carnage and Tasks Before Security Forces

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By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi

In spite of security forces’ efforts to ensure adequate protection of lives and properties of people, however, their attempts have been hampered at various occasions due to persistent activities of non-state actors who are holding the country by the jugulars.

It is trite to assert that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) comprising the Army, Navy and the Air Force has been working in synergy with other security agencies including the Department of State Service (DSS), and Police in fighting criminal syndicates.

Alas, bandits and kidnappers are having their field day in the northwest; insurgents are wreaking havoc in the northeast and ethno-religious clashes are engulfing north-central. Going by the South east, agitators under the disguise identity of ‘unknown gunmen’ are holding the region to ransom, militancy is also becoming more pronounced in the south south, meanwhile rituals and cultists have since identified southwest as their safe haven.

Amidst those challenges, in another masterpiece style of terror attack that rocked the country over the weekend, it was reported how a group of dreadful gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic Church in Owo town area of Ondo state and opened fire on the worshippers. As it was gathered, not less than 20 lives were wasted while a host of others escaped with various degrees of injuries.

As tradition goes by, immediately after the storm, security forces were mobilized to the scene and cordoned the area in search of trails that can lead to unmasking the identity and subsequent arrest of the perpetrators.

Reports also indicated that police were able to uncover three unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the scene of the incident. This was revealed by the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Usman Baba in a press release made available to newsmen.

“The gunmen, from preliminary investigations, invaded the church with arms and materials suspected to be explosives.

“Police investigators who were part of the first responders deployed to the scene have recovered pellets of expended AK-47 ammunition while the Explosive Ordnance Devices Chemical Biological Radiologic and Nuclear Explosives (EOD-CORNE) unit confirmed the use of explosives as fragments of the IEDs used were found and after thorough sweeping of the scene, 3 unexploded IEDs were recovered at the scene of the incident,” Alkali said.

However, truth be told, the time is over rife for the country’s security architecture to draw the line in the sand against these persistent ugly trends of security challenges which are increasing on a daily basis.

The Military and the DSS should go beyond gathering of actionable intelligence, but move ahead in neutralizing the emerging threats prior to their occurrence by implementing workable proactive measures.

While the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is responsible for providing the military with the required intelligence and information, on the other hand, the DSS is mandated with gathering of domestic intelligence aimed at enhancing security both at local, state, regional and national levels.

It has been noted that, the secret police had on several occasions alert citizens on the looming threat being schemed by mischief makers, but failure from the government and other security institutions to act promptly on such intelligence have led to many security breaches where a lot of lives were lost.

This is even as he recalled that the Department of State Services (DSS) had on March 20 issued a statement claiming that it had discovered plans to cause violence in parts of the country, particularly in the north-central. Exactly nine days later, a group of terrorists attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train, killed over a dozen passengers and injured several others.

Once again, on April 26, 2022, the SSS alerted Nigerians on alleged plans by some dangerous elements to launch bomb attacks on critical infrastructure and public places like worship and relaxation centres, especially during and after the festive celebrations.

As predicted by the famous intelligence agency, a group of unmasked armed terrorists just invaded Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state where they detonated explosives in the church and then gunned down worshippers during service on Sunday, June 5, 2022.

These series of brutal attacks could not be unconnected to the handy work of evil makers who are enemies of the state and do not want the country to continue existing as a single corporate entity. Thus, security personnel across every outfit should rise up to this challenge and go after these devilish people in full force with all the available logistics at their disposal.

This is necessary especially now that we are in the electioneering period where the polity is being heated up due to the approaching of 2023 upcoming elections. Bad elements will surely use this chance to continue plotting evil acts.

Nonetheless, the perpetrators of Owo massacre and a lot of others who declared war against the Nigerian state and the citizens should be arrested and brought before the law to face that kind of justice existing between God and that of a man. They should not escape justice! Never!

Mukhtar wrote from Kano.