Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola has said the Federal Government will not be deterred in its effort to ensuring adequate security of lives and property of Nigerians.
He made the pledge in the wake of the killing of worshipers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State by gunmen.
In a statement issued on Monday in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Sola Fasure, the minister spoke when he paid a condolence visit to Owo to sympathise with those who lost their loved ones in the incident.
He described the killing of the worshipers as devastating, senseless and an attempt to ignite ethnic violence.
Aregbesola said that the attack was to dampen the moral of the government and Owo community, pointing out that the criminals were going after soft targets because they have been weakened.
The minister, who conferred with the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin III, called for collaborative efforts between traditional institutions and law enforcement agencies in apprehending the fleeing criminals.
He said that every piece of information on the attack was very important as it would go a long way in assisting the security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some gunmen had on Sunday, June 5, attacked St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, killing unspecified number of worshippers.
Aregbesola visited the church alongside Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
They were received by the Church’s officiating priest, Rev. Father Andrew Abayomi.
“It is worrisome that the attack happened in the South-West that has a measure of peace and tranquility.
“While the motive of the perpetrators is yet to be ascertained, there is no doubt that their cowardly act is intended to cause chaos and instill fear in the people, provoke bloody inter and intra ethnic crises.
“This could only have been intentioned to destabilise the state and plunge the nation into needless crisis.
“Their action is capable of widening the cracks in national harmony and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians, stoking ethnic and religious crises and pitting our people against one another on the basis of primordial cleavages,” he said.
The minister appealed to them to reject the ugly and backward agenda and refuse to take any rash, inappropriate, primitive and precipitate action in the spirit of revenge.
“Our neighbours from other parts of the country with whom we have lived together in peace and harmony are not and cannot be the enemy.
“We must not be provoked to senselessly attack each other in reaction to the evil plot of some nihilists and criminals bent on plunging the nation into chaos and anarchy.
“Those who attacked innocent people worshipping in the house of God are the enemies. They are cowardly savages and animals, “he said.
Aregbesola assured that the entire security system of Nigeria was on the trail of the enemies that were responsible for the havoc.
“We are on their trail, they will be apprehended and made to pay dearly for this unprovoked attack,“ he said.
The minister said the security of lives and property of Nigerians remained number one agenda of the Federal Government.
He said that the Federal Government was going to do everything possible to make the nation secure and peaceful.
Aregbesola said the Federal Government was outraged by the attack and would leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of it.
“We must remain irrepressible and undeterred. We should not give the enemies the benefit of rejoicing over us. The attack was meant to dampen our morale and plunge us to gloom and darkness.
“We must bounce back big time. We should rise to defend our land and take our historic position in leading the black race to fulfilling its destiny,” he said.