By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government says the imprint of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) has been found at the scene of the Sunday’s attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of Thursday’s National Security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about 40 worshippers were confirmed dead, while 127 injured when terrorists believed to be members of ISWAP attacked the Church.
The Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, Jude Arogundade, had earlier said the church recorded 38 deaths.
The minister, who briefed newsmen alongside Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali; said the Police had been ordered to go after the perpetrators of the act and bring them to justice.
According to him, the imprint of ISWAP has been found on the scene of the attack, vowing that they will be brought to Justice.
Aregbesola said that ISWAP’s brutal attack on innocent worshippers was meant to cause social discontent and ethno-religious conflict among Nigerians.
“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).
“It is not an ethno-religious 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.”
The minister further revealed that the council was worried over recent cases of blasphemy in Sokoto State and the Federal Capital Territory, where two people were killed.
“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 added.
According to the minister, the Federal Government 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.
“Appropriate preparation is put in place for the elections coming up in Ekiti State this month and Osun next month by principally Nigeria Police and other security agencies with the military at the background,” he said.
On his part, the police boss, Usman Alkali also hinted that 10,000 additional police officers would be graduating next month, to be added to the security architecture and enhance efficiency.
He added that the police would be leading other security agencies to monitor the June 18, elections in Ekiti and over 17, 000 police officers and men had been mobilized to maintain law and order during the election.
He also disclosed that over 500 arrests had been made in the last two months for crimes bordering on kidnapping.
“In particular, my briefing to the Security Council covers a period from April 21, when we had our last meeting to yesterday, June 8.
“The security profile of the country was analyzed and brought out.
“In that we had achievements and there are cases that are still undetected. I informed the council that we have made arrest of over 584 suspects involved in high profile crimes; ranging from banditry, IPOB, Boko Haram and terrorism in general,” he said.
Alkali revealed that efforts had been intensified to rescue the remaining victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack.
The meeting was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, as well as the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
Others were, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Service Chiefs and heads of other security agencies. (NAN)