The federal government said Sunday’s attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, by gunmen leading to the death of worshippers is linked to the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).
This was disclosed by the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of Thursday’s National Security Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister, who briefed alongside the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali, said the police have been ordered to go after the perpetrators of the act and bring them to justice.
He said the imprint of ISWAP has been found on the scene of the attack, vowing that they will be brought to Justice.
The minister said ISWAP’s aim is to pit Nigerians against each other by this attack to make it appear as ethno-religious war.
“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 form all indications, we are zeroing in on the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).
“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.
The minister said the security council was worried about the 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 said.
He said the current administration would 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 State next month by principally Nigeria Police and other security agencies, with the military at the background,” he said.
Also speaking, IGP Boss Usman Alkali said 10,000 additional police officers would be graduating next month and would be added to the security architecture to enhance efficiency.
He said the police would be leading other security agencies to monitor the June 18, 2022 elections in Ekiti State, stressing that over 17,000 police officers and men have been mobilized to maintain law and order during the election.
He also disclosed that over 500 arrests have been made in the last two months, for crimes bordering on kidnapping
“In particular, my briefing to the Security Council covers a period from 21st April, when we had our last meeting to yesterday 8th June. 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, book haram and terrorism in general,” he said.
He said efforts are ongoing to rescue victims of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack who are still in captivity.
The meeting was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; Service Chiefs and heads of other security agencies.