Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state, on Wednesday, assured that the state government will provide land in a good environment for the mass burial of the victims of the Owo terror attack.
Akeredolu disclosed this while playing host to a team of Catholic Bishops from the South-West led by Most Reverend Leke Abegunrin, on a condolence visit to the Governor at his Ijebu-Owo residence in Owo.
This is even as the Catholic Bishop of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade said the Church will be organising a befitting burial for the lost souls.
Akeredolu noted that 127 persons were involved in the attack while 61 survivors are still on admission in different hospitals, disclosing that 26 persons have been discharged while 40 persons died.
The governor added that the new figure followed the harmonization of the reports from the various hospitals including the private ones, and urged the people to discountenance the figures earlier rolled out.
Akeredolu explained that the state government has set up an account for donations following a series of the calls and demands for an account number by well-meaning individuals who are desirous of helping the families of the victims and the survivors and assured that all the donations made would be judiciously utilized for the purpose it is meant for.
He said, “What we witnessed in Owo on that Sunday, I have been looking for a word to describe it but I’m not too sure I can find one because it is indescribable. There is no word to describe it. If you say horrific, dastardly, horrendous, all those ones are common words and we use them for many things.
“But I have been looking for a better word to use because we have witnessed barbaric elements, animals in human’s skin. If you are humans you would not do what they have done. Maybe there are areas where they will do such a thing and they are not worried. But here were are worried because it is not something we are used to. Human life means a lot to us.
“That is why one is moved. We will have a Memorial Park here where those who died in the attack will be buried. My Bishop sir, we will find a good place as a Memorial Park. It will also be my suggestion that even if there are people who have retrieved their family or members of their family, we must still have a symbolic grave there for them. And it will be there forever, it is not something we can forget and we should never forget it.
On the update on the figures, the governor said “the medical team led by the Commissioner for Health has sent figure to us, and it is slightly different. What I put out during my address on the broadcast to the State was wrong and we must accept it.
“The figure I have now shows that 127 persons were involved and that the number of death now is 40. On admission receiving treatment, we have 61. 26 have been discharged. Those are the figures we have now from the commissioner for Health. So, the government is not hiding anything.
Earlier, Bishop Abegunrin, expressed his sadness over the unexpected attack, describing it as an attack on God.
“We were saddened when watching on our small phones and later in the evening the whole episode as it was on the public television, it was really sad. The Bishop of Yoruba land in Lagos and Ibadan province are here to commiserate with you, the Owo people, the people of Ondo State and with our brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church and Ondo Diocese.
“It is very painful, it can provoke people to retaliate and do what is ungodly but we are people of faith; we leave everything to God to judge but humanly speaking, we heard what you have been doing in the state that those people who did this havoc to us will be brought to book before long and we are happy about that.
“For some time now since Amotekun started we know what you have been doing in Ondo State, that you are protecting the people in cities and villages. Even with threats and warnings, you shun every threat to provide security for the people and their property.
“They attack human beings, but our own interpretation is that they attack God and the consequences are awaiting them. Whatever you have to do to bring them to book l, I pray God to assist and protect you. We thank you for your action, you are not just a Governor but filled with action. You are articulate, you are not afraid. You made your place known loudly and openly that you are not for nonsense and that you care for your people and Nigeria,” the Bishop said.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Ondo, Most Reverend Jude Arogundade said the visit was to comfort one another and also inform the Governor about the plan to organize a befitting burial for the lost souls.
“We are gathered here to comfort one another, it has been very difficult and painful not just because the incident happened in Owo but in Ondo Diocese. We are preparing for the funeral of the people who died in the incident
“You have always taken the Catholic Church so highly in everything, that is the kind of person you are because you love God and respect him and you are a man of your word, you are the kind of leader we look up to in Yoruba land and Nigeria,” he said.
Members of the state executive council led by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu joined the Governor to receive the visitors.