Owo Attack: Ondo Women Perform Ritual To Help Arrest Assailants

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Women in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo state, who were mostly traders at the popular Oja Oba Market in Owo, Ondo State, staged a protest Tuesday to mourn victims of the shooting at Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owo.

The women marched to the church where the incident had occurred.

Armed with knives and leaves, the protesters performed traditional rites at the market, invoking the god of Iron (Ogùn) to go after the assailants.

They also rained curses on the gunmen.

The gunmen had stormed the church on Sunday, as worshippers were marking the Feast of Pentecost and opened fire on the congregation.

They also detonated explosives as the worshippers scampered for safety.

At least 70 people were killed and injured, according to Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi, the lawmaker representing Owo Constituency I, who visited the scene shortly after the attack.

But Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, in a state-wide broadcast on Tuesday, put the casualty figures as 22 dead and 58 injured.

Police said the gunmen got to the church at about 11.30 a.m.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the assailants approached the church during the service, started shooting from outside the church while others numbering about four shot directly into the church,” police said in a statement.

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The women also chanted incantations in their local dialect as they placed the leaves and knives on the floor as part of the ritual process.

Leading the protest, a former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development in the state, Yemi Mahmood, said that the ritual conducted by the market women was done to track down the evil perpetrators.

“The town has been thrown into mourning since that day (Sunday) and that is why the market women are coming out because this has never happened in Owo,” said Mrs Mahmood.

“We came out for this protest and to, as well, curse those people who have the audacity to come to Owo to commit this kind of havoc. A ritual has just been done to track them down. Wherever they are by the grace of God they shall be arrested.”

After the ritual, the women also marched to the palace Olowo of Owo, Ajibade Ogunoye.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Ogunoye assured that the perpetrators would not go unpunished.

He urged the women to pacify their children to not take laws into their hands, as plans are underway to apprehend the assailants.

“I am with you in all you do. As you can see, I just finished a meeting with other monarchs, we are not resting on our oars until these perpetrators are fished out.,” said the monarch.

“But please, I already appealed to the youths yesterday. Go home again and pacify them, tell them not to take laws into their own hands. It is not the Fulanis living with us that are responsible for this but may the deities of this land catch the perpetrators.”

Source: Premiumtimes

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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