Aftermath Of Owo Church Attack: 70% Of Our People Have Left – Sarkin Hausawa

By Abbas Dalibi

The recent terrorists attack on Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, in which many lives were lost, left horror and anguish in its wake. In this interview, Alhaji Nuruddeen Abubakar, the Sarkin Hausawa of Owo, the traditional ruler of the Arewa Community in the town, tells Daily Trust Saturday disturbing tales of the community’s share of the catastrophe.

Who is Alhaji Nuruddeen Abubakar?

I am the Sarkin Hausawa of Owo in Ondo State. I followed my father to this town many years ago. In those days, our parents used to travel from the North to Owo Town for businesses, especially trading. My father was travelling to the town for over 80 years and I later joined him. I have been living in the town in the last 40 years. In fact, I am married to a Yoruba woman from Owo and we had 10 children though two of them are late. The rest are in school. Some of them are in the universities, some in secondary schools, while others are in primary schools.

Before the terrorists’ attack, did the Arewa Community ever have any insecurity threat or attack?

Before the recent terrorists’ attack, hoodlums used to attack the Arewa Community in Owo, robbing them of their property. As a result of the attacks which have become regular, more than 70 per cent of Arewa people living in the area have relocated to the North. But for me, I can’t go anywhere because I have settled down here.

What’s the atmosphere like in the community since the recent terrorists’ attack?

We have been living in fear since then. On that very fateful Sunday, some hoodlums invaded our community, chasing our people with dangerous weapons. Majority of us are traders, while some of our youths are commercial bike riders known as okada riders. The Fulani that live among us are nomadic herders. When the hoodlums struck, they dispersed traders and robbed them of their commodities. They invaded our shops at Oja Oba and stole our commodities such as rice, beans and other food items which we sell in the markets. They also destroyed the water melons that were brought from the North in three trucks. They vandalized tomatoes and other perishable goods. They also attacked several individuals and collected money and other valuables from them. Afterwards, they moved to Towashi where they collected over N600,000 from our traders as well as two bikes when they attacked some bike riders. But we later recovered the bikes from the police. The hoodlums also invaded the Scraps Market where our people deal in scraps. They vandalized their property and made away with some of them.

The attackers also invaded the Fulani settlement at Ishuwada Junction where they also collected over N600,000 from their victims. As if all these were not enough, they also descended on the Sarkin Fulani house where they attacked the herders and their women and collected some money from them. Hoodlums have been posing big threats to us.

The traditional rulers have been trying their best to address the insecurity situation. They are calming us down to avoid reprisal. They also conduct several meetings with us. But the hoodlums are a serious threat to us.

What is the current situation in Owo Town?

More than 70 per cent of our people have fled the community. The Fulani herdsmen have left with their cattle, while the Hausa have gone back to the North. But I am going no where; I’ve spent more than 40 years here and raised a big family. So, where am I running to again? Who am I going to leave my family with? We have been living peacefully with our hosts and we don’t know anything about the church attack. We don’t have hands in it.

Some security personnel from the Nigeria Army and Amotekun came to our community in Sabo last Friday and made some investigations from house to house and shop to shop. They searched everywhere but could not find any harmful thing in the community. They asked every one of us living in Sabo, including the Yoruba to come out and sit on the bare ground where they conducted the search. They checked every shop and house but could not trace any weapon to us, except some cutlasses used by herders for grazing. After their investigations, they told us that they couldn’t find anything harmful even though they were told that there had been weapons in our possession. It is only one Fulani man that refused to come out when people were asked do so. He decided to lock himself in his shop. When they broke in, they found him making calls. He and one other man who refused to comply were arrested and taken away by soldiers.

What do you want the government to do?

I want government to do a through investigation and get to the root of the matter, especially the church attack and arrest those behind it. Government should also provide adequate security for us because we are innocent. We have been living here for decades, doing our legitimate businesses. We are now living in fear and need adequate security and relative peace.

Aftermath Of Owo Church Attack: 70% Of Our People Have Left – Sarkin Hausawa – Politics – Nigeria (

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