Chairman Oyo state chapter of South-western Security Network (SWSN) codenamed Operation Amotekun, Brigadier-General Kunle Togun (rtd), Monday alerted that commercial motorcyclists (otherwise called Okada in the Nigerian parlance) from neighbouring West African countries were spying for kidnappers and bandits sneaking into the region.
Togun, who headed the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), raised the alarm in Ibadan while speaking with journalists.
He said the foreigners came to Oyo state and others in trailers during the COVID -19 lockdown, and could not speak any Nigeria language but French whenever they were accosted by his men.
Describing Nigerians as not being security conscious, the former DMI boss said: “Most of them (non-Nigerians) that were dumped here by trailers during the COVID -19 lockdown have turned to Okada riders, many are carrying wheelbarrows all over the place, selling carrots, orange and the rest, the Okada riders are the spies.”
He said: “We have noted that and we are working on government policy that will curtail the use of these people to foment crisis in Oyo state and the Yorubaland as a whole.”
Speaking further, the Amotekun boss blamed some traditional and community leaders in the state for the high rate of insecurity in their areas, saying the warning from Governor Seyi Makinde to traditional rulers to stop allocating lands to herdsmen with no papers showing Nigerian nationality would go a long way to stem the spate of killing and kidnapping in Yorubaland.
The former DMI boss said the greedy nature of some traditional and community leaders in many Yoruba towns led to high rate of insecurity, which, according to him, Amotekun was curbing.
“Before Amotekun was established, the problem of Yorubaland since the invasion of the land by these herdsmen has been our traditional chiefs and leaders in Yorubaland, they take money, cows and cars from these people, and allow them to settle and wreak havoc in their domains.
“I have attended meetings of Obas in Oke-Ogun and I told them to stop giving lands to foreigners, these herdsmen are called Bororos in Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa areas, they are not Nigerians. What is happening should not be analysed in the area of religion, it is territorial expansion,” Togun said.
He further said though “their leaders argue about the ECOWAS Free Movement law, but the one I am aware of is that anybody from ECOWAS country can go into another ECOWAS country without visa but you cannot stay there for more than ninety days at a stretch, some of these people have been occupying our land for years and they are not Nigerians.”
Ondo herders get ultimatum
In a related development, Ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has issued a seven-day ultimatum to all herders to vacate forest reserves within the state.
Governor Akeredolu gave the ultimatum Monday in Akure at a meeting with leaders of Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities in the state.
He said the herders’ activities had long been a threat to security in the state.
“Today we have taken major steps at addressing the root cause of kidnapping, in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo state.
“These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.
“As the Chief Law and Security Officer of the State, it is my constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the State. In light of the foregoing, the following orders are hereby issued:
“All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021.
“Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night; movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited and under-age grazing of cattle is outlawed,” the statement said.
Akeredolu further said: “Our resolution to guarantee the safety of lives and property within the State shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban.
“In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattle-rearing business to register with appropriate authorities.”
Meanwhile, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji has said no fewer than 35 bandits were neutralised following the encounter with them in two different locations in Zamfara state.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche said this in a statement made available to Blueprint in Gusau, state capital Monday.
“Following credible intelligence on movement of armed bandits with rustled animals at Bungudu LGA of Zamfara State, troops of Forward Operating Base Kekuwuje yesterday 17 January, 2021 responded immediately and made contact with bandits. In the course of the encounter 30 armed bandits were neutralised while 24 cows and unspecified number of sheep were recovered,” the statement said.
Enenche further said on the same day, troops at Maradun received information of reprisal by armed bandits and “swiftly mobilised to the area to forestall the reprisal attack and our troops were ambushed short of Janbako village where fire fight ensued and overwhelmed the terrorists killing five of them during encounter with them.”
He said following a tipoff, two suspected bandits’ collaborators named Mustapha Sani and Murtala Sani were arrested at Dungun Muazu village in Sabuwa local government area of Katsina state, and were still in custody for further action.
Enenche assured that the military and other security agencies would sustain the offensive against the enemies of the nation, promising to ensure normalcy is restored to all troubled zones across the country.
30 killed, NAF loses one
Also, troops of Sector 1 of Operation HADARIN DAJI Monday neutralised 30 armed bandits at the Maje Riverline near Yar Katsina village under Bungudu local government area of Zamfara state.
Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola announced this in a statement.
He said the success was achieved when the troops from Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) at Kekunwaje, Kwatarkwashi and Maru, comprised mostly of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Special Forces (SF) personnel, were mobilised in response to reports that scores of armed bandits, along with a large number of rustled livestock, were spotted heading towards Kekuwuje-Yar Kastina road.
“The troops made contact with the armed bandits along the Yar Katsina Road and overpowered them with superior firepower in the ensuing gun battle. The troops subsequently pursued the bandits and cornered them at the Maje Riverline, neutralizing 30 of them,” Ibikunle said.
He , however, said one NAF Special Forces personnel, an aircraftman in person of Sunday Enwa, who fought gallantly during the encounter, paid the supreme price while 3 others, who sustained gunshot wounds during the operation were also evacuated for medical treatment.
“The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of the fallen hero and prays that the Almighty God grants his soul peaceful repose,” Ibikunle further said.No tags for this post.