The security summit convened by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, in Ibadan on the heightened insecurity in the South-west has taken far reaching measures towards nailing the menace in the bud. Writes BAYO AGBOOLA.
Governors, traditional rulers and stakeholders from across the six states in the South-west region of the country recently stormed Ibadan for a security summit convened this time around by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, towards seeking a way out of the increasing spate of insecurity in the zone particularly kidnapping.
Going by the turn-out, there was no doubt the people were fed up with the situation, therefore ready to find the way out.
As at 9am, the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, venue of the summit was already filled with all the prominent royal fathers, religious leaders, politicians, leaders of Pan Yoruba socio-cultural groups, representatives of market women, Myethi Allah, Ndigbo, Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) who were on their seats ready for its commencement.
Few minutes after, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state with his Osun state counterpart, Gboyega Oyetola together with the IGP arrived the venue thereby signaling the commencement of the summit.
Oyo and its new security architecture
Welcoming all the traditional rulers of note from Yoruba land, Governor Makinde disclosed that with the spate of insecurity, state governors across the zone were more than ready to ensure safety and security of the people across the South-west.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Oyo state, I welcome my colleague governors and especially, IGP Mohammed Adamu, the convener of this summit into our midst. My special greetings also go to our royal fathers who came to honour us with their royal presence. You are all welcome to the great city of Ibadan. It would be recalled that as a result of the deteriorating state of security in the zone on June 25, 2019, the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) held a similar summit. The IGP was ably represented at the event.
Speaking further, he said, “In furtherance of this noble and lofty ideal, a holistic framework for security of the South-west is being put up by the commission. Let me at this stage announce that in Oyo state, in the next few days, we shall unveil a security roadmap to improve security infrastructure and awaken
the consciousness of our people, encourage robust partnership with traditional institutions and other well-meaning residents of the state,
The governor minced no words in assuring the police chief about the support of the people saying, “The government of the geo-political zone would provide the enabling environment to operationalise the security initiatives being unveiled. We are committed to a safe and secured South-west and Nigeria at large.”
Governors of Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos states adequately represented by their deputies highlighted their government’s commitment at tackling insecurity in the zone and individual states.
Blueprint gathered that the governors also set aside huge amount of money towards providing logistics particularly patrol vans for security agencies and mapped out technological approaches to tackle crime and criminalities.
IGP reeled out achievements in the zone
Adamu in his speech left no one in doubt about the readiness and commitment of the force to end the chains of security challenges facing Nigeria.
“Generally speaking, the security situation across the country has been stabilised. However, there are isolated cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the South-west, particularly along Benin-Ore-Lagos Highway and across Ondo.
“The reality is that the current concerted operations of the police and other security agencies across the country, particularly along the Niger-Kogi-FCT-kaduna-Kastina and Zamfara areas have engendered a relocation of some of the criminals to new localities including the South-west. In response to this emerging trend, we have been evaluating our operational strategies while straightening our institutional capacity in relation to the generation of actionable intelligence and the conduct of special operations directed at proactively responding to criminal situations across the country,” he said.
“I am delighted to note that ‘Operation Puff Adder’ which we launched as a strategy to stabilise the security profile in the country and other strategies that we have emplaced since January 2019 have so far been a success story. In consequence, between January- August 2019, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the South-west. Similarly, 2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of the figure arrested in South-west while 1,154 kidnapping suspects were also apprehended in various operations. 147 of these were arrested in the South-west. Furthermore, 1,183 suspected cultists have also been arrested with 425 of this figure apprehended in South-western states. In relation to recoveries, 1,356 firearms of various calibre and description were recovered in various intelligence-led operations by the police with 277 of such recoveries made in the same region. Similarly, 21,300 ammunition of various descriptions and calibre were recovered in various intelligence led operations with the highest number of 5,270 ammunition recovered from criminal syndicates in the south west including about 2,700 ammunition recovered in June, 2019 from a cross-border arms smuggling syndicate in Oyo state. Furthermore, 1,541 stolen vehicles were recovered with 482 of such recoveries achieved in the South-west while a total of 837 kidnapping victims were rescued with 106 of such rescues achieved in the South-west.
“The point being highlighted from these statistics is that the Nigeria Police in recent months have developed capacity and demonstrated the requisite professional zeal such that today, we can confidently say we have the institutional capability not only for preventive actions, but for responding effectively to any crime situation or threat with a view to locating and apprehending the criminal elements and disrupting their criminal enterprises across the country. It is this process that we call on you as strategic security stakeholders in the South-west to support us in strengthening in the interest of our communal security. Having succeeded in using ‘Operation Puff Adder’ as an operational vehicle to stabilise the public security space, we are currently moving to the next phase of our strategic policing plan which is woven around two key actions. First is the launch of community policing strategy and the second is the expansion and strengthening of Operation Puff Adder with other complementary strategies. We shall soon re-launch the safer city scheme. We have since purchased new fleet of patrol vans to be deployed across our highways and cities. This will also involve the deployment of cutting-edge CCTV technology for surveillance functions across the highways and vulnerable locations in our communities in the zone and other part of the country,” he reeled out.
Royal fathers’ counsel
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi in his remarks said the level insecurity in the region prevents many Yoruba people based outside the country from coming home.
While lauding the IGP and the governors, he urged them to forget partisan politics and tackle the issues as a family.
Speaking in Yoruba language on behalf of traditional rulers from Osun State, Ooni Ogunwusi said ”it has gotten to a situation where Yoruba in the Diaspora are afraid to come home, to their relatives or go to where they have property due to the fear of being kidnapped or killed”.
The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, in his remark expressed delight saying it would go a long way in facilitating a cordial relationship between the police and the communities.
He however kicked against state police, saying such arrangement cannot work.
Are Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gan Adams in his remarks emphasised the need for the establishment of a state police, saying the country should return to true federalism.
Blueprint gathered that a communiqué which dwelt extensively on the way out was issued at the end of the summit.