It is has been tales of insecurity in and across Oyo state in the last few weeks from Ibarapa land to Oke – Ogun with residents no longer sleeping with their two eyes closed in most parts of the state as a result of the unpredictable and fragile security situation in the state. BAYO AGBOOLA reports.
Genesis of current problem
The insecurity situation in Oyo state started almost immediately after last year’s EndSARS protest when hoodlums capitalised on the absence of policemen as a result of the series of attacks on them nationwide.
During this period, residents of areas like Beere, Born Photo, Mapo, Agbeni, Oooo Yesa, Labo and many other areas in Ibadan were daily subjected to looting by the hoodlums.
Weeks after, it was rising cases of kidnapping, killing and attacks on farmers and the people of Ibarapa land as well as those in the Oke Ogun axis. In most of these cases, some criminal herders in Ibarapa mostly in Igangan, Ayete, Igboora as well as other remote villages are quickly fingered as being behind it. The situation in Ibarapa land became so worrisome to the extent that owners of filling stations in the area forcefully locked up all their stations while farmers on their part, willingly abandoned their farmlands for fear of being kidnapped by the rampaging herders and criminals.
It was at the peak of insecurity situation in Ibarapa land with the government apparently not doing enough to protect the people that one of their own, in the person of Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho stormed Igangan and handed down a 7-day ultimatum to the Seriki Fulani in the sleepy town as well as to others he claimed to be criminal elements among the Fulani community in the town.
According to Chief Igboho, if the state government is failing in its responsibilities to protect citizens, enough should be enough of the insecurity in the land as according to him, he was ready to yield to the calls of his people to send the criminal elements from Ibarapa land and as well end the series of kidnapping, killings and collection of ransom.
After the tension generated by the visit leading to some Fulanis including the Seriki Fulani leaving for fears of being attacked, the state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde yielded to calls and condemnations from various quarters on the need to visit Ibarapa land and see things for himself.
When Makinde visited crisis area
Although the governor’s visit, to some persons particularly in the opposition was too late yet, the fact remains that the two-day tour turned out to be needed pointer to the way out of the insecurity situation in the area.
Days after the visit, it was Ibadan again with the hoodlums striking again with attack on policemen at Mapo area as the hoodlums hijacked and freed two arrested suspected criminals from policemen.
Police confirms crisis
According to the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ngozi Vivian Onadeke, “At about 1145hrs at Odo-Osun Area of Mapo, police personnel from Mapo Divisional Police Headquarters were deployed to effect the arrest of two notorious miscreants who have been deeply involved in the crisis rocking Shogoye/Akobi areas of Mapo lately. Sequel to the arrest of the two notorious miscreants who were handcuffed, one A.K.A Packaging led some thugs numbering about thirty, attack and mobbed the police team and forcefully took the two miscreants from them. In a bid by the police personnel to escape from being lynched, a shot was fired into the air while the police personnel managed to escape.”
CP Onadeko added, “At about 1220hrs, one Akeem ‘m’ in company of some angry miscreants invaded the police station to report that his younger brother was shot and the miscreants attempted to attack Mapo Police Station, while some cars at the junction leading to the street of the station were damaged. The mob was thereafter repelled by police personnel who were strategically positioned to prevent the station from being attacked. Not too long, at about 1350hrs, the corpse of one Badmus Rasheed ‘m’ 20years was brought to the police station amidst the angry mob that was earlier repealed from attacking the station.”
Further arracks on Amotekun and policemen
Few hours after this, it was another story of four Amotekun operatives and a police officer being attacked by suspected hoodlums at Odeyale Community in Ona Ara local government area where the security operatives had gone to dislodge suspected hoodlums already terrorising the community upon a distress call for help by landlords in the community. Again, some days after, it was the news of Hausa traders fighting with the Yoruba traders at the famous Shasa market in Ibadan leading to the death of some people with several shops, houses set ablazed.
With all these security challenges, it has not been rosy for the Makinde administration as stakeholders in and across the state have minced no words in putting at the doorstep of the administration and the governor in particular.
Former governor of the state and now chairman, Elders Advisory council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala said the state needs a council of state meeting to brainstorm on the security challenges facing the state. “A council of state meeting is a statutory organ of government and its function includes advising the executive in policy-making. Gov Seyi Makinde needs help in the area of maintaining law and order in the polity hence he should not shy away from that fact. He needs to sit down and brainstorm with people who have been there before him to share from their wealth of experiences on how certain things are done especially in the area of security.”
AD berates Makinde
The Alliance for Democracy (AD) chieftain in the state, Engr Hakeem Alao on his part advised Gov Makinde to listen to voices of reasoning on the rising cases of killings, kidnapping and other forms of insecurity in the state before it is too late. He said there was no basis for the governor to ignore advice and suggestions from prominent citizens of the state towards addressing the security situation in the state.
“It is Engr Makinde that should desist from running a close-ended kind of government where he always thinks he has the best idea. He should listen to the leaders of thoughts across all shades of opinions particularly those local security and militant groups as Comrade Adesina Akinpelu, Sunday Igboho, Baba Olororo in Ona-Ara, among others, judging from his near total lack of competence and experience in public service understanding,” he noted.
Gov’t to enforce existing Act against grazing- Makinde
Governor Makinde in a statement personally signed by him said his administration is putting in place necessary measures towards combating the various security challenges facing the state especially at the Ibarapa/Oke Ogun axis of the state starting with the documentation of foreigners in and across the state as well as enforcing Oyo State Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Law, 2019.
“As stated in an earlier press conference, the government will be proceeding with the documentation of foreigners, especially those who are working in mines. This would ensure that only foreigners who have legitimate interests in Oyo state would remain within our territory. The government will continue to enforce the Oyo State Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Law, 2019. This law also regulates the activities of herdsmen in our state. The authorities have directed the Amotekun Corps to continue collaborating with ‘Operation Burst’ and local vigilante groups in enforcing this law. You will recall that in the security meeting of South-West Governors and other stakeholders two days ago, it was agreed that open grazing be banned in the entire South west zone.”
Engineer Makinde disclosed that other measures included the deployment of additional 200 operatives of Amotekun Corps, to man hotspots especially in the Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun zones. He said, “These operatives would launch missions to rid the forests of criminals. They would be presenting daily reports of the activities to the governor in the short run and periodic reports in the long run.” He also said his administration would adopt continuous dialogue as one of the measures aimed at ending insecurity in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axis while noting that in the next few weeks, the government would hold town hall meetings and community outreaches, bring together residents and security agencies to talk about issues of immediate concern and how they can be resolved through dialogue and more effective community policing.
He also hinted that another measure contained in the security strategy is the decision to further collaborate with federal security agencies operating in the state and that the state government would continue to support the police and other federal security agencies posted to the state in the discharge of their duties.
As it is, the fact remains that the security situation in Oyo state needs to be seriously improved upon by Governor Makinde. More than before, he should handle the state security with the needy concentration as the present on-and-off approach would not resolve the security issues in the state.