News about the incursion of Boko Haram members and bandits from the north into the South-west is sending shivers down the spines of residents as LATEEF DADA narrates.
The deadly Boko Haram sect has posed a serious threat to the security of the country as many lives have been lost due to serial attacks especially in the North-east flank of the country where they are said to have their operational base.Economic activities have therefore, been badly affected such that many people were forced to leave their houses in their attempt to escape from being killed by the rampaging sect. As a result of that, a lot took to shelter at the various internally displaced persons (IDP)s camps which has continued to rise.However, it is now posing a serious concern as activities of the sect are no longer limited to the northern part but has spread its tentacles to the South west, a development that has created tension in the minds of the young and old in the region.
The recent unrest caused by the sect’s invasion of South west has sent residents into panic mode with traditional rulers and security agencies devising means of driving the sect members back to the north where they were alleged to have come from.
Criminals are miners from Zamfara – Osun gov
Recently, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun state, at a security sensitisation programme, said the criminals that invaded the state were fleeing illegal miners and bandits displaced from Zamfara state. Consequently, he directed security agencies and traditional rulers to be at alert. According to the governor, “It has become imperative to put measures in place to checkmate the influx of displaced illegal miners to prevent the reverberation effect of the Zamfara state crisis in Osun.” The statement of the governor has not been disclaimed by anybody thereby confirming that the displaced sects have indeed invaded the region.
Investigation further revealed that the displayed Boko Haram members are actually part of those involved in kidnapping and robbery in the region. Their presence in many areas, according to investigation, are confirmation about their complicity in the act. Feelers from the areas where they are said to be operating also confirmed that the criminals are from the north and neighbouring countries.Recent sordid actsJust recently, two officials of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) by the names Bayeguni and Abioye, were kidnapped along Akure-Ilesa while returning to Ondo state from Osun. The amount paid to secure the release of the officers were not disclosed and no clear explanation was given on their release. The kidnapped of FRSC officials had sent a signal to the government of Osun and Ondo states that the kidnappers are operating within the two states.
A few days ago, Dayo Adewole, son of the immediate past minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, was also kidnapped by unknown gunmen on his farm in Iroko, Afijio local government area of Oyo state. Though, he was released the following day, it was gathered that huge amount was paid to secure his release. This also confirmed the operation of the criminals within Osun and Oyo axis of the South-west.
Meanwhile, the kidnap of Adewole occurred days after a local government official, Ademiju Adenipekun, was killed along Ikire-Ibadan road when suspected armed robbers shot at his car to stop him. The late Adenipekun was going to Ibadan from Osu, in Atakumosa West local government area of Osun state. The local government has been in the news because of illegal miners who operate in Itagunmodi, Iyere, Igun, Eepe, Gbedeye where the illegal gold miners from the north have been operating.
The continuous incidence of kidnapping has shown that people of the South West are in serious security problem. Although, the governors in the zone have moved to organise a security meeting to discuss a better way of approaching the issue, not until drastic steps are taken to stop the criminalities, the area will continue to live in fear and anxiety as the bandits do not relent in their dastard acts through different tactics.
Efforts to tackle menace
Blueprint learnt that traditional rulers in the zone, Oodua Peoples Congress, vigilante group and security agencies have now realised the danger as they now consider it necessary to join hands with government to end the menace that has created fear in the minds of the people.
Apparently bothered by the spate of insecurity, the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) took a bold step to meet with Fulani herdsmen, advising them to reveal the identity of suspected kidnappers among them within days, failure which they said they would be forced to use any available means to tackle the criminals. The security meeting called by the leader of OPC in Osun state, Alhaji Leke Akintayo, popularly known as Olojongbodu, involved the Dan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria and Miyetti Allah Castle Breeders Association.
But as government and stakeholders continue to devise means to rid South west of crimes, the criminals also do not relent in advancing new method for their operation. So far, investigation reveals that none of the bandits has been apprehended by security operatives.
In recent times investigation showed that the sect members have fashioned ways of deceiving people with free ticket to the Holy land in order to perform the fifth pillar of Islam.
One of their victims, Iyabode Adijat Tadese, a community health practitioner, explained that she joined the group with the aim of propagating the tenets of Islam, not knowing that members of her group in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, are affiliates of Boko Haram.
According to her, she was promised everything she would need in life, but rejected the offer for a free ticket to Saudi Arabia before she got to know that the society had a link with Boko Haram.
She explained that she got to know that some people have received the free ticket and were sent on suicide missions to neighbourhood states most especially the North east part of the country. According to her, that was when it occurred to her that the group was recruiting people from the region by luring them with money and Hajj.
“I reported to the police but, the group continued to pursue my life with serious threat. So far, no arrest has been made by the police,” she explained.
Rejecting the offer when the secret has opened was an unfortunate and bad moment for the woman. According to the woman, on July 25, 2018 when she received a call from her neighbours that some men armed with guns, cutlasses and other ammunition with their faces covered were vandalising her house. It now occurred to the woman that her refusal to accept the offer would likely cost her life.
Since then, the woman who is a certificated birth assistant found her ways to the United States of America knowing fully well that her life was in danger.
Speaking with Blueprint on telephone, the woman expressed sadness over the rate at which experts have been leaving Nigeria on account of insecurity. She advised Nigerians to jointly fight the sect with the government in order to give the country a good name among the comity of nations.