By Funmi Branco
Whichever way one looks at it, the security situation in the country is at a critical stage. It is ominous. In the last few weeks, in particular, terrorists masquerading as herders have unleashed mayhem on Nigerians, killing and maiming people at will. In part emboldened by the feeble response of the Security apparatus of the state to their nefarious activities, the herders have made the states of the North virtually ungovernable. They have also pushed further down South, particularly the South-West intending to disturb the peace and rupture the traditional climate of calm in the zone. In particular, they have been making strenuous efforts to impose a state of anarchy on the South-West, a situation which informed analysts to make a wake-up call to the Governors in the zone.
There is no doubting the fact that the incessant attacks by Fulani herdsmen and criminals of different hues in the South-West are becoming worrisome. And that is the crux of the editorial intervention under reference, which cites the recent attacks on residents of eight villages in the Imeko-Afon local government area by murderous herders, the violent exchange between herdsmen and some Ohori farmers at Idofa village that left five persons dead, and property worth millions of naira destroyed, among others, to buttress its point that the situation calls for urgent action. One indeed agrees that renewed violence by marauding by herdsmen, kidnappers and armed robbers in the South-West has foregrounded the exigency of adopting a vigorous security response to safeguard lives and property in the region, and that South-West governors need to stop the rampage before the region descends into full-scale anarchy. To be sure, we acknowledge the fact that the security situation in the South-West is becoming worrisome, considering the fact that cases of kidnapping are becoming rampant on the Lagos Ibadan/expressway and in other places, including Yewa area and Ondo and Ekiti states. of the South-West. If anything, the killing of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of Afenifere leader Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Ondo State, among other tragic occurrences, caused the people of the zone deep sorrow.
The reality is that the Ogun State government, conscious of its constitutional mandate, is doing everything humanly possible to ensure that the lives and properties of Ogun people and all Nigerians and non-Nigerians passing through Ogun State are safe.
Ogun State came to the centre stage of discussion in large part because of its status as the gateway to the nation. It shares borders with the international community, and the fact is well known that the country’s borders are porous, a fact which has given invaders from neighbouring countries a leeway. The threat by criminals in Ogun is therefore three-fold: by invaders from neighbouring countries, by armed herders from up North, and by local outlaws. It is a fact that the invaders take refuge in the forests, but that, precisely, is where they will meet their waterloo. Amotekun is well fortified in Yewa and other suburbs to curb their influx. It is working in conjunction with the major security services including Army, Navy, Police, Immigration and Customs and the DSS to curb their incursions into Nigerian territory through the area. Most of the attacks come from the area because of the proximity to the international borders.
The threat by criminals in Ogun is therefore three-fold: by invaders from neighbouring countries, by armed herders from up North, and by local outlaws. It is a fact that the invaders take refuge in the forests, but that, precisely, is where they will meet their waterloo. Amotekun is well fortified in Yewa and other suburbs to curb their influx. It is working in conjunction with the major security services including Army, Navy, Police, Immigration and Customs and the DSS to curb their incursions into Nigerian territory through the area. Most of the attacks come from the area because of the proximity to the international borders.
At the moment, the state government has concluded arrangements to fortify all the 20 local government areas of the state with Amotekun operatives. In doing so, it has addressed all the logistic and operational problems that came up, as well as smoothening the issues of inter-agency collaboration. Some of the operatives had recently concluded their training, fully mobilized to complement the security architecture within the state.
Ogun, arguably the most peaceful state in the country, will not be cowed by the recent attacks by marauding herders. If anything, Amotekun operatives are working hand in hand with other security operatives across the local governments in the state to ensure that people can sleep with their two eyes closed. That has always been Governor Abiodun’s cardinal objective and it has not changed. His antecedents as a major security stakeholder called upon by the Lagos State government to help fight armed robbery and carjacking through state-of-the-art technology stand him in good stead to contain the security threats rearing their heads in the Gateway decisively, and he is doing that admirably well, even though security strategies cannot be unmasked on the pages of newspapers.
The governor has provided all the necessary equipment, including vehicles and security gadgets, to the Amotekun operatives and the state police command. The officers and are combat-ready. On the issue of cultism in Sagamu and other areas, it is apposite to note that the security agencies have arrested over 50 suspects and the police are working to ensure that the area is free of threats. They have been able to build trust in the state. In any case, Ogun and Oyo states Amotekun have set up a joint patrol around the border towns between the two states. They are keeping their men in the forests to fortify the area against threats from bandits. The collaboration, according to Ogun State Chairman of Amotekun, a retired Commissioner of Police, Mr Dave Akinyemi, is yielding good fruit in the area. He has allayed the fears of motorists and people living around the areas. Adequate security has been put in place to check upsurge of criminality in the area .
When the governor came on board, he made successful efforts to rescue RCCG pastors who had been kidnapped by bandits, liaising with Abuja to obtain a helicopter which was used to survey the areas on target. All four pastors were realeased unhurt. He distributed 200 motorcycles and 100 4×4 hilux vans to the police for effective surveillance of the nooks and crannies of the state. That momentum has continued even though there have been challenges emanating from the overarching national security architecture. With the support of critical stakeholders like traditional institutions and the media, the battle will be won.
Branco contributes this piece through firstname.lastname@example.org