Worried about the likely infiltration of illegal miners and bandits displaced from Zamfara State, the Osun State Government Wednesday urged security stakeholders and traditional rulers to be at alert to prevent all forms of criminality.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said: “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.”
He spoke in Osogbo, the state capital, yesterday at a security sensitasation programme attended by traditional rulers, security operatives, civil society organisations, politicians, market women, community leaders and top government functionaries.
The governor spoke on the need for security powered by intelligence gathering, vigilance by traditional rulers in their domain and the need to alert security agents on their observation to prevent crime and criminality.
Some of the security chiefs at the meeting raised the alarm on the infiltration of mining sites in the state by some bandits and urged the rulers to assist the operatives so that the invaders do not have a foot hold.
The top security chiefs cautioned landlords against renting out houses to people without knowing their background or profiling them.
“If you rent out your house to a person who turns out to be a bandit, you will bear the consequence with him,” Governor Oyetola warned landlords.
He urged traditional rulers to work hard in the villages because illegal miners “are gathering in remote areas of our state.”
The federal government banned all forms of mining in Zamfara State following sustained killings by bandits propelled by those believed to be illegal miners.
The governor said: “The purpose of the stakeholders’ meeting is to sensitize the security stakeholders on the need to forestall possible influx of illegal miners and the attendant risks of kidnapping, killings, drug dealings, arms peddling and rape.
“The overall objective is to better secure our state, make our minerals-rich communities peaceful, make mining commercially viable and deliver development to our people.
“In a nation where securing our oil wealth has been a perennial challenge, ensuring that our state’s mineral wealth does not become a resource curse, is a task we must all embrace squarely.
“It is in light of this that we regard the recent ban on mining activities in Zamfara States as a potential threat to mining activities in our State, which is blessed with mining deposits in commercial quantity.
“We must not yield our state to bandits and aggressors. We must work together to secure our communities.
“Our security agencies must unleash their intelligence capacity to crack the activities of bandits. Bad elements must be made to face the music to serve as a deterrent to others.
“I appeal to our people to provide credible information to security agencies while the traditional and religious leaders, security agents, government agencies and leaders should be above board.
“There is a need to heavily fortify our minerals-rich communities to make them impregnable to external aggression and incursion”.
Governor Oyetola told the gathering that his administration had given priority to welfare of the people and provision of security knowing them to be core components of the foundation for peace and development.
The governor added: “It is in recognition of these axioms that our young administration kicked off with the provision of robust welfare programmes and collaboration with security agencies to secure the state and to keep it together in peace.
“We have worked hard as an administration to further improve on agriculture in order to deliver food security just as we are tackling youth unemployment through our social protection programmes.
“We shall further concretize the state’s security and peace architectures so that our reputation as people living in peace would be further sustained.
“Apart from maintaining the extant peace, our core strategies entail adopting a proactive approach to nip security breach in the bud”.
Commissioner of Police, Mrs Abiodun Ige; State Director Department of State Service (DSS), Mr Brown Ekwoaba; State Commander National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Samuel Egbeola and Acting Comptroller Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Ibong Osato Aideyan, who attended the programme, advocated synergy among security agents and with residents to enhance security.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, who led other major traditional rulers to the meeting, said traditional rulers have a greater ruler to prevent infiltration into their community by bandits and urged the state government to empower the rulers to be able to assist the government’s security efforts.