Osinbajo: FG to Deploy Military in Highways to Stem Insecurity

By Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Francis Sardauna in Katsina and James Sowole in Akure

The federal government yesterday unfolded plans to deploy the military in some of the nation’s highways in a bid to check the rising waves of kidnappings and killings of travellers.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who stated the plan in Akure, the Ondo State capital, during a condolence visit to  Afenifere Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, said the deployment of the military would complement that of the police, which had beefed up security on major highways through stop-and-search and use of helicopters to track kidnappers, many of who hide in forests.

Fasoranti’s daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, was killed on Friday by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen on Shagamu-Ore Expressway.
Osinbajo’s condolence visit came just as the police in Katsina State confirmed the killing of 10 persons by bandits who invaded Kirtawa village in Safana Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The Senate has also expressed concern over the spate of incessant attacks and killings of Nigerians in recent times.
The spate of kidnappings and killings, which has been blamed on suspected herdsmen, also generated reaction from the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, who warned against stigmatising any ethnic group or tribe over criminality perpetrated by members of such ethnic groups.
Osinbajo, during the condolence visit to the Akure home of Fasoranti, said the rising incident of highway criminality was giving the federal government a serious concern.
He said: “One of the most important things is intelligence gathering that is why we have the community policing system where policemen would be trained in their own local government and they would remain there.
“This is as close as we will get to the community policing structure that we expect to have.
“The other thing of course is that we also are engaging the army so that there will be a bit of more military presence, especially along the roads.
“The Inspector General of Police has already committed to ensuring that there is full coverage of the police and even helicopters to fasten the search for these killers and also to ensure that there is adequate presence to deter this kind of terrible situation from reoccurring.
“We are looking at the whole security architecture and trying to ensure that we are able to scale up and ensure that we are able to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
“Security in a big country like Nigeria as you can imagine – the challenge is dynamic, and we also have to be consistently dynamic in order to ensure that we are able to beat the challenges as they appear.
“I think that we can be very hopeful that we would see peace and calm as some of the steps we are taking come into fruition.”

Bandits Kill 10, Injure Army Officer, Six Others

Meanwhile, the police authorities in Katsina State have confirmed the killing of 10 persons by bandits, who invaded Kirtawa village in Safana Local Government Area of the state.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Gambo Isah, a Superintendent of Police, said that the bandits launched the fresh attack on Saturday, during which they injured one army officer and a civil defence officer, five civilians and set five vehicles ablaze.
Isah said in a statement given to journalists in Katsina, that the armed hoodlums, who numbered over 300 and rode on motorcycles, invaded the village and rustled numerous animals belonging to the residents.
He said: “The DPO of Safana initially led teams of Operations “Puff Adder” and Sharan-Daji to the scene and engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel. In the process, the hoodlums shot the tyres of the police Armoured Personnel Vehicle and injured one army officer and a civil defence personnel.

“At the time the combined ground forces were mobilised into the village, the hoodlums had already operated and escaped into the forest. Ten persons were found dead, five injured, five motor vehicles and four motorcycles were set ablaze,” he added.
While describing the invasion as reprisal orchestrated by the bandits against the community, the police spokesman said joint security forces had been deployed in the area to restore peace and arrest the fleeing hoodlums.
Isah assured residents of the state that government and security operatives were mapping out strategies toward containing and bringing to an end the menace of banditry bedeviling the state.
“The command commiserates with families of the deceased and the entire people of Katsina State over the unfortunate incident.”

Senate Expresses Worry over Killings 

Also, at the weekend, the Senate expressed concern over the spate of incessant attacks and killings by suspected herdsmen and assassins in recent times.
Senate’s spokesman, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, in a statement in which he condemned last Friday’s killing of Olakunrin, said the Senate was disturbed by the rate of incessant attacks and wanton killing of citizens “either by the herdsmen, hired assassins, kidnappers and or other men of the underworld that are having field days in wreaking havoc on the lives and property of innocent citizens in the country.”
According to him, the Senate is conscious of the fact that security to life is a fundamental right of every citizen, adding that Nigerians, therefore, deserve to have their right to live protected by the government at all times.
While condoling with the Fasoranti, Adeyeye described the gruesome killing of Olakunrin as sad, devastating and a worrisome development.
In condemning the heinous and barbaric act, he urged Adamu to begin massive manhunt for the killers and ensure that they are apprehended.
“Also, measures to prevent future occurrence of such incidence should be put in place by improving the security architecture on the Nigerian highways, social gatherings and worship centres across the country,” Adeyeye said.

Tinubu Cautions against Ethnic Stigmatisation

And amidst the swirling allegation that Olakunrin was killed by suspected herdsmen, which some people identified as Fulani, Tinubu yesterday warned against stigmatising any ethnic group or tribe in the country.
Tinubu, accompanied by the former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, and other party chieftains during a condolence visit to Fasoranti, cautioned against allowing the incident to divide the Yoruba.
He said: “I am extremely concerned about security; I don’t want a stigma. I can go through history of kidnapping in Nigeria and we know how and where it all started. There are a lot of copycats.
“How many years ago, have we faced insecurity in the country? There are cases of kidnapping. Is Evans too, who was arrested and made disclosures, also a herdsman? I don’t want to be political, but I will ask: Where are the cows?
“The incident that affected one member of our family, Mrs. Olakunrin, is seriously sad and unacceptable but nobody can return her alive. She has answered the call of her creator.
“We must not use this incident to divide ourselves but we must use it as a cure to the security problem.”

The APC leader stressed the need for additional police and security patrol reinforcement along Ore road and various flashpoints across the country.
He added: “The security challenges are numerous across this country and to fight it we are going through that; more police are being recruited and it takes time to train and deploy them to various areas. Nobody prepares more than necessary for this.
“But if you look at Zamfara, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and all areas, then we need to fight poverty, unemployment and the causes that might lead people to crying.
“Equally we must create opportunity to convert this tragedy to prosperity.
“The security concern and challenge right now must be faced squarely throughout Nigeria,” Tinubu said.