* IG approves deployment of special forces to region
Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The six South-west state governors, traditional rulers and prominent Yoruba leaders yesterday met in Ibadan, Oyo State, with the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammad Adamu, and other senior officers for over five hours to address the security challenges facing the region.
At the end of the meeting tagged: ‘South West Geopolitical Zone Security Summit’, which was convened by the IG, the police boss approved the deployment of special forces under a Commissioner of Police to the six states of the Southwest region.
Present at the meeting were Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Deputy Governors of Ogun State, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele; Ekiti State, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi; Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and Ondo State, Hon. Agboola Ajayi.
Traditional rulers present were the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji; the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu, and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams.
Other resolutions reached at the summit and read by Makinde included the commitment of the South-west governors to provide serviceable vehicles to the police, which would be launched very soon in all the states; pledge by traditional rulers to join hands with the police to tackle insecurity as well as the commitment of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) to collaborate with the police in fighting crime.
Other resolutions were to strengthen the deployment of CCTV to all flash points in the region; recruitment of Community Police Officers (CPOs) within the communities in the six states and the setting up of a committee made up of policemen, OPC, Miyyeti Allah in each of state of the region.
Makinde, in his welcome address, assured the meeting of the commitment of his administration to tackle the problem of insecurity in the state, noting that the first duty of any responsible government to ensure the safety of lives and property of its people.
“Let me at this stage announce that in Oyo State, in the next few days, we shall unveil a security roadmap focused on the following: Improvement on security infrastructure; awakening the security consciousness of our people; and encouraging robust partnership of non-state actors such as the traditional institutions, volunteers, and other well-meaning residents of the state.
“Others are application of technology in fighting crimes and criminalities; collaboration with development partners, especially in the areas of capacity building for our security personnel and others; promotion of effective synergy among security agencies deployed to the state; ensuring effective oversight of the security agencies to curb excesses, especially in the areas of corruption and trampling on the fundamental rights of our people; ensuring the judicious use of assets of the state assigned to the security agencies, and ensuring the sustenance of the afore-mentioned measures as well as periodic review of the measures to meet the dynamic nature of the society.”
He added that “the overall objective of our intervention is to ensure safety and security of our people, reduce the fear of crimes as well as ensure that all residents of Oyo State and investors can go about their lawful endeavour without let or hindrance.
“We are not oblivious of our obligations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’, and we consider this sacrosanct.
“Let me therefore state categorically that we will do whatever is necessary to protect the lives and property of our people in the state within the ambits of the law.
“The Inspector-General of Police, as we patiently wait for you to discuss the issues and unveil the strategies to be engaged in addressing the deteriorating state of security in the South-west zone, we are hopeful that the measures will meet the much anticipated yearning of our people, which is a safe and secure region.
“We assure you of the support of our people. The government of the zone will provide the enabling environment to operationalise the security initiatives being unveiled. We are committed to a safe and secure Southwest and Nigeria at large.”
The IG, in his address, insisted on building consensus in condemning any act of criminality and resolving to work with the police towards identifying, isolating and bringing the criminal elements within the communities to deserved justice regardless of their status, background, creed or gender rather than engaged in ethnic profiling. He announced that no fewer than 2,015 armed robbers and 1,154 kidnappers have been arrested this year.
Adamu also said 1,183 suspected cultists have been also arrested in the country, assuring the region that the Nigerian Police Force has succeeded in stabilising the level of insecurity in the country but need to do more.
The police boss, who gave the breakdown of the arrest in the Southwest, said: “Generally speaking, the security situation across the country has been stabilised. However, there are isolated cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the South-west, particularly, along Benin-Ore-Lagos highway and Ondo State.”
According to him, “the reality is that the current concerted operations of the police and other security agencies across the country, particularly along the Niger-Kogi-FCT-Kaduna-Kastina and Zamfara areas have engendered a dispersal and relocation of some of the criminals to new areas, including the South-west region.
“In response to this emerging trend, we have been evaluating and reevaluating our operational strategies while straightening our institutional capacity in relation to the generation of actionable intelligence and the conduct of special operations directed at proactively responding to criminal situations across the country.”
“I am delighted to note that ‘operation puff adder’ which we launched as a strategy to stabilise the security profile in the country and other strategies that we have emplaced since January 2019 have so far been a success story. In consequence, between January and August 2019, a total of 552 murder suspects were arrested with 66 such arrests effected in the South-west. Similarly, 2,015 armed robbery suspects were arrested with 363 of those arrested in the South-west, while 1,154 kidnapping suspects were also apprehended in various operations. 147 of these were arrested in the Southwest.”
Governor Oyetola of Osun State and the deputy governors in their separate speeches reaffirmed their support for the South-west security network and the use of technology to fish out criminals not only in the region but all over the country.