Enhancing Protection of Lives, Property in Oyo

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Kemi Olaitan chronicles the efforts of the Oyo State government to assist security agencies in protecting lives and property

That every part of the country from the South to the North, East to the West, has been facing various security challenges that include banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery, is no longer news. Indeed, no state could be said to be exempted with the state governors virtually on their toes to make the states safe for the residents.

With the protection of lives and property one of the major responsibilities of any government, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, has decided to take the bull by the horn by providing the necessary assistance to the security agencies in the state to enhance their duty of making the people of the pacesetter state sleep with their two eyes closed.

The first in the series of the assistance was the donation of 25 operational vehicles fully equipped with communication gadgets to the security agencies in the state. Ten of the vehicles were donated to the Swift Response Squad (SRS), a unit of the Nigeria Police, while the remaining 15 vehicles were donated to the Operation Burst, a state-backed unit comprising the military, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Governor Makinde, speaking while donating the vehicles at the frontage of the Presidential Lodge, Government House, Agodi, Ibadan,
declared that his administration will continue to prioritise the welfare of security personnel in the state, adding that his government remains committed to supporting police officers and security personnel serving in Oyo State as well as members of their family.

He said, “It is my pleasure to hand over these operational vehicles to both the SRS and Operation Burst. This is a period when, irrespective of what people have been doing from the beginning of the year till now, they still want to have a merry Christmas. There are people out there who have not sown anything but they want to reap where they did not sow.

“Yes, we have had a challenging year, COVID-19 from the beginning of the year, then economic meltdown and #EndSARS protests. Well, the way I look at it is, we would not say that because of those challenges, we will not continue to do what we are supposed to do. I just want to use this opportunity to let the Nigeria Police, especially officers and men serving in Oyo State Command, know that under my watch, we will continue to support them and their families.”

The Special Adviser to Governor Makinde on Security, COMPOL Fatai Owoseni (rtd), in his remarks, said security is one of the pillars of the Makinde administration and that the government has been closing the infrastructural gaps in the security sector to make Oyo State safer and secure for all and sundry. He added that the operational vehicles would further strengthen the infrastructure of the two outfits.

According to him, “security is one of the pillars of Your Excellency’s dynamic administration. And of course, to that end, you have been doing all that is required by closing the infrastructural gaps of the security agencies to make Oyo State safer, secure and investor-friendly. You have always been granting the requests of all the security outfits in Oyo State.
Today is another day for the security outfits in Oyo State to laugh. All of us know and we are not in doubt that this effort would further strengthen the infrastructure of these two outfits.”

Also speaking at the event, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joe Enwonwu, appreciated the governor for being there always for the state police command, pledging the readiness of his officers and men to sustain and embolden the security status of Oyo State and provide conducive atmosphere for both local, institutional and foreign investors.

Enwonwu said, “It is with great honour and privilege that we are here to grace this occasion as one of your pillars in sustaining and emboldening the security status of Oyo State, to the extent that it will provide conducive atmosphere for both local, institutional and foreign investors if the environment is secure and safe.

“We have just come out of COVID-19, #EndSARS protests and the consequent carnage that has devastated the economy of not only the nation but particularly that of Oyo State. And as we are coming out, we are really taken aback that Your Excellency is able to provide additional vehicles to reinforce the security arrangement for Oyo State.

“I want to assure you that with this new set of vehicles, the Police, on its part, will do their level best to reinforce security and make sure that people can confidently come out, do their businesses and sleep with their two eyes closed.

“During the operational tour of the IGP, he spoke to the officers and made it abundantly clear that we should all come out confidently to give the best of security to the people of Oyo State. And we should put behind whatever had happened during the #EndSARS protest that led to the loss of lives. We have actually taken that in our strides.

“As I speak to you, we are presently doing training and retraining in our two mobile platforms of MOPOL 4 and MOPOL 72, Ago- Are, with a view to reinforcing and rebuilding confidence in the officers and men of Oyo State Command.I appreciate you sincerely for this wonderful gesture.”

Not yet done in assisting the security agencies to secure lives and property of the people, Governor Makinde also handed over 33 operational-vehicles and 396 motorcycles to the state Security Network Agency, codenamed, Operation Amotekun.

While presenting the operational vehicles and motorbikes to Amotekun Corps at the ceremony held at the House of Assembly Complex, Secretariat, Ibadan, he said the time has come for Nigeria to secure its people and restructure its system against the backdrop of growing insecurity in the country, maintaining that if restructured, every corner of Nigeria will be impacted positively and no matter who is the President in Abuja, the system would run effectively in a way that will be beneficial to all and sundry.

The governor who expressed satisfaction with the establishment of the Amotekun Corps, which he believed will play a major role in filling the lacuna in the security system, however, maintained that despite the community policing initiative currently ongoing in the country, the states should still push for state police. He revealed that though Amotekun came into operation a while ago, the state has begun to feel its impact, assuring that the state will make the welfare of the Amotekun Corps a top priority.

According to him, “you are a generation establishing structures for safety and security of the next generation. You are pioneers to ensure that we have a safe and secure environment so that we can expand our economy. And we will treat your welfare as top priority. That is why we have been clamouring for state police because you know for a fact that you all belong to the state. We don’t have it right now, but we thank the Oyo State House of Assembly for making the law establishing Amotekun.

“If we cannot get state police now, this country will get there, I am sure. We have community policing, but we need to do better than that. But, in the absence of the state police, we have our own Amotekun Corps and the operatives are doing very well. I’ll like to say to the Amotekun Corps that I am really proud of you. When we came into government on May 29, 2019, there was no Amotekun Corps but, today, your impact is being felt by all of us.”

Makinde, further maintained that the need to restructure the country has become more imperative in the face of daunting security challenges, stating that only time will tell on which one is more desirable for Nigeria between a restructured Nigeria and a Yoruba presidency.

“I have heard some of our political leaders jostling around and saying they want to become the president of Nigeria in 2023. I think what we need at this stage is to secure our people and restructure Nigeria. It does not matter who is the president in Abuja. In a restructured Nigeria, every corner of the country will feel the impact of government. That is what we need.

“May God protect those running around for presidency till 2022. By that time, we will meet and, by then, we will get to know whether it is restructured Nigeria or Yoruba presidency that we really need”, he said.

The governor appreciated chairpersons of Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas for releasing the funds to do things that are meaningful to the people of the state, noting that all the 351 wards in the state will feel the impact of Amotekun and that every inch of land belonging to the state will be covered by Amotekun. He then warned criminal elements operating in the state to desist from their irascible practices or get caught by the long arm of the law.

The Chairman of Amotekun Corps in the state, General Kunle Togun (rtd), described Governor Makinde as the number one Amotekun in Western Nigeria, noting that in order to show that there won’t be a fire brigade approach to security, the governor has equipped Amotekun effectively.

Similarly, the Commandant of the Amotekun Corps, Col. Olayinka Olayanju (rtd), appreciated the governor’s gesture, describing it as a defining moment in the life of the Oyo State Security Network Agency.

He added that the vehicles will enable the corps to discharge their duties effectively and provide them with the required mobility to respond swiftly to the distressed and facilitate access to the nooks and crannies of the state, assuring that the Corps will put in their best efforts “to stem the tide of rising security challenges, particularly during this festive period and put to shame those working to discredit the administration”.