Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has warned against the introduction of politics into the current security challenges in Yoruba land , cautioning against the push by non-state actors to resort to self-help.
Speaking on ARISE NEWS Channel, THISDAY’s sister broadcast arm, last night, the traditional ruler noted that while it is not advisable to allow individuals in communities to take the law into their hands, the statutory authorities must also wake up and carry out their duties effectively.
Ogunwusi, who also spoke on his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the State House, Abuja, stated that the Nigerian leader assured him that everything is being done to combat the insecurity in the land.
He noted that as traditional rulers who should ordinarily know what is happening in their domains, the president told him that he was willing to work with them to resolve the existing challenges.
According to the Co-Chair of the Traditional Rulers’ Council (TRC) in the country, the government at all levels and the citizenry must work together to fish actual criminals.
The Ooni cautioned against sensationalising the issues at stake, noting that while he and other Yoruba leaders were not against the attention being drawn to the killings and kidnappings in the South-west, persons like Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho must ensure that all their activities are within the ambit of the law.
Ogunwusi who lauded the president for finally sacking the service chiefs noted that the plan to inject fresh blood and ideas into the security apparatus in the country, was highly commendable.
He advised Nigerian political leaders to take criticism in good faith, stressing that it is only then that the country can make progress.
He said: “We have to work with him (the president) all the time as traditional rulers of this country and in tandem as to how we can take this country to greater heights because whenever there is breakdown of security, law and order, anarchy will set in.
“It is very important for us to continue to relate well with our leaders and that’s why we met with him. We spoke very extensively about the issues of Southwest Nigeria and for us not to risk the lives of innocent citizens.
“We all know the problems of this country so we should all focus on solutions. What is critical is that we do not allow politics to be involved in what is happening.
“The security of our people is very paramount. That is because some of them do not have the kind of opportunities that people in high political offices and traditional rulers have. An average citizen believes government should protect their lives and property anywhere in the country.
“ So, therefore an average Nigerian does not have that influence and relevance in terms of protection; we should look out for them. We should not play politics with their lives and to the glory of God, the president assured us that he is ready to work together, especially with the traditional rulers,” he stated.
While calling for a greater for traditional rulers in the country, he noted that being the closest to the people, they should know their subjects better.
“It is very important for us to know in this country that traditional rulers are the closest to the people and it is about time for us to work with the local traditional rulers and even Mr. President said that he’s been telling all the political office holders to do that.
“But we shouldn’t continue to sensationalise these issues in the name of politics. The problems are real and we have banditry everywhere and it is real and is getting worse. So, let us focus on solutions,” he advised.
According to the Oba, with the current drive to rev up the National Identification Number (NIN) exercise as well as the e-border immigration exercise around the entire borders of Nigeria, crime will soon be drastically reduced.
He disclosed that he had spoken with Igboho to advise him against allowing any politician hijack his movement to avoid bloodshed.
“So, let us focus on solutions and let us now start to separate the good ones from the bad ones. South-west is very sensitive because anything that has to do the South-west, we need to be very careful and that is why we are standing up to support the political leaders to make sure everything is right. So, the president is fully committed to this,” he added.