Protests Rock Offa over Overzealousness of Security Agents

Hammed Shittu

Scores of indigenes of Offa in Kwara State yesterday staged a protest against alleged overzealousness of security agents deployed in the community.

The state government had in March this year imposed curfew on Offa and Erin-Ile after an outbreak of communal clash between the two communities.

Offa community has accused the security personnel of partisanship and one-sidedness in their dealing with them.

The protesters started their peaceful rally from Itafa area to Avalo Hotel junction through the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, carrying different placards.

Some of the placards read: ‘Offa is larger than the office of a security’; ‘SA security cannot re-write our history’; ‘Offa cannot be intimidated’; ‘Offa will resist security rascality’, and ‘Kwara State Government is biased against Offa’.

Speaking with journalists, the Iyaloja-General of Offa, Idiat Yusuf, said: “This peaceful protest is not between Offa and Erin-Ile. It is between the community members and the security personnel deployed to maintain peace between the two communities.

“The security personnel have abandoned where the government asked them to stay and maintain peace. They are supposed to stay between Offa and Erin-Ile boundary. They have started harassing and intimidating residents of Offa communities.

“They have disrupted our commercial activities. The security men were drafted to Offa and Erin-Ile in the aftermath of another communal clash that erupted between the two neighbouring communities in March this year.

“The overzealousness of the security personnel is only being borne by Offa indigenes because the Special Adviser to the governor is from Erin-Ile. It is a known fact that Offa and Erin-Ile over the years have been in a running battle over land issue.

“It, therefore, means that the state government ought to have appointed a neutral person to be his special adviser of security matters. The security personnel have become one-sided and partisan to the detriment of Offa people.

“We are not saying that the government is backing them, but what the security agents are doing is unfair and harmful to our economy. The people can no longer go about their normal business in the Federal Polytechnic area.”

Another speaker, Yusuf Babatunde AbdulAzeez, said: “The protest has nothing to do with engaging anybody in any war. It is to express our experience in the hands of security agents deployed to arrest the ugly situation that happened March 3 this year, “which is uncalled for.”

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