By Dapo Akinrefon & Rotimi Ojomoyela with agency report
It’s time for State Police — Ayo Adebanjo
It’s scary, frightening — YCE; It’s unfortunate — Afenifere
There’s urgent need for security summit — Aare Adams
AKURE—GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, weekend, narrated how suspected kidnappers attacked his convoy on the Akure-Ibadan Expressway recently.
The attack on the governor’s convoy, elicited reactions from the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE; the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere; the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams and elder statesman, Pa Ayo Adebanjo.
Akeredolu, who did not mention the exact date of the incident, said the suspects ran into the bush when his security detail opened fire.
Several kidnappings have been recorded on that road, despite the heavy presence of security personnel on the highway.
Recently, two officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, were abducted as well as Musibau Adetunmbi, an Ibadan-based lawyer and Adeyinka Adegbehingbe, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, have also suffered a similar fate.
How my convoy was attacked — Akeredolu
Speaking on a live television programme on Sunday, Akeredolu said he and his colleagues were working towards ending the “siege to the south-west.”
He said: “I have encountered them (kidnappers) before, so security issue is not limited to the masses alone.
“My convoy was targeted but my security people shot into the air to scare them away. They fled into the bush on Akure-Ibadan road.
“We, as governors, will do something about the issue. We are discussing with the Federal Government. It is real that travellers are not safe on the road.
“It looks like it’s only the masses that are affected as the big men are enjoying themselves as they drive in convoy. Is that so?”
Asked if he is afraid of being kidnapped, the governor said “Nobody can kidnap me, I have passed that stage.”
Kidnappers attack on Akeredolu, scary, frightening—YCE
Reacting to the attack on Akeredolu’s convoy, Secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide described the development as scary and frightening.
In a telephone chat with Vanguard yesterday, Olajide said: “The attack signals a terrible security situation, if a governor’s convoy that was heralded and piloted by security convoy, could be attacked, then we are helpless.
“That is embarrassing, that is scary, especially for those of us who ply the road virtually on a daily basis.
“The effrontery is unbelievable, a governor’s convoy? That is is terrible, it is a serious matter, it is frightening.
“I would suggest they moblilise the security agents, made of up soldiers and others to comb the forest in the localities, particularly about radius of 10 kilometres, maybe they have a settlement there.
“But I think the governors would now wake up to their responsibilities and convene a security summit as soon as possible, because we are in danger, definitely in danger.”
It is unfortunate—Afenifere
Describing the attack as unfortunate, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere said “there is need to address the situation.”
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “It is unfortunate that a governor is being targeted by kidnappers in the South West region. We have been shouting that there is need to address the situation.
“I recall that sometimes ago, herdsmen took over somebody’s farmland in Akure for days but there was not a word from Ondo State government. It did not start today. They have been kidnapping and killing our people in Ondo State and the government there has kept mute over all these things. Now, a lot of noise is being made that governors are being targeted, we hope that it will not get to a point where the governors will not be able to walk the streets anymore. The earlier we understand that there is a serious crisis and address it, the better for us.”
It’s time to hold security summit — Aare Adams
Also expressing worry over the attack, the Aare Onakankafo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams said there was an urgent need to hold the proposed security summit.
Aare Adams said: “If the convoy of the governor can be attacked, I don’t think anybody, except the President and the Vice President, is safe. That is why the South West governors must call the security summit as a matter of urgency. We have been gathering different information on the herdsmen who are armed with sophisticated rifles.
“There are about 15,000. In Oke-Ogun axis, the notorious herdsmen there are close to 30, 000; in Akoko, there are 7,000 herdsmen armed with sophisticated rifles. Also, in Lagos State, the information reaching us is that the herdsmen intend capturing areas where there is water because they need water. I am not a police officer or a soldier but people are afraid of plying the Ibadan-Akure expressway. If the president does not address this issue, it can affect every facet of the country.
”f the convoy of a governor can be attacked, who else is spared? We have been consulting with various groups and stakeholders; I have met with the Alaafin of Oyo and I intend meeting the Ooni of Ife on this matter. I do not want to jump the gun. I don’t want to take any action without the support of the governors or traditional rulers in the South West. If we have the support of the governors, a lot that can be done to check the criminals, because not all herdsmen residing in the South-west, are criminals. The situation has gone beyond control. There is an urgent need to hold this security summit.”
We need state police— Ayo Adebanjo
On his part, an Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said: “Is it now that a governor and his convoy were attacked that they now know that there is insecurity in Yorubaland? We can no longer rely on police from zones. That is the simple truth. If Buhari is serious about protecting us, let all the police in each zone be the indigenes of that region. If we had our own local police, they would have apprehended them (kidnappers).”