By Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi & Michael Eboh
LAGOS—MIXED reactions, yesterday, trailed the proposed plan by the Federal Government to deploy drones and Closed Circuit Televisions, CCTVs, to secure the South West.
While Afenifere and Agbekoya disagreed with the Ooni, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, commended him for the initiative, describing it as a beautiful idea.
This came as the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, yesterday, warned that Nigeria was fast losing its reputation as a result of the widespread insecurity and crisis fueled by divisive elements across the country.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi had led other traditional rulers from the South West on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the state of insecurity in the zone.
He also disclosed that the Federal Government resolved to deploy the use of drones and CCTVs to boost the security of lives and properties in the South West.
But the decision was, however, rebuffed by the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere and Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, who described the move as a waste of time.
On its part, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, described the monarch’s move as a beautiful idea.
Commenting on the deployment of drones and CCTVs, National Publicity of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said the deployment of drones would not lead to apprehension of marauding herdsmen.
He said: “We are not aware that drones arrest criminals or drones charge criminals to court. Those are the basic ingredients that are lacking in our land in the last few years.
“To now say that you want to deploy drones, what will they do? We are not impressed by that. What we are asking is for the laws of the land to be enforced against criminals.
“These criminals are becoming more emboldened that they are now setting up vigilante in Ondo State because they know that they are living above the laws of the land.”
While commending the Ooni of Ife for the move, Odumakin said: “So, deploying drones mean nothing. As long as they are not willing to enforce the laws of the land by arresting the criminals and make them face justice, drones will just be a waste of time and, in fact, it is deception of the highest order.
“We appreciate that our Obas made it clear that criminal herdsmen must vacate South West that is more important to us than drones.”
Drones, CCTVs have their limitations — Agbekoya
Also faulting the deployment of drones, National President of Agbekoya Farmers Association, Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola, said: “I heard they met with the President but what we need is not the use of drones. CCTV has its own limitation and the deployment of drones has its own limitations, there is also the need to deploy human surveillance to monitor these forests.
“Nigeria is different from other advanced countries, which make use of these modern-day technologies. The forests in the South West cannot be patrolled only drones; they need hunters, who know the nooks and crannies of these forests. ‘’There is need to employ local hunters to secure these forests. We need the services of the OPC and Agbekoya to patrol these forests; they cannot be left in the hands of only drones.”
We’ll see how effective it is — YCE
Reacting, acting President, Yoruba Council of Elders, Col. Dansaaki Agbede, retd, said: “If it is true, it would be a beautiful idea. Technology has overtaken everything in life.
‘’Security is an essential part of life and Yoruba nation is more than five or six countries put together. So, I commend the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, and other traditional leaders to whom we have been crying for the past five months.
‘’It is because our people are conniving with them, that is why they are unleashing terror on us. But we don’t know how they will deploy drones and CCTV effectively. We shall soon see how effective it is. All we are praying for in the south-west and across the country is a situation where everybody can travel without any fear.”
Nigeria fast losing its reputation, NIPR warns
Meanwhile, speaking at the monthly meeting of the Federal Capital Territory Chapter of the NIPR, in Abuja, President and Council of the NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, disclosed that unless something was done to arrest the negative situation and protect Nigeria’s positive reputation, the country would fail to attract the much-needed capital to drive the country’s growth and development.
Sirajo said: “As I am talking to you right now, we are worried about the reputation of this country at the moment. We need to tell ourselves the truth that we need to do something about our own reputation; and where do we start from? Telling ourselves the home truth.
“How do we get back to that cohesive Nigeria that we used to have in which we all believe that we are one? We did not care what religion we profess; what tribal or ethnic groups we belonged to.
“There was a time this was the main thing in the country, but today, you hear this crisis here, that crisis there; this stereotype here, that stereotype there. It does not do any good for our reputation.
“When a country does not have a good reputation, even investors are afraid to come there, because according to capitalists, capital is a coward; it does not go where there is no security.
“We need to work on our reputation, so that capital will not continue to flee from us. We should rather have a reputation that would be pulling capital into our country.”
Besides, Sirajo disclosed that the national body of the NIPR was planning a summit to address most of the challenges that beset the country, with the aim of finding a lasting solution to them.