Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, on Saturday, said the war against insecurity could only be won if the people of the state were ready to volunteer information on criminals living in their communities.
Oyetola, who spoke at the Fourth Annual Siyan Oyeweso Colloquium, with the theme: “Security and Insecurity in Nigeria” in Ede, Osun, said criminals were not ghosts but members of various communities.
He said that Nigerians should be sensitised, encouraged and mobilised to provide information on criminals living among them for security agents, with an assurance of safety to their lives.
“To ensure improved performance in the quality of intelligence gathering that is available to our security operatives, we must ensure that we further sensitise our people, mobilise them and work towards bringing them on board.
“Since these delinquents are members of our various communities, it is possible to have citizens volunteering information on them.
“I believe it is possible to win the battle against insecurity in this country if we will all join hands, volunteer and provide the requisite support, as may be necessary,” he said.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Wole Oyebamiji, however, warned against ethnic profiling of criminals and crimes, saying criminality did not have religious or ethic colouration.
“We must stop ethnic profiling of criminals and bandits; criminality has no religious or ethnic colouration.
“The truth also is that criminality is what it is, and it has to be treated as such,” he said.
Oyetola also called on security operatives to do what was right and go after criminals, not minding the ethnic group they belonged, and prosecute conscientiously.
The two lecturers at the colloquium, Prof. Olayemi Akinwunmi and Prof. Surajudeen Mudashiru, called on government to get more serious about finding solutions to the issue of insecurity in the country.
They called for the establishment of an inter-regional collaboration with neighbouring countries in order to control the influx of foreign criminals and firearms coming into Nigeria.
The scholars urged government to provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the country.
They further tasked government to work with religious bodies to instill moral values in Nigerians, especially the youth, as well as provide enabling environment for businesses to grow.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the colloquium was organised to mark the 60th birthday of Prof. Siyan Oyeweso, a renowned professor of History.
NAN also reports that Oyeweso used the occasion to launch two new books: “Ede Mapo Arogun (Creating a City, its History, Monarchy and People)” and “Ede Icons and the Making of Modern Nigeria”.