…Say we’ve not had it this bad
…As hunters hold security meetings to curb bandits
By Dapo Akinrefon, LAGOS
FOLLOWING resurgence of kidnap attempts in the South-West, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, and the Senior Elders Forum of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, yesterday, said that the 2023 general elections may not hold in the zone.
This came as the Soludero Hunters Association of Nigeria has concluded plans to hold an all-inclusive security meeting to check the security threats in the South-West.
Both Afenifere and YCE lamented that the South-West has not had it this bad, as regards insecurity.
Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said that the recent kidnapping of seven people around Isara-Remo on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Sunday, January 16, 2022, was another evidence that governments in Nigeria have failed in their primary duties of providing security and welfare for the people.
Ajayi said: “We recall the incessant kidnapping of and attacks on innocent people in Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states. We also recall the sacking of certain villages in Imeko area of Ogun State, last week. These are unacceptable and must be stopped forthwith by all means.
“The lamentations by governors of Niger, Zamfara, Benue, Nassarawa, Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto and Katsina states on how terrorists seem to be dictating the pace in their areas ought to serve as a wake-up call for the governments and the security agencies.
“Afenifere acknowledged that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the security situation going by his recent expressions on the issue. For instance, the President ordered for robust military intervention in the wake of terrorists’ take-over of some local government areas in Niger State just as he asked Nigerians to put their prayers for security before God.
“Several orders have been given by Mr President in the recent past just as Nigerians never stopped praying. But it looks as if the more orders are given and prayers are said, the worse our security situation becomes.
“This clearly shows that the appropriate panacea is not being applied to the scourge. And until this is done, the situation may be getting worse each passing day.”
“Government’s approach to the issue does not indicate that it grasps the enormity of the problem hence it is treating the insecurity situation as though it were a circus.
“As part of the immediate solutions to the problem, the doctrine of necessity be invoked so that the aspect of the Constitution that makes the handling of security in the country almost exclusive to the Federal Government would be relaxed.
“This is the time that states and local government councils must be legally allowed to have their security agencies. Such states and local government security agencies must be fully equipped and be allowed to have the powers to investigate and prosecute accordingly.
Also, states’ laws on security, including anti-open grazing laws, must be allowed to be effectively enforced.
“No matter the stride President Buhari made on the Nigeria project, the worsening security and economic conditions in the country would rubbish his efforts and ultimate achievements.
“It is, therefore, incumbent on the President to allow State Police, strengthen the military with equipment and right motivation, prevail on the Attorney General to allow rule of law to operate without fear or favour, stop the nepotistic justice, enable the military to mop-up too many weapons in the hands of unauthorised persons and promptly convene a meeting of ethnic nationalities and interest groups. Such a meeting should be to return the country to a true Federation with perhaps a parliamentary system of government.”
Similarly, the elders, who spoke through a former National President of YCE, Col Samuel Agbede, retd, said there is a strong feeling that the general elections may not take place at all unless the trend of insecurity is urgently addressed.
Agbede, who addressed newsmen over the recent kidnap attempts on motorists on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, said: “We, the Senior Elders of YCE, have been crying to our governors because they were the ones who invited security experts. Since they have been doing things to check the menace of insecurity which has now become a nuisance, they should it with all their hearts.
“The establishment of Amotekun is a laudable project which all of us in the South West had embraced. The issue of security of lives and property is not only for us in the Yoruba Nation, it’s for everybody who is resident in that zone irrespective of where you come from whether you are a Nigerian or you are from overseas.
“Kidnappers don’t look at people’s faces, what they want is money and there is a new dimension to it now. Our people now have been engaging in criminal acts. It is no longer the Fulani business; it has been embraced by all and sundry across all the regions.
“When I was coming from Lagos on Saturday, I saw some kidnappers with my own eyes just about 15 kilometers after Ogere. They were in combat dress, they were more than eight in number. They had their G-helmet and even bulletproof vests and AK-47. They emerged from the bush; the only luck I had was that they were on the opposite side of the road.
“So our governors have to do more than just focussing on politics because their attention is on the 2023 elections and if they are not careful, the 2023 elections may be a mirage. If this insecurity is not frontally addressed, the 2023 elections may not hold.”
Hunters hold security meetings to curb bandits
Meanwhile, the National President of Soludero Hunters Association, Oba Nureni Anabi, said the security meeting is fixed for February 4, 2022, at Ilaji Farms Hotel, Ibadan.
Ajijola, who urged Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to empower the hunters, said if they are properly mobilized, the bandits who inflict indescribable suffering on the people in the zone, will disappear.
The hunters said a former President of the country, Olusegun Obasanjo, Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ekiti, Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos and royal fathers in the zone are expected at the all-important meeting.