•Nigeria on the brink, Afenifere warns

•We’re committed to combating insecurity—Army

By Dapo Akinrefon, James Ogunnaike & Ademola Adegbite

IBADAN—RESIDENTS of Ogbomoso zone in Oyo State, yesterday, trooped out en-mass to protest the incessant kidnapping and killing in the area, vowing to take up arms to defend themselves if the Federal Government and relevant agencies, saddled with the responsibilities of securing their lives and property, fail to curb the menace.

This came on a day the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, expressed serious worries and consternation about the level of insecurity in Nigeria and wondered if President Muhammadu Buhari is aware of the situation at all.

But the Nigerian Army, yesterday, restated that constant training of its men and officers is imperative towards combating the insecurity challenges currently bedevilling the country.

The protest, led by the Ogbomoso Consultative Council and Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum, took off from Takie Square, with different inscriptions such as ‘May God console the families of Gbenga Owolabi, Rachael Opadele and Idowu Ajagbe killed by kidnappers; Allow us to defend ourselves; Come to our rescue before we start self-defence; The last kidnapping must be the last as well as Kidnapping: We must not continue like this,’ moved round the town and later converged at Soun Ogunlola Hall.

Traditionalists, members of Odu’a People’s Congress, OPC, Agbekoya, Amotekun, Vigilante and other groups, who spoke at the rally, said they were ready to give it whatever it takes to stop the criminal activities in Ogbomoso and its environs.

They, therefore, assured the residents that necessary steps have been taken on the matter and urged them to cooperate with all indigenous security outfits in their efforts to combat crimes in the region.

They also urged the residents to be security conscious and report any suspicious movement to the appropriate authorities.

Addressing the crowd, the President, Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum, Peter Olaleye, said: “Our ancestors were brave and bold, they were never conquered by any war, not even the dreaded Fulani war. We will never allow any intruder to take over our land, enough is enough.”

Nigeria on the brink, Afenifere warns

Similarly, Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Jare Ajayi said the rate at which insecurity is festering, it was as though no authority could reign in the monster.

Ajayi said: “Unfortunately, we have not seen veritable indications that the C-in-C is aware of the enormity of the situation or is putting up any strategy to arrest it.

“The business of Nigeria’s president is not to ‘grieve’ for victims of terrorism but to ensure that terrorism, kidnapping and allied crimes do not occur at all in the country.

“Because of the kid-glove manner with which government is dealing with them, terrorists and kidnappers have been so emboldened that they now attack security institutions at will and malevolently go into houses of their victims to deal with fellow Nigerians – all under the watch of government and security agencies.

“While conceding that the government and security agencies had been ‘doing one thing or the other’ on insecurity, that expected result has not come because of uncoordinated strategies among others.

“Specifically, Afenifere faults the idea of re-integrating confirmed terrorists and bandits as evidence had shown that such seemingly reintegrated bandits go ahead to commit crimes that are more heinous than the ones they were known for beforehand.

“What Nigerians expect from the government is not sympathy but actions. Actions that will put a total end to the nightmare, indeed life-terminating experiences they are going through presently.

“Unfortunately, the president has not been able to deliver on any of the desirables. He only brought to the nation, the negatives which were far from the expectation of anybody.

“We call on the president to demonstrate that he is still there as the Commander in Chief. Alternatively, he can delegate all the necessary authority to his Vice with whom he shared a joint ticket anyway –especially given his earlier declaration that he was anxious for May 29, 2023, to come quickly.”

We’re committed to combating insecurity —Army

Meanwhile, the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Umar Musa, who spoke while declaring open the 81 Division Inter-Brigade Combat Proficiency Competition 2022, held at the 35 Artillery Brigade in Alamala, Abeokuta, Ogun State, said: “Training remains a veritable tool that guarantees enhanced military professionalism, positing that the importance of training in the Army cannot be overemphasized.”

Musa said: “The need for enhanced and qualitative training in the Nigerian Army is more needed now than ever. This is a result of the security challenges bedevilling our dear nation. It is, therefore, in line with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision which is “to have a Professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish any assigned mission in defence of Nigeria.”

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