Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State declared on Monday that the state government has turned the heat on kidnappers and criminals in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axis of the state, adding that the state will succeed in routing them.
Governor Makinde, who was speaking at different spots in Ibarapaland where he engaged the people in town hall meetings, said that his administration will get the criminals to account for their heinous acts in the state.
He equally declared that the state could not afford to lose any more lives to insecurity, stating, however, that any action that must be taken must be guided by the realisation that a wrong solution must not be proffered in order to avoid unintended consequences.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor stated these in Ibarapa land during meetings at Idere, Igangan and during visits to the homes of the late Dr. Fatai Aborode and others who lost their lives to the crisis in the area.
Governor Makinde, who equally commiserated with Mrs. Idowu Babarinde, who lost a child to indiscriminate shooting by kidnappers in their attempt to kidnap a filling station owner in Idere, said he was pained by the losses recorded in the area, adding that he felt the pain of the people of Ibarapaland.
“I decided to spend the night in Ibarapa land so as to let you know that if my people in this place cannot sleep with two eyes closed, I cannot also sleep with my two eyes closed in Ibadan,” the governor said, adding that the visit afforded him the opportunity of feeling the pains of the people first-hand.
He said: “We are turning the heat on the criminal elements and we will surely get them.”
He stated that the government will compensate victims of the insecurity situation in Ibarapa land, adding that measures that the government is taking to curtail the situation include the setting up of an all-inclusive peace and security committee at the local government levels and the stepping up intelligence gathering in the area.
According to him, “one of the things we want to do is, we must have a peace and security committee at the local government level, which will be all-encompassing. “Those people that are supposed to be there and can contribute meaningfully must be accommodated.
“So, I have listened to you. I came here purposely to sleep over to demonstrate that your problem is also my problem. If you cannot sleep with your two eyes closed, I also have no business sleeping with my two eyes closed in Ibadan.”
He further stated that the government will convene a meeting with traditional rulers in Ibarapa land in the next few days with a view to coming up with recommendations on the situation, warning that emergency situations as such should have been brought to the attention of the government long before it escalated.
Governor Makinde, who clarified that though he was misunderstood for the position he took during the crisis, he is not afraid to speak out but that he would not allow anyone to start ethnic war under his watch.
He told political leaders of the area not to shy away from seeking audience with him wherever there is a gap that must be bridged.
He added that apart from the immediate deployment of 200 additional Amotekun Corps to Ibarapa land, he has also instructed that the agency and other security apparatuses step up on intelligence gathering, stating that the government will also fast-track its identity management policy so that it could know who lives where in the state.
The governor equally warned residents of the state not to stigmatise any particular ethnic group but to search out the real enemies who he said are the kidnappers, bandits, rapists, hoodlums and armed robbers.
At the home of the Aborodes, where the governor commiserated with the father of the late Aborode, Governor Makinde said: “I want to tell you that I feel your pain, because when I saw the news of the death of Dr. Fatai Aborode, I was seriously pained.
“In 2017, when we were striving to restructure the PDP, we started meetings and put some people in some local governments. Dr. Aborode was made the point man in Ibarapa North. I was at Ibadan in charge of Ibadan North-East and we did hold meetings at Premier Hotel. The situation is that if a tsetse fly perches on one’s private part, it requires wisdom to make it fly away or to kill it.
“Everybody is alleging that the Police are not giving us enough support while Amotekun and Operation Burst are really being supportive. But what the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states is that whatever bothers on internal security should be handled by the Police.
“That is why some of us have said the federal control of Police is limiting their performance. That was why we requested for State Police and we know it is a constitutional issue.
“So, when we got into government, we observed there was no State Police and we did not want to drop the idea. Those who were of the opinion that State Police may be used for political reasons also have their own point but if there is an alignment, people will see that the noticeable gap in policing should be bridged.
“When the discussion was going on, the IGP also agreed that there is a gap and that was why they recruited for community policing but we think that is not enough to bridge the existing gap. That was why we requested state policing and when we did not get that, we resorted to Amotekun as a stop-gap arrangement while the issue of the constitution review is going on.
Governor Makinde stated that the crisis escalated due to failures on different fronts, saying: “There are failures on a number of fronts and one of the fronts we are witnessing failure was when some are saying they wrote letters to my office. I said I will love to see the acknowledgment copies to know where those letters are, who acknowledged them, and the prayers you made too.
“When I saw the acknowledgment letters, I saw that one of them was dated 27th of January, the earliest one was 20th of January and that is when the cases had escalated.
During the different stops, traditional rulers, political leaders, youth leaders and other stakeholders took turns to brief the governor of the challenges they have been dealing with in the hands of herdsmen from 2008 and kidnappers, especially in recent times.
The royal fathers, however, commended Makinde for the security strategy he put in place in the last two weeks, during which they are yet to witness any case of kidnapping.