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Banditry: South-West Governors Invite Army, Police, OPC To Security Summit

Governors of states in the South-West have reached out to the army, police and other security agencies on the need to redouble their efforts to stop atrocities being perpetrated by armed herdsmen and other criminals in the region.

The Commissioner for Information in Ekiti State, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua, told one of our correspondents on Saturday that Governor Kayode Fayemi had reached out to the police and other security agencies in the state on the issue.

The Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, has also told the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, on the need to assist in flushing out kidnappers from the state.

The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, said governors in the region in conjunction with all stakeholders would hold a security meeting on the rampaging armed herdsmen in the region.

Olumilua told SUNDAY PUNCH that Fayemi was determined to end the crisis.

He said, “Only on Thursday, the Nigerian Army, 323 Brigade in Akure said they were going all out to stamp out insecurity in Ondo and Ekiti states.

“Less than three weeks ago, the governor summoned all the traditional rulers in the state to warn subjects in their domains to become security conscious, report unusual activities that can help police foil crime and possible arrest of criminals.”

The Chief Press Secretary to Osun State Governor, Mr Adeniyi Adesina, told one of our correspondents that the state would use an all-encompassing approach to end insecurity in the state.

Meanwhile, the Afenifere led by Senator Ayo Fasanmi has said it will hold a mini-security summit on insecurity in the South-West on June 19.

The spokesperson for the group, Mr Abiodun Akin-Fasae, who said this in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the group was worried by the insecurity in the region.

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Also, the Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, told one of our correspondents that the group was concerned about the rising insecurity in the region. He said leaders of the group would attend the security summit being proposed by the South West governors if they were invited.

He said, “The issue of security is a concern of everybody. Though we have not heard anything about the summit other than what we are hearing from the governors. If they invite us to participate, we will but the summit should be organised with all sincerity. It should not be politicised. “

The Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Yemi Olowolabi, said the summit would involve all stakeholders in the South-West, maintaining that the summit would not have anything to do with politics.

He said, “The venue and time of the summit would be decided by the governors but I want to assure you that the summit would not be based on politics. Lagos, Oyo and Ondo had organised security summits before and they were all successful, I believe based on this, the proposed security summit will be successful.

“When it is time, all the stakeholders in the South-West would be involved in the security summit, none will be left out.”

In a related development, the President of a faction of OPC, Prince Osibote, has called on the Federal Government to check the criminal activities of armed Fulani herdsmen in Yoruba land before the situation degenerates.

The group also warned armed herdsmen and all criminals in the region to relocate or be ready to meet their Waterloo.

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Osibote, who succeeded the late Dr Fredrick Fasehun, gave the warning in a statement on Saturday.

He said, “We are watching the unfolding ugly developments with keen interest. Yoruba and other residents in the South-West should not panic. We are however calling on the Federal Government to quickly address this insecurity problem before it further degenerates. OPC leaders will not watch helplessly or fold their hands while some criminals are making life difficult for people and behaving as if they are above the law.

“Enough is enough. Yoruba are peace-loving and hospitable. We welcome everybody with open arms, but the OPC will not allow any individual or group to make the South-West unsafe or turn Yorubaland into a den of criminals. Time is up for these criminals abducting people. This is the final warning to them; they should stop now or relocate elsewhere outside the South-West. If they fail to do so, they will soon meet their Waterloo.”

In a similar development, the OPC led by Aare Gani Adams, has said it was ready to flush out armed Fulani herdsmen kidnapping and perpetrating criminal activities in the region.

The Ondo State Coordinator of the group, Mr Victor Olayemi, said this on Saturday in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH.

Olayemi, however, added that the group was waiting for directive from the governors in the region, saying it needed their backing before it could launch any successful operation.

The OPC leader said the group would have struck against the criminals terrorising the region but they were being checked by some leaders in the region.

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He said, “We would have struck and stop the herdsmen terrorising the South-West but we are waiting to be given a go-ahead. We will be happy if the government is ready to partner us to tackle the bandits.

“On the summit, we have not heard anything from the governors about it, but if they want our inputs, we will be happy to join them. Herdsmen cannot be holding us to ransom in the South-West; we have what it takes to stop them.”

The Coordinating Supervisor of the OPC in Osun State, Adedeji Aladesawe, told one of our correspondents that the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland who is also the National Leader of the OPC wrote letters to governors in the region about eight months ago on the infiltration of the region by herdsmen.

He said, “Aare (Gani Adams) wrote to the governors and prominent traditional rulers in the region eight months ago, informing them of the infiltration of the region by the bandits.

“When he did not get any response from them, he wrote a reminder. Yet no action was taken. He (Adams) requested a security summit that would involve all stakeholders on the matter, but nothing was done, despite the warning.”

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