Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has charged the people of the State to be alert, always look out for terrorists and confront them squarely.
The Governor said that people should stop running into their houses whenever they see the heavily armed terrorists but to face them squarely and chase them back into the forests.
He noted that there might be some casualties in trying to be so courageous, but insisted that Ondo people are not lazy and cannot be dominated by anyone.
The Governor stated this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday evening, adding that the Zamfara State Governor may have been a bit extreme when he proposed arms for his people for self defence, but insisted that such is the response you get from someone who has been pushed so hard.
“I heard my brother in Zamfara who said [he will] licence people to carry arms, well it might be a bit extreme measure, but when you’re pushed to the wall, there’s nothing else you can say.
“So what we’ve learnt earlier is that our people cannot afford to stay back or lay back as if we’re lazy people. We’re not lazy.
“We’re indomitable people in spirit and everything, nobody can dominate us. So when we believe that and strongly act that, fight these people back! If they come, push them back into the forest and whosoever has the higher arm will survive.
“So for us, people have to be alert…and when incidents like this happen, don’t run to your house, go ahead and confront it. Yes, people may lose their lives which is unfortunate, but if you confront it, they will hardly go away.”
Speaking on the very group responsible for the massacre of Christian worshippers in Owo, Ondo State, the Governor said that the Federal Government was quick to jump into conclusions that ISWAP carried out the attack.
According to him, the security agencies have not been able to provide the evidence to back up their claims, adding that ISWAP usually took responsibility for their heinous crimes.
Akeredolu said it was impossible to separate the activities of Fulani terrorists, bandits and ISWAP, maintaining that they operate together.
“What evidence do they have? Because we ought to know. Because they were too quick to jump to the conclusion that it was done by ISWAP. But whatever it is, we stand on the position that it’s the trilogy that is operating in our forests and causing havoc,” he added.
“You just have Fulani herdsmen right in front, followed by these bandits and then ISWAP. The three of them work together. So we’re not people who’ll buy the idea of whether it is bandits or terrorists, Fulani herdsmen or ISWAP. In Ondo State we’ve been facing terrorism from the three.
“Whether they’re bandits, Fulani herdsmen or ISWAP they work together. So I don’t know how you want to separate them unless you come out with concrete evidence.
“And our contention is that ISWAP, most times they take responsibility for their actions. When they do things, they say ‘we’ve done it’.
“They take pride in all this heinous crime. So, I expect that if ISWAP had done it, they’d have come out and owned it up,” he said.