Governors of the South Western States of Nigeria on Tuesday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, called for regional response to tackling the security challenges currently facing the region.
The governors at a security summit initiated by the Development Agenda For Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission all in their separate addresses at the occasion harped on the need for the region to speak with one voice and be proactive in tackling current issues affecting its people.
In attendance at the 3-day security summit are governors of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi;, Lagos , Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu ; Ogun, Prince Dapo Abiodun; Ondo, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN); Osun, Mr Gboyega Oyetola and Oyo, Engr. Seyi Makinde
In his address, Chairman, South West Governors’ Forum, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) who declared the summit opened, said the summit has become imperative considering the insecurity situation in the country.
Governor Akeredolu described the Yorubas as a unique people who accommodates all ethnic nationalities provided their interest is not jeopardised.
“Our land is indeed a lesson to other parts of the country, there is no limit to the aspiration of anyone who lives peacefully among us. Nobody is persecuted; we protect the weak even against our own. Our borders are thrown open to all and sundry in the spirit of brotherhood and oneness
“There is, however, the urgent need compelling a review of this liberal policy of openness. Our people are under siege, the harbingers of death, sorrow, tears and blood threaten the existing fraternity among the people of this country
“Our collective goal should be the security of our space and safety and safety of our people in all ramifications. On this we must not compromise. We must consequently, be proactive in tackling the current security issues. The adoption of scientific approach towards the resolution of the current crisis will bear far – reaching effects “he said.
Governor Akeredolu pointed out that the people of the South West are currently under siege and the is the need to urgently review the unfortunate situation.
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi in his address, emphasized on the need to reconfigure the security architecture in the country
He called for a strong coordination among various security outfits at both local, state and national levels.
Governor Fayemi who is currently the Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum reiterated the need for the establishment of state Police saying that its establishment will in no way affect the operations of current federal police structure.
Other Governors , Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State all expressed their commitment to tackling the security challenges in the region.
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde in his welcome address at the Summit stated that the problem of insecurity in the South West is like a snake in the roof and we cannot ignore it and go to sleep.
He said “Nigeria’s security statistics as recently provided by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) places Nigeria as the third worst terrorism ravaged country in the world. We have held this ignoble position since 2015. Only Iraq and Afghanistan are worse ranked”.
He mentioned that there will be a great and improved result if the agenda of state and community policing is assigned with a corroborative effort from transitioned rulers, councilors and local government chairmen who know the nooks and crannies of their various communities.
Makinde who regarded the issue of insecurity in the southwest as “snake on the roof ” said that it should never be overlooked by any government of the six states included maintaining that “there can be no development in a community or environment that is not secure”.
He significantly noted that this is the first time the six governors from the southwest will be meeting since the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission) was been established.
“Although the problem of terrorism is mainly in the North East, the events that contribute to the state of insecurity in that region are spreading like wildfire down south and we are beginning to feel the heat.
“Last week, the son of Professor Isaac Adewole, a former Minister of Health who was also a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, was kidnapped in his farm, right here in Oyo State.
“The Ibadan/Ife Expressway is fast becoming a den of kidnappers. Just last month, Prof Olayinka Adegbehingbe, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, was kidnapped on the Ibadan-Ife Expressway while returning from Lagos. Our people are afraid to travel by day and by night.
“Of greater concern to all is the aspect of the GTI report which indicated that whereas deaths via Boko Haram insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country had reduced drastically, killings by herdsmen in the North Central region have been on the increase.
“Today, criminal activities of herdsmen are no longer limited to the North Central. We have received reports of their activities in the South West.
“Recently, the National Association of Women Journalists, Oyo State chapter, protested peacefully in Ibadan calling for an end to insecurity not just in Oyo State but in the entire South West region.
“It is my belief that our deliberations here today, will throw up tailor-made solutions that can be applied to the states of the South West.
“As a group on this side of the Niger, we have always had more things that unite us than those that divide us.
“We have always held our doors open and been welcoming of strangers. We want things to continue exactly like this because the diversity in our states is an ingredient for economic development. We shall not allow the actions of miscreants and enemies of unity to make us change who we are.
“As Governors, it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone in our midst, indigene or alien, is assured of security of their life and property.
“We also know that there are barriers preventing us from carrying out this constitutional responsibility to the fullest measure. One of those barriers is the fact that we do not control the security apparatuses in our states.
“We are grateful that the Federal Government is finally giving due consideration to the creation of state police. You will agree with me that the advantages of community policing far outweigh whatever fears people may be expressing against it.
“We have reached that point in our national consciousness where we can no longer tarry, the time to act is now!,” he posited
Meanwhile a non governmental organization, Crime Alert Security Network has pledged to support the Oyo state government at reducing crime to the bearest minimum in the state.
The organization’s Public relations officer, Jumoke Akinwale, made this claim in a chat with news men at the stakeholders’ security summit organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria with the focus to see into the solution of insecurity in the western states.
She, however, implored the Nigerian public to show more commitment to the fight against crime.
Packaged by Ojo Peter