Kidnapping epidemic: S’West states plan joint security patrols, more arms

Kidnapping epidemic: S’West states plan joint security patrols, more arms

Governors in the South-West region are seriously considering setting up joint patrols by security agencies to rid the area of kidnappers who have made life unbearable for the residents.

The state governors are also planning more logistics support for security agents, including the military, the police, Amotekun, vigilantes and local hunters, among others, to tackle the resurgence of kidnapping and killings in the region.

The region, known to be peaceful in the past, has become a hotbed for kidnappers and other criminals.

A few days ago, gunmen killed two Ekiti monarchs – the Onimojo of Imojo, Oba Olatunde Olusola, and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin, while the Alara of Ara Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, narrowly escaped.

The traditional rulers were returning from a security meeting in Kogi State when they ran into an ambush mounted by the kidnappers who were operating on the highway between Ipao and Oke Ako in the Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

Also, in the same area, kidnappers attacked a school bus and whisked away five pupils of the Apostolic Faith Group of Schools, three teachers, and the bus driver.

A few days earlier, the chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Philip Aivoji, was abducted by some yet-to-identified gunmen along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Although Aivoji was released four days later, several others are not that lucky to come out unhurt.

Reacting to this, the Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, Sulaimon Olanrewaju, said although he could not speak for all the governors in the region, Governor Seyi Makinde’s government was beefing up security in every area in the state.

He said, “That is why, recently, the government gave out vehicles to the security agencies in the state to ensure that they can operate without any problem. Apart from giving out vehicles, they also got communication gadgets.

“The vehicles are being fuelled by the state, and the essence is for them to be able to cover all parts of the state.

“Because of the government’s pro-activeness, incidents of kidnapping are low in the state and we intend to improve on this. The special adviser to the governor on security and his team regularly meet with the team in Ogun State. They meet regularly and they discuss strategies to checkmate the security threat that may occur.”

Ogun concerned – Aide

Also speaking on the matter, the Special Adviser on Media and Communications to the Ogun State Governor, Kayode Akinmade, said the state government was deeply concerned about the resurgence of crime, particularly kidnapping, in the state.

Drones deployed

The aide also stated, “With global best practices, we are undertaking the deployment of drones and other special equipment for monitoring and intelligence gathering.

“The initial technical hitch experienced during the test-run has been addressed. I think that puts us in a vantage position; it puts us ahead of criminals who are increasingly adept at their evil activities, even using technology for their pernicious purposes. We will work with other states to jointly patrol our region,” he added.

Ekiti strengthens Amotekun

The Special Adviser on Media to Ekiti State Governor, Olayinka Oyebode, said the governor had indicated interest in lobbying the Federal Government to allow Amotekun, the region’s security outfit, to carry arms.

He said, “It is important that Amotekun carry arms, even though there had been an agreement that Amotekun can exist, if they do not carry arms, they are useless.

“The local gun they are currently using cannot be called real arms. The idea is to be able to do local information gathering, to secure the bushes and forest. Definitely, there is going to be more recruitment from our end here and there will be change on the dimension of the recruitment and also get local authorities involved.”

Tactical squads

Also speaking, the Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 11, comprising Oyo and Osun states, Benjamin Ayeni, said that at the zonal level, a tactical team had been created to checkmate the increased criminality in the region.

He said, “You know each state has their jurisdiction. The zone is just overseeing the state commands and each command has various measures that have been put in place.

“I am aware that Osun and Oyo states both have anti-kidnapping teams, and they have technical intelligent response units and other technical teams in place. The teams are headed by people who are operationally viable to handle situations.

“Recently in Osun State, the Commissioner of Police put together some team called the Joint Task Force, which involved civilians, Amotekun personnel, vigilantes and local hunters so that they can see what is going on within our bushes, and if you look at it there is no such problem in Osun and Oyo states because crime is local and we are working locally against it.

“Osun and Oyo states would soon receive theirs because the IG said he did not want to flush criminals out of Abuja and have them move to the neighbouring states.”

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