Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) on Monday reflected on the growing insecurity in the country and urged Southwest governors to gird their loins.
The group said governors should strengthen Amotekun, the security outfit in the region with sufficient arms, resources and public goodwill to successfully tackle insecurity in any part of the zone.
According to the organisation, the six governors should look inwards by drawing strength from the capacity of their people to defend the region instead of relying on elusive assurance of security by the over-centralised policing system.
ARG leader Olawale Oshun lamented the incessant abductions across the country, calling on the Southwest geo-political zone to be more vigilant and pro-active.
He said the time is ripe for Amotekun operatives, to carry arms in defence of the region like the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF)in the Northeast.
On Sunday, there was uproar in Osun State as gunmen killed a family of six in Wasimi, near Ikire, Irewole Local Government Area.Similar incidents have been reported in Ekiti and Ondo states. Yesterday two students of Ogun-State-owned Olabisi Onabanjo University were kidnapped.
Oshun, a former Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, said reliance on the Federal Government for security could be counter-productive, pointing out that the centralised police, in it’s current form, is ill-equipped and largely defective.
He said the antagonists of decentralisation should have a rethink and join forces with advocates of devolution.
He said: “The governors of Southwest should individually know that they owe the people of their states the responsibility of protecting lives and property. Let the governors go and attend to the security issues in their areas.
“We have been talking about the decentralisation of the policing system. There is no way we can effectively tackle insecurity, unless we rely on local people for intelligence, surveillance and information sharing. The national policing system cannot be beyond 10 kilometres outside Abuja. The governors must go back to the drawing board.
“Amotekun should carry arms like the Civilian JTF in the North. Security should have local content. The centralised police is ill-equipped. We need to go local and do away with centralisation. That was how they killed Enron Power Project and Lagos Metrolink line. The governors should rise to the occasion. The centre should devolve power to states. The federating units should start to pick up the powers themselves.”
The Northern Elders for Peace and Development also lamented the worsening insecurity in the North.
Its National Coordinator, Zana Goni said: “It is regrettable that many people are being killed daily in the region just as tens of soldiers are being killed unreported especially in the Northeast.
“Those trusted with the security and welfare of our people must be sincere in briefing Mr President so that he can give them the needed support and logistics to crush the worrisome situation once and for all.”
Another gale of abductions swept through the country yesterday.
Three teachers were abducted from a school in Kaduna; two university students were kidnapped in Ogun and five persons were taken away by suspected herdsmen in Anambra state.
In Niger, a vigilante group killed nine suspected armed bandits and arrested four of them.
The bandits were belived to have killed four of their abducted victims.
The teachers – Rabiu Salisu, Umar Hassan and Bala Adamu – were abducted by suspected bandits in a morning attack on Rema Primary School, Rema in Magajin Gari Ward 2, Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.
Kaduna Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said two pupils who went missing in the ensuing commotion were later found.
He said: “Pupils, who had just arrived at the school to begin the day’s activities, took to their heels in the course of the commotion as the bandits invaded the premises on motorcycles.
“This led to two pupils going missing. However, we are happy to inform you that the two missing pupils have been found.
“We can also confirm that no single pupil was kidnapped from the school. Other than the three teachers, no staff or pupil of the school is missing following the attack.
“Security reports have also revealed that the bandits rustled several cattle and went away with five motorcycles and other valuables.
“The military and other security agencies are in hot pursuit of the bandits to ensure that the three kidnapped persons are rescued safely.”
The Commissioner said troops rescued a young boy wandering in the Faka Forest.
Two 300-level female students of the Faculty of Agriculture, Ayetoro campus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ogun State, were abducted by gunmen.
The students – Adeyemo Precious and Oyefule Abiola – are of the departments of Forestry and Wildlife Management and Agricultural Economics.
The victims were abducted at about 9 pm on Sunday when the attackers stormed the Igbole Aibo Quarter area of Ayetoro, in Yewa North Local Government Area of State.
They fired several shots before taking the undergraduates away just when they were going back home.
The Deputy Registrar, Corporate Affairs Unit of the OOU, Mr Niyi Oduwole, confirmed the abduction.
“We sympathise with parents of the victims and we assure them that their wards will be rescued unhurt. We are on top of the situation,” he said.
The Anambra incident occurred in Ayamelum Local Government Area.
One of the victims is the President-General of the Omor community, Mr Francis Onwuachu, said to have been kidnapped on Friday night.
A former President-General of the community, Udoji Amedu, said the kidnappers had demanded N10 million ransom for Omor only.
Amedu said suspected herdsmen killed his cousin last month.
“There is fear and anger in the land right now. Our people are afraid of using the roads because it’s insecure. Those who need to go to Awka or Onitsha are afraid to move.
“Before this incident, many of our people were killed by the suspected herdsmen. Our women were raped,” he said.
Police spokesman, Mohammed Haruna, said an investigation had begun.
Members of a vigilante group in Azza Community in Lapai Local Government of Niger State killed nine armed bandits that attempted to attack the village.
The group also arrested four of the bandits after an exchange of gunfire.
Two people who were on their way to pay ransom to the bandits were said to have tipped off the local security team.
Residents of Gulu said the bandits killed four men who they kidnapped.
Troops kill 41 insurgents, rescue 60 in Borno
Not fewer than 41 Boko Haram insurgents have been killed by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in the Gamboru axis of Borno State.
Director Army Public Relation, Brig Gen. Ibrahim Yerima, said in a statement that 60 people were rescued, including elderly women and children.
Arms and ammunition were recovered from them, as well as sewing machines, sex enhancement drugs, toolboxes and motorcycles.
The statement reads: “In continuation of the ongoing offensive operation against the Boko Haram Terrorists and their Islamic State West Africa Province counterpart in the Northeast, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have decisively taken out several terrorists after heavy fighting in the early hours of March 15, 2021.
“The gallant troops who maintained aggressive posture conducted a fighting patrol along Gulwa and Musuri in Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.
“At Musuri, troops encountered elements of the terrorist group and swiftly engaged them in a firefight which lasted for about 45 minutes.
“With superior firepower, troops ultimately dominated the area after neutralising 41 of the terrorists.
“They also recovered sophisticated weapons and rescued 60 elderly women and children who were in the terrorists’ captivity.
“Items recovered from the obliterated fighters include 12 AK47 rifles, eight Fabric Nationale (FN) rifles, a motorcycle, six bicycles, mechanic toolboxes, a sewing machine, large quantity of batteries used for making of Improvised Explosive Devices and sex enhancement drugs, amongst other things.
“Troops are in high fighting spirit and determined as ever to clear the entire region and country of vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists.”