South West governors yesterday assembled in Ibadan, Oyo State and renewed their call for state police.
According to the governors, state police is one of the major steps to stem the tide of insecurity in the region.
The governors spoke on a day the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and some Yoruba leaders met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja over rising insecurity in the South West, asking him to allocate more funds to the region to address security challenges.
The Yoruba leaders were led on the courtesy visit by Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye to the State House to rejoice with the President and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo for their re-election for a second term in office.
Presenting a number of demands to the President, Senator Durojaiye said it was worthwhile to take a bold step in combating crime and improving on security by working on the apparent shortage of the manpower in the Nigeria Police and by extending control of the Police from state to local government level.
He said: “By this, we humbly suggest that Mr. President should reflect deeply and consider recruitment, training, equipment and deployment of Nigerian Police on the basis of 774 Local Governments listed in the First Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Added to this is training the general public on the need to improve on their individual vigilance and awareness of movement of strangers passing through or moving into their neighborhood.
“Imbibing such habit and practice will be tremendous help or service to the Police and other security agents as regards “Intelligence” support especially now that most people have access to individual means of communication (telephone handsets).
“Mr. President, please permit me one more observation on the issue of security. In apparent desire to supplement your efforts, the newly elected governors of Western Nigeria extraction, on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, held a meeting in Ibadan to map out strategies to eradicate kidnapping and violent attacks. They and other states will surely need more financial subvention and support.”
On federalism, the Yoruba leaders said, “We seriously recommend clinging to the spirit and letters of our Federal Constitution. This is one sure way of achieving the desired goal of unity even in diversity, mutual respect, tolerance and giving true meaning to the opening phrase of our Constitution that is, “we the people”
“We will be a greater nation if we sincerely practice true federalism and think and act as Nigerians rather than as champions of the smaller units we were born into. Our big size is an asset worthy of preservation.”
S’West govs renew call for State Police
Unlike previous economic summits, all the six governors and several traditional rulers were in attendance at the all-important meeting tagged
Stakeholders Security Summit, which was organized by the Development Agenda for South Western Nigeria, DAWN, held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Multi-purpose Hall, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
Meanwhile, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere , and Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, yesterday, boycotted the Security Summit.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Governor Akeredolu said: “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 peoples of this country.
“Narrow-mindedness gloats over the horrendous crimes perpetrated by these criminal elements. Some fail to see beyond partisan parochialism. The situation on ground should compel a broader and open-minded analysis of this strange incursion, with a view to ascertaining the real reasons responsible for this disquiet.”
The governor, who spoke extensively on the large-heartedness and hospitality of people from the zone, warned that all the good virtues would have to be reviewed, considering the security situation in the zone.
He said: “We are particularly lucky; we have many examples to draw from history, considering exemplary courage in the face of adversity, uncommon display of hospitality, even in privation, industry and distinctive virtues, all of which mark us as a unique people.
“The influx of peoples from other parts of the country and beyond, attest to our urbanity and humane disposition, which accommodate divergence. The evidence of great successes recorded by those who seek refuge in our geo-political space is sufficient reason for the sustenance of our hospitable disposition, provided our people’s interests are not in jeopardy.
“Again, our history compels us to be cautious when confronted with strange occurrences. Our past experiences should teach us that understanding a phenomenon will assist us tremendously in proffering useful solutions. As leaders of our people, we cannot afford to be emotive in taking decisions for their benefit.
“Any step taken must reflect the collective will to protect them. No sacrifice is too much to preserve this heritage of peace and prosperity.”
Govs put aside political affiliations
At a well-attended meeting where the governors put aside their political affiliations, the governors took turns to lament the activities of the marauding herdsmen in the zone.
Akeredolu said: “We should be particularly worried by the current spate of an insidious phenomenon, hitherto unknown and uncommon in our immediate clime, creeping into our erstwhile peaceful and prosperous ambience.
The incessant perpetration of anti-social behaviours occasioning pervasive despair and the seeming helplessness of our security agencies to stem the tide of these aberrant attitudes, which threaten the very existence of our region as an autonomous socio-political entity, call for serious scrutiny. We must review these unfortunate incidents individually and collectively. Every state must be able to ascertain the extent of this current threat. We must locate the sources of compromise within our space with a view to curtailing same effectively in both the short and long run.
“Our collective goal should be the security of our space and safety of our people in all ramifications. On this, there should be no compromise. We must, consequently, be proactive in tackling the current security issues.”
Security situation is worrisome — Fayemi
Lending credence to the comments of Governor Akeredolu, the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, attested to it, saying there was no doubt that the security situation in the zone had created palpable fears in the minds of the people and that something urgent needed to be done.
“Just like my colleagues have said, the security situation is worrisome. It has created palpable fears in the minds of our people.”
Sanwo-Olu advocates State Police
In his speech, Governor Sanwo-Olu suggested that State Police be considered to compliment the effort of the Federal Police in all states of the federation.
He said: “State Police is the way to go. This would give the Chief Security officers in each of the states the opportunity to direct their affairs and make them accountable instead of waiting for Federal directives before major actions could be taken on incidents of banditry, cultism and other heinous crimes. Controlling one’s police at the State level would help us achieve unhindered and accelerated response to any criminal activities recorded within our communities.
In his welcome speech, Governor Makinde noted that though he was glad that the Federal Government was giving attention to the creation of state police, the advantage of community policing far outweighs the fears of the people adding that this was the time to act.
While advising the participants at the three-day summit to speak in one voice, he underscored the role of traditional rulers in maintaining peace in the region.
There are still challenges — IGP
Speaking on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, DIG Taiwo Lakanu said: “I have no doubt that this idea of the security summit was mooted out of burning desire and uncommon willingness to provide robust security for the good people of the South West, including Ondo, Osun and Oyo States under Zone 11 which I currently oversee.
“While it cannot be denied that the Nigerian Police is doing its best to protect Nigerians and defend our democracy, the point must be made that there are still challenges. Challenges such as kidnappings, armed robbery, burglary, cattle rustling, insurgency and other crimes still occur in some parts of the country.”
We’ll cooperate with govs — S’West MACBAN
On its part, the Chairman, Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Alhaji Muhammed Kabir Labar said: “It is a good cause by the governors. During this summit, we would be able to speak our minds. You heard what the governors said; that it is not an issue of ethnicity or religion. It is for the whole country. To say Fulani are the ones terrorising some parts of the country, yes, we hardly step out from being the victims.”
“We do our businesses in places where these crimes take place, especially in the wild. That is where most Fulani men are. If anything happens, we are being indicted. At times we are being kidnapped, we are being robbed.
“We have to work with security agents to bring out these criminals. South West people are domiciled here. Fulani people are everywhere in West Africa. We have no option other than to cooperate with them”, he said.
Why we didn’t attend summit — Afenifere
Meanwhile, Afenifere has explained why it did not attend the security summit held in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Speaking with Vanguard in Akure after its monthly meeting, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said: “There was no formal invitation but a telephone call four or five days ago. As you know, our monthly meeting is statutory and held monthly, we cannot change it.
“The call for the Security Summit came four or five days ago. We were not informed on time. But we will wait for the outcome of the meeting to know our next line of action.”
We were not officially invited — Agbekoya
Also, the President General of Agbekoya, High Chief Kamorudeen Aremu Okikiola, and the National Executive Council of Agbekoya said they boycotted the summit because they were not officially invited.
Okikiola said: “The fact remains that we were not officially invited, though we received a phone call regarding the ongoing meeting but our organization isn’t just a street gathering but a reputable, registered and approved one since 1938.”
Among those present at the summit were; the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams; Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, represented by Oba Aderemi Adedapo; Deji of Akure and others.
was represented by High Chief Folabi Fayehun; Elemure of Emure, Oba Adebowale Adebayo, Oba Francis Adefaraku, Oluwa of Igbara-oke, Oba Rufus Aladesanmi, Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Yusuf Adeleye, Olubaka of Oka Akoko; former Technical Adviser of Super Eagles, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, and many others.
All the Commissioners of Police in the South West states were also in attendance.
Progress is being made—Buhari
Reacting to the demands of the Yoruba leaders, President Buhari reminded them on the cardinal points the ruling party campaigned on in 2015 and 2019.
He said: “These things are basic because we cannot secure our country or an institution unless we secure it.”
The President said that insecurity in the North East, North Central and the South West, was true and that some progress had been made and more work still to be done.
“These are problems we are trying to solve within our physical and material resources.”
Why I dealt with Onnoghen
On why he moved against the former Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, Buhari said: “I will tell you as Afenirere, that was why I had to deal though reluctantly with the former Chief Justice. There were millions of dollars, euros not to talk of naira which were not declared.
“I wonder what sort of conscience some of us have, how can you sit and preside and lock people up for years and even sentence some to death and yet you are not doing what the constitution said you should do by occupying that vital institution?
“So, I stopped getting worried so much, sorry to admit it when I found out that could play hoop, stop and jump, what I mean is that if it is America they will do it this way, if it were in Europe they will do this way but if you go there after 250 to 400 years, how old are we?
“So I realized that I don’t want to go back to into detention again. So, an institution like yours, when you have secured your constituency constitutionally and materially you can help establish this country.”