Offa banks robbery, whereby some armed bandits recently raided five commercial banks in the town, killing some police officers, residents and carted away undisclosed amount of money in the process, could have been probably avoided if the Osun security architecture or similar to it had been adopted. At least, 17 people include eight police officers were confirmed killed in the incident.
Through effective leadership and good governance, Osun State has been remedied from apparent slide into state fragility and failure. It is one of the states in the country known to be peaceful, owing to the security measures that have been put in place by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola to support security agencies to carry out their responsibilities effectively. The lesson from Osun security strategy is that there is the need to strengthen the effectiveness of the Nigeria Police Force to guarantee security trust in the rural and urban centres and respond to citizens’ security needs. Achieving this requires systemic reforms in the governance and accountability of Nigeria’s police sector. Tackling modern security threats is directly tied to improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police.
It is evident that Osun has developed comprehensive strategy and home-grown solutions to security challenges in the state by developing a security plan to take care of challenges, such as robbery, cultism, drug abuse and arms proliferation, among others.
Before the advent of Aregbesola’s administration in 2010, Osun was one of the volatile states in the country, as bank robbery cases, extra-judicial killings, political violence and such other crimes were rampant and to a large extent, the residents of the state, particularly in some major towns like Ilesa, Osogbo, Ile-Ife and so many others could not sleep with their two eyes closed because of fear.
The story began to change shortly after the ‘power-shift’ to the hands of Governor Aregbesola, who, as part of his security measures declared that none of his supporters should attack any member of the opposition, who attacked them when they were in power.
What then followed was the procurement of five sophisticated Armoured Personnel Carriers and 125 Patrol vans and some other security equipment to combat crimes that already had an established ground in the state. The impact of this was the reduction in the crime rate, particularly in the state capital and some other major towns. This was a feat that had never been recorded by any government in the state. The vans were distributed among all the security agencies, including the Army, Police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Immigration and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) amongst others.
The state government also subsequently inaugurated a combined quick emergency response team, Swift Action Response Squad (SARS) which comprises security forces like the Army, Police, and NSCDC officials whose activities reduced crime rate to the barest minimum in Osun.
The procurement of a French Five-Plus-One passenger Helicopter for Aerial Security Surveillance and presentation of another set of more sophisticated 20 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) to the Nigerian Police Force, was a feat that has never been achieved by any government in the state. The procurement of the helicopter and the APC’s has particularly driven away many undesirable elements out of the state.
It was during the presentation of the 20 APC’s in 2014 that the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of zone X1, Mr. David Omojola saluted the courage of the Governor in fighting crime in the state, saying, the Aregbesola administration has demonstrated high sense of responsibility in keeping the state safe in line with the dictate of his office.
Also, the then Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Ibrahim Maishanu described the gesture from the Governor as the first in the history of the state, assuring that the equipment would be properly put to use and the state would be one of the most peaceful states in the country henceforth.
However, in order to make communication easier for security purposes, the state government as part of his commitment procured Modern Communication Gadget for security agencies in the state and ensured installation of various communication equipment at various security commands for easy communication. Also, the government established Osun Emergency and Citizens’ Inquiry/Contact Centre in Oke-Fia, Osogbo, which has since been serving as the easiest way of reporting any emergency situation to the security agencies.
Osun State is the most peaceful in the country, according to a report on Nigeria Peace Index (NPI). It is closely followed by Kogi and Ekiti States. According to NPI, Kwara and Imo ranked as fourth and fifth respectively in the rating. The inaugural peace index report put together by the Foundation for Peace Professionals, a research organisation that advocates for peace, adopted similar methodology of the Global Peace Index. Key findings of the NPI showed that Osun is the most peaceful state in Nigeria and it has greater tendency for peace based on its overall performance in the five broad indicators. While Osun didn’t come top in any of the five indicators, its overall score is the least violent.
Aregbesola of Osun launched and handed over 20 APCs at the cost of N1.3 billion to the Osun Police command in Osogbo where he declared that when government fails to guarantee safety of lives and property, such government had no business to be in power.