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Police, Vigilante, OPC Roar As Kidnapping Resurfaces In Osun 

Ismaeel Uthman  Security operatives in the State of Osun have roared against resurfaced kidnapping activities in Ijesa axis of the State.  The security operatives, it was learnt, have rejigged themselves and operations to avoid a repeat of the kidnapping incident that happened on Friday, August 29, 2022.  A gold miner, Musibau Adepoju and his driver…”
Yusuf
August 5, 2022 6:56 am

Ismaeel Uthman 

Security operatives in the State of Osun have roared against resurfaced kidnapping activities in Ijesa axis of the State. 

The security operatives, it was learnt, have rejigged themselves and operations to avoid a repeat of the kidnapping incident that happened on Friday, August 29, 2022. 

A gold miner, Musibau Adepoju and his driver were kidnapped last Friday by some gunmen along Ilesa-Osogbo road.

The kidnappers, who had earlier demanded a N100m ransom, had reduced it to N50m, according to the Police Public Relations Officer, Osun Command, Mrs. Yemisi Opalola.

OSUN DEFENDER noted that Osun had had a relief from kidnapping activities for quite sometime in the state.

But the recent kidnapping of the gold miner is troubling the minds of some residents of the state who are afraid that the kidnappers might have resumed their criminal activities.

However, the police have allayed the fear of the people of the state, assuring them that Osun will not be a safe place for kidnappers and other criminals. 

Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER in a telephone interview on Wednesday, Opalola, the spokesperson of the police, said efforts were in place to rescue the kidnapped gold miner and his driver. 

According to her, there was a combined effort of the police and local security operatives to rescue the victims and fortify the mining areas in the state.

She said, “The police are disturbed by the kidnapping of the miner and his driver. It has been long we had such occurrence but I assure you that they would be rescued alive and unhurt. The kidnappers had earlier demanded N100m ransom but they have reduced it to N50m now. Notwithstanding, the police and local security people are working round the clock to rescue the victims.”

Speaking on the activities of the police to nip the kidnapping in the bud, Opalola said, “If you observe, the kidnaping is happening in the area where mining is taking place. 

“One major problem in that area is that there are lots of private security operatives there. Some miners engaged the services of private security men without the consent of the police. 

“If we challenge anybody with arms or other things in our regular patrol, they would tell us that they are private security employed by the miners. This has been making it difficult for the police to isolate criminals and suspects. That is why the kidnappers had their ways there. 

“Notwithstanding, we have intensified efforts in securing the entire state and especially Ijesaland where mining activities are taking place.”

Opalola urged gold miners to always relate with the state command of the police on security issues.

In a telephone interview with OSUN DEFENDER, the Commander General of the Harmonized Vigilante Group in the State of Osun, Alhaji Ridwan Hussein, corroborated Opalola’s claim on engagement of private security operatives by the miners.

According to Hussein who is popularly known as Yaa Salam, there are many unknown private security operatives in all the mining areas, lamenting that the miners and their sponsors have not been relating with local security operatives that know the terrain. 

Hussein also cautioned farmers against arbitrary release of their land to miners, saying kidnapers have infiltrated the mining communities. 

He said, “The last time we had issue of kidnapping was last year in Ibokun. Ever since, Osun has been at peace. But the last week kidnapping buttresses a fact that mining activities in Ijesaland is a threat to the security of the state. All the kidnapping cases we have always been in the mining areas. 

“Big miners and their sponsors are the targets of the kidnappers. And these targets are vulnerable because the informants of the kidnappers are close to them; and they themselves engaged the services of private security operatives who do not know the terrain. 

“We have to warn our farmers from releasing their farmlands to miners arbitrarily; it is evident that the kidnappers have infiltrated these mining communities. But we will make sure we fortify those communities and secure our people. Osun will not return to the notorious era of kidnaping.”

Hussein dismissed the insinuation that Fulanis were responsible for kidnapping activities in the state.

He said, “I want to urge our people to desist from giving diversionary information. How do I mean? Our people are found of saying Fulanis do this, Fulanis do that when kidnapping takes place. When that happens, the security operatives will be looking for Fulanis, whereas Yorubas are the real suspects. 

From experience, we have observed that there Yorubas in the kidnapping gangs. People should be factual and give accurate information to security operatives.”

In his in comment, the Chairman of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams’s faction in the State of Osun, Chief Deji Aladesawe, accused the South-West Governors of paying lip services to the security of lives and property of the people of the region. 

According to Aladesawe, it is unfortunate that kidnapping took place in Osun few days after the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, raised the alarm that forests in the South-Wests have been infiltrated by Fulanis.

He pointed out that Osun, like any other states in the region, is vulnerable to any form of attack, including kidnapping, going by Adams’s report.

However, Aladesawe said the OPC is ready to flush out criminals in Yorubaland if the Governors would support them. 

He said, “If you observe, kidnapping is happening in the area where we have mining activities in Osun. That place is an abode of every dick-tom-and harry. There are lots of steps that OPC would have taken but we don’t have power to do that.

“Our forests need to be fortified. We are ready to combat the criminal. All we need is the support of the government. I want to assure our people that there will not be reoccurrence of kidnapping in Osun again.” 

Security Expert Warns Against Large Scale Violence

Reviewing the security situation, a security expert, Mr. Jackson Lekan Ojo, warns that the last Friday kidnapping might be a pointer to a more serious security threats, saying all hands must be on deck to secure the state.

Ojo who called for state and community policing to nip in the bud the security threat, said the police are already overwhelmed and have little to do in combating crime and criminal activities.

According to Ojo, it is high time the state government started funding local security operatives like hunters, Agbekoya, Oodua Peoples Congress, among others. 

 He said: “It is a pity that we handle security issues with levity in Nigeria. Insecurity is a global phenomenon but we must be prepared to prevent it in our various localities. 

“The criminal activities in the northern part of the country is gradually creeping into the South-West. It is already happening in Ondo and there is now a flash of that in Osun. We should know that what happened in Ondo might happen in other South-West states.

“If this issue of kidnapping is not nipped in the bud, it will spread like wildfire. Osun people should wake up and secure their state. There is threat on ground.”

Asking question on what to be done, Ojo said, “To me, we have only one police in Nigeria. That is the Nigeria Police Force and when you look at the activities of terrorists and bandits in Nigeria, I think the police and the army are already overwhelmed. 

“People have been clamouring for state police. The state police can be there without uniform. What do I mean? The hunters, agbekoya and others should be empowered. The state government should start funding them. 

“They said every criminality is local. People need to be sensitised seriously in Osun state.  The government should bring all the hunters in each of the villages and communities together. The governor should have meeting with them with military and the paramilitaries. They should work together. Even if what they will do is to give intelligence report alone to the government security forces, I think it will be enough. Police can never be sufficient in Osun state.”

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