Fears, jitters over rise in kidnapping, banditry in South-West | CABLE REPORTERS

An uneasy calm is currently sweeping across parts of the South West over fresh cases of attacks by suspected herdsmen in the area. Eight villages in the Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State recently fell victims. There was also the violent exchange between herdsmen and some Ohori farmers at Idofa village, which left five persons dead, and property worth millions of naira destroyed.

In Ondo State, some herdsmen attacked farmers in some communities located in two local government areas of the state and Akoko division leading to death of five people. The attack prompted some women in Auga-Akoko and some other neighbouring towns and villages to protest half-naked against the killings and rape and other dangerous attacks being perpetrated by herdsmen against the indigenes. They then appealed to operatives of Amotekun corps and local hunters to come to their aid, as they can no longer sleep with their eyes closed or go to farm.

In recent times, there had been reported cases of kidnapping in the Ogun State axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The three flashpoints on the road are: Ogunmakin, Onigaari and Ishara. Some cases of kidnapping resulted in payment of ransom running into millions of naira while some led to the death of the victims.

Three victims were kidnapped on the highway on Sunday, January, 16, by gunmen.  The Amotekun Commander in Ogun State, Mr. Dave Akinremi, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, told Saturday Sun that the agency’s security outfits in Ogun and Oyo States have been collaborating to improve the security on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in conjunction with other security agencies.

He revealed: “We have meetings of Council of Amotekun Commanders, where we fashion out strategies that we have been employing in checkmating criminal activities. We have been having joint patrols and operations when the need arises. We do share intelligence.” On the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway incident, he acknowledged two cases of kidnapping in recent times but added that they are working out a new approach to security joint operations around the axis.

But the Secretary-General of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, while describing as “disturbing, embarrassing and frustrating” the resurgence of kidnapping on the expressway, called on the governors of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States to “sit together and get the security agencies to monitor the road, supervise it, and be on patrol 24 hours of the day on the highway.”

Meanwhile, the commissioners of police in both Oyo and Ogun States have visited the flashpoints to beef up security on the entire stretch of the ever-busy road. They assured road users not to entertain any fear whenever they are traveling through the axis.  When contacted, the Amotekun Commander in Oyo State, Col Olayinka Olayanju (retd), said that the Nigeria Police Force is the lead security agency in internal security and has been coordinating other security agencies to ensure security of lives and property on the rod.

Ogun State government says it will not allow any part of the state to be taken over by terrorists, killer herdsmen, kidnappers or bandits as a safe haven to unleash mayhem on the people. It added that it is already collaborating with neighbouring states like Oyo and Lagos to comb its forests so as to smoke out the “harbingers of destruction.” Akinremi who stated this while speaking to newsmen yesterday in Abeokuta, noted that Amotekun personnel in Ogun and Oyo states are now combing the forests to dislodge the terrorists while disclosing that the state government has concluded arrangements to fortify all the 20 local government areas of the state with Amotekun operatives. 

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