The pan Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has condemned in strong terms the Saturday attack by terrorists in army uniforms who attacked a farm in Ipapo, Oke ogun, Oyo State to kidnap four people at gunpoint.
In a release signed by the organization’s national publicity secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, Afenifere stated that the circumstances surrounding the attack and how the hoodlums were able to escape with their victims were further justifications for allowing security outfits set up by state governments to be equipped with requisite weapons. Heavily armed gunmen numbering about 10 had invaded the farm in the evening of Saturday, October 8, 2022, and abducted 14 people. Ten of them were able to escape while the four still in captivity consisted of three males and one female.
On the same Saturday, Osun State Police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola disclosed that Chief Oladepo Asaolu, Babaloja of Ora-Igbomina in Oke-Ila local government area of the state who was kidnapped on October 5, 2022, in his farm was found dead in a bush close to the town.
At the beginning of this month, another traditional ruler, the Oba of Owa-Onire in the Kwara South Senatorial District, his wife and driver were abducted by unknown gunmen as confirmed by the spokesman of the State police command, Okasanmi Ajayi.
Back to the Iseyin-Ipapo kidnap incident, Chairman of the Farm Settlement Association, Mr. Adepoju, said that the gunmen were dressed in army camouflage with high grade weapons.
A top officer of the local security outfit, Amotekun, who was co-ordinating security in the area but chose to remain anonymous said that they got to the place on time enough to rescue the victims but could not do so because the attackers carried sophisticated weapons including AK47.
“It was difficult for our men to confront them frontally because these assailants carried heavy arms with rounds of bullets around their bodies. It is not unlikely that they even wore bullet-proof jackets whereas the highest weapons in the hands of our officers were Dane guns.”
He insisted that were they to have equal arms, the attackers would not have escaped as Amotekun officials were able to prevent the terrorists from causing greater damage “even with the limited weapons we carried. Were we to be allowed to carry sophisticated weapons that our assignment demands, the hoodlums would have met their waterloo” he assured.
Questions can also be raised on how those bandits got the army uniforms and the sophisticated they wield.
It is on record that a lot of calls have gone to the federal government to allow states that are so desired to set up state and community police with all the necessary paraphernalia to enable them maintain security in their respective domains. Among advocates of such calls were Afenifere, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom etc.
Southern Governors’ Forum earlier in the year also backed the call for state police. President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has however turned a deaf ear to the calls.
Last month, Governor Akeredolu and Afenifere openly protested the denial of South West Governors’ requests to arm their security outfit, Amotekun, with AK 47 riffles while conceding the same to the Katsina State Government.
According to Ajayi, were Amotekun to be allowed to carry needed weapons, bandits would think it twice before they contemplate coming to Yorubaland.
Expressing Afenifere’s condemnation of the attacks in Yorubaland, the spokesman recalled that Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, among others, had called attention to the invasion of the South West by bandits.
“Our governors and our leaders in Yorubaland are aware of the possible attacks, but we are helpless in a way because of the handicap placed on our path by the federal government through its refusal to allow our state governments to put up requisite security structures.
”Insisting that the federal government’s continued refusal “is not only against the federal spirit of the country’s constitution, it is detrimental to the overall peace of the country”.
With a pang bordering on frustration, Ajayi stated that with a litany of such insecurity breaches all over the place, President Muhammadu Buhari needs to do more if his regular assertion of overcoming insecurity challenges is to be realizable.
“Some of the steps to be taken to realize this are to immediately allow states to set up their own police forces; decentralize security apparatus; equip and motivate security agencies; stop treating bandits and terrorists with kid gloves and finally allow true federalism so that states and local governments can devise appropriate measures to deal with the challenges facing them in all areas of human endeavour”.
“As we write this, residents of Onibueja in Egbedore local government of Osun are living in fear following handwritten letters pasted in parts of the community by suspected armed robbers notifying the people of their intention to come and raid them within the month, according to the Baale (Head) of the community, Chief Najeemdeen Alabi.
Reports also have it that in broad daylight on September 29th, some unidentified gunmen allegedly killed five soldiers, injuring many others in Umunze, a suburban town in Anambra state.
In the same vein, gunmen, in the early hours of Sunday, October 9th, attacked the Arum Inyi Police Division in Oji-River Local Government Area of Enugu State killing at least two persons and setting the station ablaze. Oji River is home to the Police College where new recruits are trained and deployed for services.
A similar incident occurred in Ebonyi State in the wee-hours of this Monday, October 10.
In September, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah who disclosed that he has had to spend over N30 million to secure the release of some priests working under him who were kidnapped added that his “nephew and a driver kidnapped over three months ago are still in captivity”.
Last week, Borno State Police Commissioner, Abdu Umar, said that “389 Policemen lost their lives, over 450 Policemen were injured while several crime-fighting equipment were carted away or burnt” in the state alone between 2011 and now.
Just as the Kaduna State Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) disclosed that no fewer than 10 of its members have been killed by bandits in different parts of the State since the beginning of 2022 alone.
Quoting the often repeated assurance by President Muhammadu Buhari that his administration will ensure the security of Nigerians, Jare Ajayi asserted that the situation on ground does not seem to support the assurance being given by Mr. President.
“Thus, the government needs to do more”.