Following the absence of policemen on the streets and many flashpoints in states across the federation, OPC, S’South, vigilance groups vow to move in as police desert posts.
Oodua Peoples Congress National Coordinator and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams has expressed the readiness of the OPC to secure states in the South-West.
Gani said the day after the Lekki shooting, OPC members were deployed in Ogbomoso and Oke Ogun in Oyo State as well as Ijebu in Ogun State to ensure that there was peace.
He said, “We are ready to move in because the security of our people is paramount to us. We need to secure our people. We have about six million members and the OPC of today is different from the OPC of the past. We are more strategic now. When there are issues, we strategise more.
“Don’t judge us by the number you see out there. Our members are not fully part of Amotekun except some in Oyo State.
“However, we need the governors to give their approval. The governor is the Chief Security Officer of the state. There is nothing we can do without the approval of the governors. In the meantime, we are looking at partnering with local government chairmen to coordinate such activity. We are ready to move in to secure our people. We did it during the #EndSARS crisis after the shootings in Lekki.”
Iba Adams, however, stated that restructuring was the solution to the insecurity and other challenges facing the country.
In the same vein, the state chapter of OPC and Amotekun have expressed their readiness to take up the security of the towns should the police’s absence persist.
The state coordinator of OPC, Mr Victor Olayemi, said, “We are always ready, our function is to provide security in Yorubaland and we will not be lacking in rendering that service to our people. If this situation persists, we will be available because the issue of security should not be left for the security agencies alone.”
Following same, the Ekiti State coordinator of OPC, Mr Sola Ojo, said his members would be willing to assist if government made the request. “We will be ready to assist the government; of course we have the capacity and sufficient men to do that,” he added.
Mr. Sola Ojo called on the police to continue with their good jobs, saying people should not judge them because of a few bad eggs among them even as he canvassed for an improved welfare package for them.
In Oyo State, leaders of OPC, Agbekoya and Soludeto Hunters said their men were prepared to secure lives and property.
The leader of OPC (New Era), Mr Rasaq Arogundade, told Saturday PUNCH in an interview in Ibadan on Friday that even before the recent crisis, the group had been assisting the police and other security agencies.
He added, “We are partnering with other groups to secure the people. The police alone cannot secure the people and that is why we have been involved for a long time. This is the time the governors need to campaign for state police or for vigilantes to be given constitutional roles. We know the people in our areas and we can make arrests and hand them over to the police.”
The leader of Agbekoya in Ajibode, Ibadan, Waheed Adeniyi, popularly known as Baba Ijebu, told Saturday PUNCH in a separate interview that governors should ask Agbekoya and other groups to help in securing important places and communities. He noted that the group had been doing this but that an invitation by the governor would boost the morale of their members.
Also, Oyo State coordinator of the OPC loyal to Gani Adams, Mr Rotimi Olumo, told one of our correspondents that the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, had told them to secure the town since the #EndSARS protests began, noting that “just this week, our members prevented Mokola Police Station from being burnt, even at Bere, Moniya and other places. The security the people are enjoying now despite the absence of police is because some people like our members are working day and night.”
The National President, Soludeto Hunters, Nureni Ajijolaanabi, also told Saturday PUNCH that his members had been carrying out security work in states in the South-West. “We have brought in more people to train them and they will start work by midnight today (Saturday). This is what we have been doing and the police recognise our activities,” he added.
In Ekiti State, Amotekun and the Vigilante Group of Nigeria promised to deploy their men in the streets to ensure the security of lives and property.
The Corps Commander of Amotekun, Brig.-Gen. Joe Komolafe, said, “We will deploy them in the streets as soon as possible. By next week, you will see them on the streets in the various local governments.”
Also, the state commander, VGN, Akin Olorunlonimi, said, “The vigilante and Amotekun corps will hit the streets soon to ensure security of lives and property. By next week, you will start seeing Vigilante and Amotekun men on the streets. We want to ensure there is no vacuum.” He said they had made some arrests already.
Also speaking, the Ekiti State Commander, Agbekoya Peace Movement of Nigeria, Mr Sunday Omoyajowo, said his members were working day and night to ensure the security of lives and property of the people.
“My advice to the police is that we should not because of what happened abdicate our responsibility of securing the society. The fact of the job is that struggle continues. The government should appeal to both the police and the youth to ensure restoration of peace, law and order,” the Agbekoya commander added.
In the same vein, the Ondo State Commander of the Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye said his officers were already present in the 18 local government areas of the state to provide security.
“But we are still meeting with the security agencies in the state. Even today (Friday), we had a meeting with the security agencies to appeal to them to return to the streets,” he added.
The Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in a statement on Friday by his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, expressed concern over what he described as the low level of policing in the state, noting however that all stakeholders should take maximum advantage of lessons learnt from recent events.
“The general observation across the state shows a very low level of policing which is risky to the society,” it added. The governor also issued a seven-day ultimatum to those in possession of illegal arms and ammunition to return them to Amotekun commandant in Akure.
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