By Tola Gbadamosi
The Ondo State Security Networks Agency codenamed Amotekun Corps said that no fewer than 20 riders of commercial motorcycles known as Okada were killed within the space of three weeks in the state.
The Commandant of the corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, stated this on Wednesday in Akure while parading 11 suspects who were alleged to have committed various crimes ranging from unlawful possession of firearms, robbery and theft.
He said that the parade was sequel to the commencement of the flag off of the 2023/2024 Ember Months Campaign 24/7 Patrols and Joint Borders of the command.
Adeleye, who is also the Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Security Matters reiterated that the ban on motorcycles between 6:00pm and 6:00am remained on effect except those motorcycles on essential duties.
“ In the last three weeks, we recorded cases of no fewer than 20 Okada riders that have been killed and their motorcycles taken away. It is even risky for them to be riding at night. We want to appeal to them to go and rest after working for 12 hours so that we recognize criminals.
“ Again , it is no more permitted to ply the roads without registration number and all vehicles with tinted glass should get police permit. Motor dealers are to get dealers number not sticker. Any erring vehicle will be impounded.
“These are measures we are putting in place to guarantee safety of lives and property in the state. We want investors to come and do their work and we want farmers not to be molested on their farmlands.
“ Herders/farmers issue has been resolved substantially and we don’t want it to resurface. We are saying that herders have right to their business within the ambit of the law, without infringing on the right of the farmers and farmers too should not take laws into their hands, but report if your crops are destroyed,” he said.
He said that the initiative was in collaboration with army, police, NSCDC and vigilante to sustain peace in the state.
He explained that six of the suspects paraded were caught with the locally-made weapons, saying that suspects were getting prepared in destabilizing innocent residents and commuters in the coming Yuletide season in the state.
“ We are sending this warning to them and to anybody that is planning to foment trouble during this Yuletide season that it is not business as usual again. Our men will be deploy in all black spots across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“ And in collaboration with other security agencies, we are determined to reduce to the barest minimum all acts of criminal activities.
“Our men will be stationed at all access points to the state; all access points to each local government area, all major areas that people concentrate.
“ This is just to ensure and guarantee safety of lives and property. So, residents should not have a change of heart when they see them. They are working for them.
“ We want to make it clear that there is no way you perpetuate crime in Ondo State and go free. We are at all exit points and we have our communication equipment in place and our patrol vehicles will be on 24 hours work through this period,” he stated.
Adeleye recalled that the corps was able to rescue over 100 victims of kidnapping in 2022 in the state with valuable items recovered.
He said that the corps would improve more than success recorded in the previous year, thanking members of public for the support and asked them to improve on vital information given to the corps.
The special adviser said that the corps had improved on its communication network, asking members of public to call the distress call numbers of 08079999989 and give the the information that could be acted upon.
At the flag off of the 2023/2024 Ember Months Campaign 24/7 Ondo/Osun Joint Border Patrol at Owena, Adeleye reiterated the priority placed on security of lives and property by the state governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
He stated that in quick response to the governor’s directive to the corps, all inter- state roads leading to the state would be secured for safety.
The commandant asked residents of the community to report any criminal element in their midst to the corps, adding that they should not keep quite but give out vital information that would help the corps command.
According to him, vital information will create intelligence gathering that will make the corps’ work more effective.
Adetunji, who is also the Senior Adviser on Security Matters to the state Governor, promised that the corps would be patrolling the road day and night to ensure that residents of the state and commuters were secured.
Also speaking, the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp, Mr Ezekiel Ala, promised that the corps’ personnel would as well collaborate with the initiative in ensuring the roads were safe.
Applauding the move, Mr Rashidi Lawal, an elder in the border town, said that the Amotekun Corps had been doing great job across the state.
Lawal added that since the operation of the corps in the state, criminal activities had been abated.
Similarly, the youth leader in the community, Mr Kehinde Odediji, assured the Amotekun Corps of maximum support and collaboration.