Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Taiwo Jesubiyi was on a visit to the Owena Press Limited, publisher of The Hope, where he spoke with the Line Editors of the paper on efforts of the police to rid the state of kidnapping and terrorism. Excerpts:
We want to know what your command is doing to checkmate incidences of kidnapping and terrorism along Ose and Akoko areas of the state which are now becoming a recurrent decimal.
When I came in as Commissioner of Police, we had to review the existing strategies. We came up with another formula where everyday the DPOs and other security agencies like Amotekun and even hunters comb the forests. Those who are in the forests have been sending video clips to me, just to show that the operation is being carried out. Soldiers, police, Amotekun, hunters and even farmers are already combing the bushes, and if there is any attack somewhere, immediately we mobilise our men and comb everywhere. This has been yielding results. In some places, we were able to locate and demolish mud houses which criminals had been occupying to carry out evil.
Sometimes, they will operate along Kogi border, later they will be along Edo State border. However, I assure the citizens of Ondo State that we will continue to do our best, but we need their cooperation through prompt information, because it takes two to tango. The challenge has been that people refused to give timely and useful information to the police, even though we have made our phone numbers available. Sometimes, they claimed that they were threatened by the criminals. But they have to make sacrifice and cooperate with us. We are begging and soliciting the public to have more confidence in us. We are in synergy with other law enforcement agencies and the synergy is so strong that we know, with the help of the public, we will succeed.
Few days ago, a community raised an alarm that some of their members were injured by kidnappers. What is the police doing about clashes between Fulani herders and farmers?
I want to correct an impression. A criminal is a criminal. I don’t like giving ethnic colouration to crime. Criminals have been hiding under the tag Fulani herders to perpetrate crimes.
Most of the crimes are not perpetrated by the real Fulani people. Sometimes, the local people disguised and even speak like Fulani people.
It is when you investigate you will discover that the crime was committed by locals. Sometimes, it’s a combination of people from neighbouring states and some members of some communities. Luckily, there has been synergy among security agencies which even the new president encourages, and if we continue like that it will be difficult for criminals to prevail in our communities.
Is it not possible for the police to go to hot spots of crime and disguise, so that they can easily pick the criminals, since those criminals are located within the communities, because the people of Ijagba for instance have been so terrorised that they now live in perpetual fear?
There is always an insider helping kidnappers to perpetrate their crimes, though some operate at random. We are doing our best. There is another strategy we are trying to adopt but we are waiting for logistics. We will get plain buses and police will disguise in it, but it requires logistics which we are working on. On most of the highways, kidnappers tend to come out around 5:00 pm because if they come out late, they won’t see many vehicles, except trucks.
However, I need to emphasise this, criminals are mobile. They can move from an extreme part of the country down here, operate for few hours and return to where they came from, whereas we are still working on the local ones. Meanwhile, Ondo State is more or less a gateway state. Therefore, we need helpful information and cooperation from the public. That’s why we have made our phone numbers available to the public.
There are some places notorious for drugs such as hemps, cocaine, schooches and others, which serve as filip for crimes. What is the police doing about that?
Once in a while, we raid. If the quantity is much, we hand them over to NDLEA with whom we are in synergy. However, when we raid them in one place, they show up elsewhere. I must commend the DG of NDLEA for a job well done. However, if government can be brought closer to the grassroots and there’s development at the local level, that will help a lot. Police is working and will continue to work but we have to exploit all available options. Media has a major role to play in this democracy, especially in the area of advocacy.