In the last few days, inhabitants and sojourners to Southwestern part of Nigeria have come under serious and unmitigated attacks. Precisely, Ekiti, Ondo, and Osun have had their shares of abductions, and killings. In recent times too, the Lagos-Ibadan and Ife-Ibadan motor ways have become valleys of death. More worrisome is that the pursuits of political offices seem to weigh more on the minds of those occupying the Federal and State houses of power than the security of lives and property in this geo-political zone.
While there have been cases of killings along the expressways, the police in Lagos said their officers had been placed on alert following reports of a planned attack by gunmen from border communities; the State Security Services (DSS) had in Abeokuta, Ogun State arrested a ‘security man’, who in actual fact was a suspected Boko Haram leader; and Gani Adams, the leader of the O’dua People’s Congress, had also declared that bandits had infiltrated some large forests in Oyo, Ondo and Osun States. Given antecedence, and understanding of guerilla warfare, we insist that the siege on the South West goes beyond being a temporary success to a calculated unleashing of terror and programmed territorial occupation.
Given this, we strongly admonish the South West governments to rise up to their constitutional duties, like Akeredolu is doing in Ondo, and ignoring primordial sentiments. The ‘Operation Gbalegbako’ of the Amotekun Corps is an initiative of Ondo and Osun States Governments, which must be emulated by all state governments. Through their patrol of the state borders, combing of adjoining forests, and even towns, in only one week, over a hundred arrests and profiling of about one hundred suspects have been achieved. While this may call for jubilation in some quarters, we reiterate that the number implies the rising rate of criminalities in our environment. Up until when all other states in the South-West take these proactive steps as Amotekun did in Ondo State, businesses, lives, and properties may remain unsafe for a long time to come.
However, it is important for South Western states to adopt the motto of ‘injury to one is injury to all’, and operate collectively to chase out the terrorists and abductors from their bushes, borders, and towns. To this end, we warn that an attack on Lagos State for example would destablise the economy of the geopolitical zone and that of the nation in general. The South Western governors must therefore cooperate and renew their resolve and energy through adequate financial, moral, and legal support to the Amotekun Corps for better policing, aggressive anti-terror tactical operations as well as the protection of the borders against external attacks.
To further extinguish the inferno of terror from the South-West, it is imperative that procurement of necessary technologies is non-negotiable. Deliberate training of security personnel, in intelligence gathering, remote sensing, jungle tracking, and versatility in the understanding and speaking of languages other than English or Yoruba becomes indispensable. Government should also enhance the response capacity of security personnel to distress calls. This could be achieved through the procurement of vehicles, motorcycles, as well as telecommunications gadgets.
South West must jettison the Federal Government’s model of responding to issues as these. Allowing terrorist cells to take root before attacking such has not been productive. Guerilla warfare is not won by expecting the enemies to attack before responding. Therefore, we insist that security personnel in the south West must comb all the forests, hideouts and terrorists sel centres before they gain ground to establish caliphates of blood, sand, and stones in the forests.
Furthermore, we do not think it strange that services of hunters and local vigilantes who understand the forest terrains are engaged to navigate the hidden paths of treacherous men who live on the spilled blood of the innocent. Also, the various broadcasting media in these states should actively engage in the orientation, education and encouragement of the citizens to reports any and every activity that seems strange and inconsistent with the environment per time.
Standing on occurrences than on alarmism, we reiterate that the Southwest is under the siege of invaders. We also reiterate that abandoned and neglected roads by government have contributed in no small way to the successes of these marauders. To this end, concerned tiers of government should expedite actions on road constructions and contractors must be compelled to complete the works to time. Meanwhile the tactical policing of criminal flashpoints must be enhanced to apprehend the abductors and curb their impunities. The time is rife for collective and proactive steps to arrest the gradual encroachment and territorial rape of the Southwest by terrorists.
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