A retired Army Brigade General Kunle Togun Chairman Western Nigeria Security Network and head of Amotekun Oyo State has alerted the Federal Government of the worsening security situation in South West of Nigeria saying : “It is becoming overwhelmed with the large number of unwelcome visitors”.
He said these visitors were laying claim ” on the lopsided Nigeria constitution that allows anybody to reside in any part of the country.”
General Togun made this known in a paper he delivered titled: “The Imperatives of Decentralized Security Landscape In Combating Kidnapping and Banditry In Nigeria; The Amotekun Experience In Yorubaland at a one day Workshop organised by The Yoruba Leadership And Peace Initiative ( TYLPI) at the Conference Centre of Lead City University, Ibadan on 25 January 2023.
General Togun said without mincing words that : “The current security situation in South West of Nigeria comprising of Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun and Lagos “is generating a lot of concern to indigenes of these States.”.
” The activities of armed Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, and bandits are creating fears all over the states. Farmers have been driven from their farms . Traveling on our highways is fraught with danger . Movements within the metropolis is creating fear due to the ubiquitous movement of Okada riders.”
Not only these, he said All our reserves have been taken over by the influx of foreign herdsmen loaded with all sorts of offensive weapons. Many natives have been driven from their farms. No doubts if these anomalies are not corrected soon, famine will devastate a lot of families and the ripple effect cannot be imagined.
Worst still Gen Togun declared that : ” Our forest reserves have become home for foreign herdsmen carrying AK 47 and other heavy weapons mounted on Hilux.
He noted that: All our cities in all the South West region particularly major roads have become eyesore due to preponderance of Okada riders, some of them carrying dangerous weapons under the seat of their Okada. Okada riders have become source of sensitive information on routes, short cut and location of important landmark in all our cities.”
His fears he stated were that the Fulanis ” want to by force of arms , complete the unfinished project of Othman Dan Fodio.”
General Togun in proferring solutions to this foreboding fear of insecurity said:
1. There must be unity among Yoruba groups while pushing the interest of the Southwest.
2 Mobilisation of all towns, villages and hamlets through direct involvement of Obas, chiefs and village leaders to commence formation of Vigilante groups to argument Amotekun.
3.States should focus more on traditional hunters and other traditionalists to support Amotekun.
4 All forest reserves in the Southwest should be divided and hunters to patrol and disarm Fulani herdsmen through traditional ways.
5. Anti- grazing law to be enforced in all Western Nigerian States.
6. All abandoned and uncompleted buildings , on no condition must anybody sleep in those buildings except the security employed by the landlord.
7. All Okada and tricycle should be banned after 7 O’clock in the evening till the following day 7 am
8. All markets should be closed at night. There should be no sleeping in the market or night duties except security guards.
9. Proper surveillance on the Fulani Okada operators, their lodging places , where they hold meetings at night.
10. All abandoned and uncompleted buildings must not be inhabited except the security employed by the Landlord.
11. All State Governors must fight and pursue the establishment of State police, Governors need armed policemen and should take security more serious. Us of drones should be a priority.
12 Traditional Chiefs, Obas and baales found involved in selling and allocation of land to Fulani herdsmen, Minette Allah and other invaders of Yorubaland should be sanctioned
13. Southwest states should immediately embark on registration of their indegenes local government by local government.
14. Scanning of vehicles particularly lorries, trailers and tankers should be given priority.
15. View the proposed census in few months with suspect. It should be suspended.
In his own contribution the Orangun of Oke-Ila in Osun State, Oba Adedokun Abolarinwa, said poverty and unemployment were major causes of insecurity in Nigeria, particularly Yorubaland.
He said insecurity would continue as long as youth across the nation are not productive and engaged to contribute to the development of the country.
,The monarch urged stakeholders in Yorubaland not to see security of the region as the sole duty of the government, but duty of all, adding that democracy and stability can not thrive without security.
In his own paper the erudite Rear Admiral Leye Jaiyeola, reasoned that the Federal Government would have to drop its apparent disinterest and back constitutional provision for urgent inclusion of state police in the nation’s security architecture.
He said the invitation and involvement of the Armed Forces in civil operations, though provided for in the constitution, was not ideal , especially if it was prolonged or became routine as currently being witnessed in Nigeria.
Aside attendant cases and charges of excessive use of force, high-handedness, torture, and impunity, deployment of the soldiers had also always attracted controversies with rife cases of alleged corruption and extortion of the civilian population and commuters especially at military checkpoints.
The former Navy boss said all these were inevitable in military-civil engagement or interaction due to the different nature and orientation of the military, saying, “we should be prepared for this kind of thing if we want to involve them in internal security operations.”
Better still, he said, their intervention should be swift and temporary as they were not suited for the role on a permanent basis and could only compound the woes of the civil population, it not being their primary responsibility and role.
Consequently, Admiral Jaiyeola called for the strengthening and empowerment of the police which, he noted, had responsibility for internal security to discharge the mandate.
He asked government to swiftly set machinery in motion to pass state policing system into law.
He also stressed the need to train, motivate and adequately equip the personnel for effective discharge of their roles.
In his own short comment Sir Folu Olamiti a member of TYLPI trustee called for unity among many Yoruba groups. Yoruba groups he submitted should come under one umbrella because in unity the Yorubas will be a force to reckon with in the Federation of Nigeria.
Leaders of splinter groups should bury their egoistic tendencies and come together to further the interests of yoruba people.
TYLPI President, Mr. Olusegun K Ahmadu, said the workshop was to evolve effective strategies and sensitise stakeholders on ideas to tackle the troubling insecurity in Yorubaland.
According him, Yoruba people should put aside their personal interest and differences and support call for security of lives and property of people in the region.
Other speaker at the workshop was Dr Dupe Albert,Senior Lecturer,Lead City University.