From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has rolled out measures to tackle insecurity in the seven towns of Ibarapa over the crisis between local farmers and Fulani herdsmen, that caught global attention within the past two weeks.
The governor announced his administration’s plans to set up of peace and security committees at local government levels as well as commencement of identity management programme, towards strengthening the security architecture of the state.
The crisis was brought to the limelight by the Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, who visited Ibarapaland about two weeks ago and gave Fulani herdsmen in the area a seven-day quit notice, following destruction of farmland by cattle, kidnapping for ransom, rape, armed robbery as well as killings by people suspected to be herdsmen.
On the expiration of the ultimatum, the youth of Ibarapa forcefully evicted the Sarkin Fulani of Igangan and Oyo State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Saliu, who had since relocated his family to Ilorin in Kwara State.
But Makinde had insisted that people should not make mistake of labelling a particular ethnic tribe as criminals, but criminals should be treated as criminals, irrespective of the ethnic tribes they hail from. He added that the constitutionof Nigeria guarantees freedom of movement and Nigerians can actually reside in any part of the country they so wish.
But in the light of Sunday January 31 and Monday February 1, 2020, Governor Makinde met with selected stakeholders, local government chairpersons and political office holders from Eruwa, Lanlate, Igbo-Ora, Idere, Aiyete, Tapa and Igangan towns that make up Ibarapa zone.
At the meeting was held at Igbo-Ora, Makinde declared that the problems of the people are his problems, and that he feels the pains of the people of the area, saying the visit would enable him to find lasting solutions to the lingering insecurity issues in the area.
A Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, who was on the entourage his principal to the meeting, said in a statement, he issued on Monday morning, stated that state has approved the setting up of Peace and Security Committee at the local government levels.
He also disclosed that the government had directed the immediate take-off of an identity management programme to enable it to know who is who in the communities.
Makinde said: “The take-home from the interaction for me is that it is a collective problem and I can see the commitment from everybody to find a solution to this. And, at least, I am quite glad that some of the initiatives that the government is trying to put in place to stem insecurity are coming to fruition.
“We will ensure that our identity management programme takes off as quickly as possible. We will also ensure the setting up of peace and security committee that is all-encompassing in the councils.”
The governor also urged political office holders to always call the attention of the government to the happenings within their localities, saying that he decided to sleep over in Ibarapa to feel the pulse of the people.
According to the governor, he cannot sleep with two eyes closed in Ibadan if the people of Ibarapa are unable to sleep with two eyes closed. He added that the the problems of insecurity in Ibarapaland needed to be tackled collectively.
The governor, however, commiserated with the families that have lost loved ones to the insecurity situation, saying: “So, this is also to let people know that I feel their pain, because I have had a very close interaction with Dr. Fatai Aborode in the past. I commiserate with his family and many others who have lost loved ones to this situation.
“I feel the pain and I believe that with everybody coming together, we will be able to tackle the problem. Also, political office holders need to know that when they see something, they have to say something.”
On the enforcement of anti-grazing law, the governor declared that such is an area where state police would have helped.
He said: “Quite frankly, the governors are at the mercy of federal security agencies to implement certain laws.
“That was why we asked for State Police. In the first instance, it is a constitutional issue and, in the absence of having that, governors in the South West came together and formed Amotekun as a stop gap. Problems don’t go away completely. But you have to keep working at it; keep pushing to get to where you really want to be and that is what we will keep doing. But the law is there, though the implementation has not been smooth, we will keep working at it.”
On the deployment of additional Amotekun operatives, the governor said: “The 200 Amotekun Corps have been deployed. They are here and we are also supporting them with logistics by bringing four additional operational vehicles for them.”
The meeting had in attendance the speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, ‘Debo Ogundoyin,commissioners, chairmen and members of boards and parastatals, members of the State House of Assembly and all the political appointees from Ibarapa zone.