Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Osun State governor, Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola, has appealed to the Nigerian Army to help protect residents of the state from bandits, herdsmen, and kidnappers who are now ravaging the southwestern part of the country.
Oyetola specifically wants the army authorities to constitute a joint patrol outfit to curb the activities of the hoodlums who have relocated to the southwestern states, even as he commended the army for approving the construction of a bridge across the Osun River to Ede.
He said made the appeal when he visited the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai at the Army headquarters in Abuja.
The governor while noting that the construction of a bridge across the Osun River to Ede, would greatly assist the state by boosting the economic wellbeing of the people, however, lamented the rising spate of kidnapping, bandits attack, armed robbery and other violent crimes in the state and other neighbouring states in the South West which he said was becoming alarming, appealed to the army chief for help.
He said the attacks on innocent citizens of the state had become a great cause for worry to him and the good people of the area thus promoting his visit to the army headquarters.
The governor said: “I am here also to bring to your knowledge that the spate of crime is increasing in Osun and around us. It is giving me a serious cause for concern and as you know, the primary function of government is to ensure the security of the people for economic progress and development.
“To address these challenges, the state (Osun) has decided to establish a joint patrol operation comprising the police, the Nigerian Army and the NSCDC. I have written to your office in this regard but I deemed it important to come and see the Army leadership due to the concern I attached to tackling these security challenges.
He said: “Although we in Osun State are challenged by the paucity of funds, we are prepared to support the security agencies with vehicles, equipment because crime is on the increase. I assure you (COAS) that we will not renege in supporting the agencies.”
He commended the Nigerian Army for the great effort in tackling insecurity in the country especially the Boko Haram menace which he said had been seriously degraded with only some attacks on soft targets to claim relevance.
In his address, Buratai who congratulated the governor for his election victory, commended him for the efforts he had put in place to protect the lives and property of Osun people.
He said: “Your presence here today shows the level of commitment you have for the security of the state. We will do everything possible to support the effort because fighting crime is part of our constitutional responsibility.
“The bridge which we are about to commence construction is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility to communities where our formations and units are located. It is a way of making the community know about what the Nigerian Army is doing and bringing the people closer.
“We have so much capability in terms of road construction and engineering. We are doing constructions in Anambra, Enugu and Kebbi states and NNPC. We have professionals that will deliver quality works to states and it will be cheaper.
“It is also to show that we have the capacity especially the Nigerian Army Engineers to carry out such works if needed. We are not going to spend much. It is part of our Corporate Social Responsibilities.
“It is to win the hearts and support of the people that we carry out such non-kinetic operations like medical outreaches, supporting schools and building bridges.”
“Your request (troops for joint patrol) is well understood. Joint operations apart from the North East and other places which we are embarking on …w are constitutional empowered for it to achieve security. We must do it as our responsibility. We will do everything to ensure that the army unit in Osun is properly equipped.”