From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Many public transport motorcyclists (Okada riders) in Oyo State are spies for kidnappers and bandits that have entered Yorubaland through Nigeria’s porous borders, said Col Kunle Togun (retd), the Chairman of the Oyo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun Corps on Monday.
The Amotekun boss said that the foreigners were ferried into Oyo and other states in trailers during the COVID-19 lockdown, noting that particular motorcyclists cannot speak any of the Nigerian languages or English, speaking only French whenever they are accosted by Amotekun operatives.
Speaking with reporters, Col Togun noted that the warning given by the state governor, Seyi Makinde, to traditional chiefs to stop allocating land to herdsmen with no papers showing their Nigerian nationality would go a long way to stem the spate of killings and kidnapping in Yorubaland.
The greed of some traditional and community leaders in many Yoruba towns, according to him, has led to a rise in insecurity, a situation which Amotekun has been curbing.
‘Before Amotekun was established, the problem of Yorubaland since the invasion of the land by these herdsmen has been our traditional chiefs and leaders in Yorubaland; they take money, cows and cars from these people and allow them to settle and wreak havoc in their domains,’ Col Togun explained.
‘I have attended meetings of Obas in Oke-Ogun and I told them to stop giving land to foreigners, these herdsmen are called Bororos in Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa areas, they are not Nigerians. What is happening should not be analysed in the area of religion, it is territorial expansion.
‘Their leaders argue about the ECOWAS free movement law, but the one I am aware of is that anybody from ECOWAS country can go into another ECOWAS country without a visa but you cannot stay there for more than ninety days at a stretch. Some of these people have been occupying our land for years and they are not Nigerians.
‘Most of them that were dumped here by trailers during the COVID-19 lockdown have turned to Okada riders, many are carrying wheelbarrows all over the place, selling carrots, orange and the rest. The Okada riders are their spies; we have noted that and we are working on government policy that will curtail the use of these people to foment crisis in Oyo State and in Yorubaland as a whole,’ the Amotekun boss said.