By Christopher Oji, Lagos
The Oyo State Police Command has raised the alarm over the infiltration of foreign criminal herders into the state. This is in spite of its report that 2020 recorded a drop in armed robbery cases.
A police source from the Command’s headquarters in Ibadan told our correspondent that a letter from the office of the Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations, State Headquarters, Eleyele Ibadan, addressed to Governor Seyi Makinde, ‘shows that Oyo State actually recorded lower armed robbery cases in 2020, compared to what it was in 2019.’
In a letter signed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police on behalf of the Police Commissioner, the statistics in 2019 showed a total number of 182 while 123 was recorded in 2020.
The report indicated that ‘armed robbery appeared to be on a good decline with about 45/50% decline.’
The police said the statistics showed that the governor’s efforts to secure Oyo is working.
The report, however, indicated that the new form of criminality in the state is banditry and kidnapping by invading herders.
Men of the state security outfit, OPERATION BURST, last week arrested some 47 armed herders suspected of attempting a reprisal attack in the Oke-Ogun/Ibarapa area.
Part of the moves by Governor Makinde to tackle the security matter is an operation launched by the state’s Amotekun Corps penultimate Saturday into the thick forests of Ibarapa East, Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North, as well as Iwajowa, to target kidnappers and bandits. The operation was in collaboration with some native Fulanis. Some bandits were killed while others were handed over to the Police.
The governor had in December raised the alarm about foreign criminals sneaking into Oyo through Saki, warning of the danger.
The Chairman, South-Western Security Network (Amotekun Corps) in Oyo State, Col Kunle Togun, disclosed that most commercial motorcyclists in the state are spies for kidnappers and bandits that have entered the Yorubaland through Nigeria’s porous borders.
He said the foreigners who have been ferried into the state inside trailers during the COVID-19 lockdown do not speak any Nigeria language, speaking only French whenever accosted by his men.
Gen Togun indicated that the warning from the governor to traditional chiefs to stop allocating lands to herdsmen with no papers showing Nigerian nationality would go a long way to stem the tide of killings and kidnappings in Yorubaland.