By Chukwudi Nweje
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has said terrorism would continue to fester in Nigeria so long as the Federal Government continues to treat the perpetrators with kid gloves.
Akeredolu, who spoke on a Channels Television programme Politics Today last night, noted that all over the world, governments are firm in dealing with acts of terror, and advised the Nigerian government to toe the same line.
He also advised governors to be proactive in checking terrorism, noting that intelligence gathering is the best way as it would be near impossible to just relay on flushing bandits out of the forests.
“From experience, I will advice other governors on how to check terrorism is to be on the alert and encourage their people to say something when they see something. Intelligence gathering will go a long way in checking terrorism. You cannot just say you will go into the forests and dislodge terrorists.
“From now, we will check every trailer carrying livestock and food because people his under the cows to infiltrate. They don’t know anywhere, but they just come in, we have to encourage our people to report when they see strangers just hanging about.”
He said the attack at St Francis Catholic Church Owo has given the state a new perspective into how to check terrorism, even as he said the recent arrest of those behind the terrorist act was due to the timely action taken by the state’s security outfit Amotekun.
“Amotekun has been very effective in providing security in the South West, especially in Ondo State. The success we have today in the arrest of those that attacked St Francis Catholic Church is because Amotekun recovered a vehicle and sim card which was handed over to the Department of State Services (DSS), the DSS was able to track the sim and that led to the arrest of the suspects. Amotekun can operate freely through out the South West but cannot cross the borders of the region, which is why the DSS led the operation to arrest the terrorists.
“The Federal Government came out too soon to blame Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) for the attack at St Francis Catholic Church and I questioned the evidence they had because I know that ISWAP always took credit for their action and that didn’t happen with Owo. All over the world terrorists will not just come and attack, they come and collude with people in the community they want to attack and that is why intelligence gathering is important,” he said.