Daniel Agbolade, Ibadan
Following strident calls for better security measures to tackle the spate of kidnappings across the country, especially in South West zone, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state has emphasised the determination of his administration to protect lives and properties of all citizens of the state.
Makinde while addressing members of the state chapter of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), and other stakeholders at the state secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, during a peaceful protest march to call attention to the increasing spate of kidnapping and banditry in Nigeria and South West, assured that the experience of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Afenifere leader, Mr Olu Falae, in the hands of bandits on his farm in Ondo State would not happen in Oyo state.
The walk tagged “Walks for Stop The Kidnapping Now”, took off from the Mapo hall before terminating at the Agodi State Secretariat, Ibadan.
The women journalists also used the occasion to present a letter to the governor on their demand for secured Yoruba states and stoppage of violence against women as well as the implementation of Child Right Laws in the state.
The governor speaking through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Bisi Ilaka, said the security of lives and properties of the people of the state remains paramount in his mind and would always make it a top priority, stating that the state government had put all measures in place to preempt and forestall kidnap of high profile individuals as well as all indigenes and residents by holding constant meetings with security stakeholders and leaders of thought in the state.
Ilaka said, “Governor Makinde is a leader that understands his duties and responsibilities as Chief Security Officer of this state, and I know and speak without any fear of contradiction that he holds the life of every single person in this state sacred and he will not tolerate or allow any pervading insecurity around Southwest to extend to Oyo State.
“I am sure the governor will use his office to champion the cause for a secured Southwest. I also know that our father that we all know, Falae who is a leading light in the Afenifere movement also suffered in the hands of these obnoxious individuals who are popping up all over the place. We say to you, we will not allow such to happen in Oyo State.
“I do know that in Oyo State, the incidents are pretty minimal as a result of our unrelenting efforts at stopping the escalation to this side of the Southwest. Areas that have been susceptible or known for kidnap cases in Oyo State before this administration came on board like Oke-Ogun, Ibarapa among others have been concentrated upon. Bushes along the roads to these communities have been cleared while patrol by combined security agencies is prevalent.
“The governor will discharge his responsibility in this regard and he will take your message to the right quarters because, in as much as this is a PDP State, we are all Yorubas. This is the Pacesetter state. We lead, others follow."
Chairperson Oyo NAWOJ, Mrs Jadesola Ajibola, urged the governor to liaise with security stakeholders and traditional rulers in the state to forestall an extension of the kidnap cases and banditry occurring in other Southwest states into Oyo state while also calling on him to start the implementation of the Child Right Laws that have been domesticated in the state.
She said, “We felt that security situation in the country is becoming more alarming and we feel that if we all sit at home and talk about insecurity, it is not enough.
“We are mothers, we are sisters and we are daughters. We feel that we should not fold our arms on this issue of security. We daily hear of the same incident of killings, robbery and kidnapping along Ibadan, Ife, Ikirun and Iwo areas. That is the more reason we need to lend our voice.
“Also, the spate of child abuse and violence against women in our society is becoming rampant. Next Sundayis the day of African Child, so we also want to call for the implementation of the Child Right laws. Oyo State has domesticated that law and we are asking that the law should be implemented.”