BY Victoria Ogunrinde
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Wednesday, rolled out measures his government is taking to address issues of criminal trespass and damage by Hausa/Fulani pastoralists, kidnapping and banditry and other crimes in Ibarapaland and Oke-Ogun axis of the state.
The governor, in a statement he personally signed said that the measures will ensure peaceful coexistence among residents in parts of the state.
He stated that some of the steps would include the decision to deploy security apparatus, exploring dialogue, collaborating with federal agencies and enforcing existing laws to maintain order and peaceful coexistence.
The statement, made available to newsmen in Ibadan, further indicated that the measures were being rolled out after a meeting held with representatives of Igangan, Ibarapaland, which was attended by security stakeholders including the recently appointed Commissioner of Police, Oyo State, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko.
According to him, the authorities came up with a security strategy for the Ibarapa zone to include deployment of additional 200 operatives of the Oyo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun Corps, to man hotspots of kidnapping/banditry, especially in the Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun zones.
“These operatives will launch missions to rid the forests of criminals. They will be presenting daily reports of the activities to the governor in the short run and periodic reports in the long run,” the statement read.
The governor also said that his administration will also adopt continuous dialogue as one of the measures aimed at ending insecurity in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axes.
He.said :”In the next few weeks, the government will hold town hall meetings and community outreaches, bringing together residents and security agencies to talk about issues of immediate concern and how they can be resolved through dialogue and more effective community policing.”
Makinde also indicated that his government will ensure the documentation of foreigners as one of the strategies aimed at combating crime.
He said: “As stated in an earlier press conference, the government will be proceeding with the documentation of foreigners, especially those who are working in mines.
“This will ensure that only foreigners who have legitimate interests in Oyo State will remain within our territory.”
Besides, the governor also listed the enforcement of existing laws as one of the measures to end criminality in the state.
He stated: “The government will continue to enforce the Oyo State Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation Law, 2019.
“This law also regulates the activities of herdsmen in Oyo State. “The authorities have directed the Amotekun Corps to continue collaborating with ‘Operation Burst’ and local vigilante groups in enforcing this law.
“You will recall that in the security meeting of South West governors and other stakeholders two days ago, it was agreed that open grazing be banned in the entire South West zone.”
Another measure contained in the security strategy as made public by the governor is the decision to further collaborate with federal security agencies operating in the state.
He said that the Oyo State Government “will continue to support the police and other federal security agencies posted to the state in the discharge of their duties.”
Governor Makinde also indicated that his administration is aware of how some farmers have been killed and/or lost their livelihoods to criminal trespass and damage by pastoralists, adding that the State Executive Council is considering the possibility of compensation payments to families of victims or victims of such criminality who can prove their claims.
He also declared that the state government had started the process of prosecuting all suspects arrested for criminal activities in Ibarapa and the Oke-Ogun zones of the state, especially in connection with the ongoing tensions in the area.
The governor thanked residents of Oyo State who complied with the directive to remain peaceful, and called on them to stay vigilant and always contact the security agencies empowered by law to deal with security issues.
He also restated the government’s resolute commitment to protect the lives and properties of residents of the state.