Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State had on Monday declared that his government would not solve the insecurity challenges in the state by backing those taking laws into their hands or carrying out jungle justice against perceived wrongdoers.
He stated that instead of backing a venture that is capable of throwing the country into ethnic crisis, the end of which cannot be foreseen, his administration would rather continue to support the security agencies in the state to do their works effectively.
He added that his administration would promote good neighbourliness by encouraging the residents of the state to live together in peace and to face their common enemies, who are criminals of all shades and tribes.
The governor also stated that the administration will continue to do its best to provide opportunities for the people, as that is another way to reduce the tension in the land, saying: “One of the things we found out is that opportunities are very limited at the top. We will continue to do our best to strive to expand our economy and provide opportunities for a whole lot of our people. And we believe when we do that, the tension will definitely go down.”
The governor stated these in Akure, while addressing a meeting of South-West governors, national leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association (MACBAN) and heads of security agencies on the insecurity challenges in the South-West geopolitical zone, held at the International Culture and Event Centre, Akure.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that his government had foreclosed the option of backing anyone taking up arms against other ethnic nationalities resident in the state in the name of seeking justice as, according to him, such a step would have dire consequences for the society.
He stated that if government encourages residents to mete out justice through self-help to any ethnic nationality, due to the excesses of some of its people, it would amount to solving criminality with criminality.
The meeting had in attendance Governors Rotimi Akeredolu, Kayode Fayemi and Gboyega Oyetola of Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states, while Governors Mohammed Badaru (Jigawa), and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and the national leadership of MACBAN were also present.
According to Makinde, who maintained that a lot of people commenting on the security situation in Ibarapa had been displaying ignorance, his government would solve the insecurity challenge its own way by continuing to encourage residents of the state to work and live together and to face their common enemies, who are criminals, kidnappers, armed robbers and bandits from all tribes.
He added that all hands must be on deck to lawfully fight crimes, saying: “We will continue to promote good neighborliness among our people and we will ensure that all of us go after the criminals together.
“We will continue to support our security agencies because they are also trying to maintain law and order in an atmosphere of pandemic and economic challenges. We will continue to provide support for the security agencies for them to do their work.”
The governor equally warned Nigerians to deal with the menace of fake news and sieve information on social media properly, noting that the rate at which fake news is being circulated portends great danger to the society.
Makinde warned against some elements seeking political powers at all costs, who he said, have resorted to misinforming the public and causing division among them, calling on such persons to desist from the path, as it is capable of causing tension in the country.
He said: “I can tell you for a fact that when the Kisi area of Oyo State, which shares international border with Republic of Benin was invaded, all hands were on deck. MACBAN, Operation Burst, local hunters and the communities all worked together to clear the bush.
“During my electioneering, a major decision I was going to take was to scrap all the LCDAs in Oyo State and stick with only the LGAs that are known to the constitution of Nigeria. During the campaign, all the people I met at a particular LCDA (I think it is Oriire South) were Fulanis. And they told me I should not scrap the LCDA because it was the only LCDA dominated by the Fulani people.
“After I got elected, I decided I would not scrap the LCDAs again. I didn’t get such knowledge by sitting in the armchair in my house but by going out into the field and interacting with the people.
“So, when people talk, you wonder if they have done any kind of comparison with what has happened elsewhere in the world. What are we going to do moving forward in Oyo State? Well, the first thing I will say is to tell you the things that we will not do; we will not use criminality to solve another criminality, because of the unintended consequences of such an action; nobody can predict where it will end.
“Once you are drawn out to support criminality, you don’t know where it is going to end. So, what we are going to do is to continue to encourage our people to work together; to face our common enemies – the criminals, the kidnappers, the armed robbers and the bandits. Those are our common enemies.”
He equally charged his colleague governors and others in positions of leadership not to be tired or to relent, saying: “I want to end by saying that our leaders should not be tired. They will abuse us but we should continue to strive to provide the leadership that this country requires at this point in time.”
While speaking earlier, the MACBAN Secretary, Alhaji Baba Othman Ngelzarma, who noted that the Miyetti Allah was meeting the South-West governors on the escalating crisis between herders and farmers, said the body will continue to encourage herders in the Southern part of the country to live in peace and eschew criminality.
At the end of the meeting, it was resolved, among other things, that night grazing and grazing by underage children would stop henceforth.