Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has declared that the enemies of the state and its people are not law-abiding Hausa-Fulani pastoralists and farmers, but kidnappers, bandits and armed robbers.
This was as he expressed the determination of his administration to bring insecurity to its knees in the state, by dealing decisively with the identified troublemakers.
The governor, who made the declaration in a state-wide broadcast to residents of the state, asked the people to come together and put the interest of Oyo State first in the fight against insecurity.
He maintained that the collective efforts of all residents of the state is the only way to continue to keep the peace and sustain the secure environment which, he said, has contributed to the growth of the state’s economy in the past.
The governor added that his administration is taking all necessary steps to protect the people from harassment, thuggery, cultism and banditry, noting that the state “has the situation under control.”
The governor’s broadcast is coming a few days after a police report indicated that the rate of armed robbery incidents in the state has reduced by more that 32 per cent in 2020, compared to the previous year 2019.
The state government has also expressed its determination to stamp out brigandage, kidnapping and other violent crimes.
According to the governor, the state has a common enemy in hoodlums, bandits and kidnappers who, he said, have been fomenting troubles in the state.
He noted that the enemies of Oyo State are neither the Hausa-Fulani pastoralists, who are looking for pasture for their flock, nor the farmers, who are seeking to produce food for human consumption.
He warned individuals going about issuing ultimatum to Fulani residents of the state to desist from such acts, declaring that, as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution 1999, he, as governor, would protect every Nigerian’s rights to reside in any part of the country.
Governor Makinde told individuals or groups planning to take actions that would lead to the forcible removal of anyone from the state to desist from such line of action, noting that anyone who fails to abide by his directive will face the full wrath of the law.
He also warned residents of the state against taking judgement into their hands, adding that there are bodies constitutionally empowered to arrest and prosecute criminals.
He said the responsibility of residents is to help the security agencies identify the enemies of the people and equally acknowledged the efforts of some officers of the Nigeria Police who, according to him, have resumed their constitutional duties of maintaining law and order in the state.
“The past few weeks’ events have made it imperative that I address issues that have to do with the internal security of our dear state.
“We cannot overlook the fact that there have indeed been instances that cause concern. The fragile peace between the herdsmen and farmers in Oke Ogun is being threatened.
“Individuals who are not authorised are going around chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem. This assault on residents of Oyo State is not the way to further the Yoruba cause.
“Let me state that we shall not sit back and watch anyone make any law-abiding resident of Oyo State feel unsafe in their homes, farms, or business places.
“We are aware of some people circulating flyers and giving people ultimatums to leave their land. This is totally unacceptable and will not be condoned.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which I swore to defend and protect, guarantees freedom of movement in Section 41(1), such that citizens are free to reside in any part of the country without fear. We are determined to preserve that right in Oyo State,” he said.
The governor called on local government chairpersons, traditional rulers and other critical sectors of the state to work with the security agencies to secure the state and ensure maximum peace.
He said: “All local government and local council development area chairpersons are directed to work with the traditional rulers and the officers of the security agencies to ensure that peace is maintained in all parts of the state.
“Let me also use this medium to speak to our traditional rulers. They must not be part of any plans to disrupt the peaceful coexistence of residents of Oyo State.
“I must reiterate that we will not hesitate to take appropriate action against any individuals who try to disrupt the peace in Oyo State.
“Our administration is taking all necessary steps to protect the good people of Oyo State from harassment, thuggery and banditry. We believe we have the situation under control.
“It is time for us to come together and put the interests of our state first. We have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa- Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock. It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family.
“Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits. These people live among us.
“With our collective efforts, we can continue to keep the peace in Oyo State.
“Together, we can preserve the secure environment that has contributed to the growth of our economy.”