The latest kidnapping in Osun State Saturday evening, in which passengers plying Ibadan/Akure expressway by Egbu Village Ikire, were violently abducted by criminals at Wasinmi, has continued to generate reactions amongst residents.
The armed men operate from forests, stretching across Osun State, from where they launch attacks, kidnappings, on travellers along the road.
The Police on Saturday claimed those abducted had been rescued, adding that security operatives were on the trail of the kidnappers.
Meanwhile, in early February, six passengers and the driver of a Toyota Sienna bus were abducted along the Ilesa-Akure expressway.
The abductors released three among them and sent them to inform the public about their abduction before the rest were later released after huge amounts were allegedly paid as ransom.
Also in early this year, three Chinese expatriates were abducted at the mining site around Ilesa, in the Osun East senatorial district and regained their freedom a week later after ransom in foreign currency allegedly exchanged hands.
Osun As a Contiguous State
A surge in armed militancy by several armed bandit groups in Nigeria has caused mounting dismay, amid a breakdown of security, in every part of the states across the country.
Recall that the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, recently issued a 7-day ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate all the forests in the state and announced compulsory registration for proper identification.
Akerodolu, hinged his pronouncement on series of criminal activities in the state, ranging from kidnappings, rape, armed robbery among others.
He argued that some of the nefarious activities have been carried out in areas around the forests, in which most of the kidnap victims had identified the forests as where they were held captive and delivered ransoms.
Despite the mixed feelings that trailed Akerodolu’s eviction order, the governor has remained resolute on his decision, deploying men of Ondo State Security Network, codenamed ” Amotekun” to clear the forests of every criminal element, with resultant positive results.
Also, a self-acclaimed Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, had in the couple of weeks issued an ultimatum to criminal elements amongst Fulani herdsmen living in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State and stormed the area to make real his threat at the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum.
This action of Adeyemo led to the eviction of Seriki Fulani of Igangan and many others and consequently emboldened the youths of the area to move to action and devised security strategy to secure their land.
This latest development, according to the experts, in Osun, is a fallout of proactive security measures taken by Oyo and Ondo states.
Kwara govt for safety
As a way of tackling the security and socio-economic challenges occasioned by the migration of some herders from Oyo to Kwara state, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state hosted his Kwara State counterpart Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak to a security meeting on Tuesday, March 2.
The meeting involved some traditional rulers, heads of security and top government functionaries from Kwara and Oyo states.
Although, journalists were barred from covering the proceedings of the meeting, the host governor while briefing the press after the meeting said it bothered on the need to beef up the security in both states, while also seeking to provide succour to some internally displaced people occasioned by the sack of herders in the Ibarapa axis of the state.
According to Makinde, the situation that led to the sack of some individuals from some parts of Oyo State has seen internally displaced persons now spreading over neighbouring States with an attendant challenge.
Fallout of proactive security measures by Oyo, Ondo affecting Osun – Expert
Meanwhile, a security expert, Dr Kolawole Adigun, has described the recent surge in kidnappings and other criminal activities in Osun as a fallout of proactive security measures taken by Oyo and Ondo states.
He explained that the two states are direct neighbours to Osun and share boundaries from different fronts, making upward and downward movement of criminals very possible through thick forests.
“These criminals are not finding it easy in Oyo and Ondo by the activities of Amotekun corps and other vigilante groups, who are combing the forests consistently to bring sanity into the security architecture of the states.
“Ondo, especially, is doing well in securing forests across the state, that is why there is a drastic drop in the rate of kidnappings around the state in recent times.
“As a result of this development, there is an onward movement of these criminals downward, you know Osun is contiguous to both states, and share boundaries from different axis.
“These bandits are returning to their former hideouts around Imesi-ile, Ibokun and the tick forest between Gbongan and Ikire, specifically Wasimi area.
“Osun government must be proactive and sensitive to the trend of insecurity within the geo-political zone; there should be robust security tactics to sustain efforts of the past and keep the state safe.
“The government in the state is not being proactive on the issue of security in comparison with the last administration, I don’t see the SA on security and the so-called Amotekun in the state as being serious.
“Governor Oyetola should know that security is too important to be left in the hands of mediocre and weaklings for political consideration, it is an integral part of governance”, he said.