Time to rescue Ekiti from the grip of non-state actors

By: Ewatomilola Emiola-Owoeye

The time is ripe again for them to exhibit their practised and obligatory speeches of condolences, stage the script of soberness and mourn more than the bereaved.

The emotion-laden speeches by our government and legislators, obviously bereft of concrete and implicit remedy, would also get needless airplay while the magic bullet meant to bring about a livable society would be downplayed for political frivolity.

It is quite unfortunate that the hapless citizenry are now victims of bloody kidnappings, and robbery incidents, yet our leaders only write speeches that would give the people false hope with a promise that the perpetrators wreaking havoc will be made to face the full wrath of the law whenever such tragic incidents happen.

It’s my considered opinion that in lieu of condolence messages, and lip service, top government dignitaries entrusted with the mandate to provide security for Nigerians provide the wherewithal for our security agencies to enhance the security architecture of the state.

This kind of empty rhetoric our leaders usually dish out after each tragic event has no place in today’s world while non-state actors continue to act freely without anyone check-mating them.

Ekiti State used to be one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. That has changed significantly. The level of insecurity in the state has left many people with no choice but to abandon their farms and other businesses in the villages.

We ended 2023 with a well-publicised robbery incident in Ikere Ekiti. There are records of many reported kidnapping incidents between Ikere – Iju road, Ikere to Emure- Ise road, and many other parts of the states in the last few months; even the Ekiti APC state chairman was a victim of criminal abduction at one point.

The latest incident that shook all and sundry to the bone was the gruesome attack on three prominent kings along Oke-Ako and Ipao Ekiti roads in Ajoni Local Council Development Area, Ayedun Ekiti. The Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, Oba David Ogunsakin and the Onimojo of Imojo-Ekiti, Oba Olatunde Olusola were the two traditional rulers who lost their lives to herdsmen attack while the Alara of Ara-Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, escaped by the whiskers. This isn’t the first or second attack on traditional rulers in the state.

The Ikole Police Command, where numerous heartbreaking incidents have occurred in the past, lacks adequate security vans, operational vehicles, or even patrol bikes necessary to secure their area. I recall a situation in 2022 when a concerned Ikole LG group had to pull funds to purchase batteries, tires, and other parts for motorcycles for the Ikole Amotekun team to respond to specific emergency cases. Reports from the police and other security agencies indicated a dire lack of functional mobility to address emergencies.

As if the evil doers planned the serial attacks together, within 24 hours the gruesome murder of the two monarchs and a bus containing school children was hijacked by kidnappers. The school children who attend Apostolic Faith School were abducted alongside their head teacher and a driver. What are we really waiting for, when are we going to act, is it until nowhere is safe in the state
anymore ???

We have seen the pictures and videos of donated security patrol vans, operational vehicles, security cars, bulletproof vests, helmets and other equipment donated to the security agencies in other states to enhance their security by their state government. This is one of the security measures to curtail the lingering menace. If all three senators and six House of Representatives Members in Ekiti come together to purchase operational vehicles and donate to security agencies in the state, it will help the people a great deal.

Politicians often overlook the critical fact that when our communities are safe, people can focus on their means of livelihood such as farming, trading, buying farm produce from villages, operating sawmills, and engaging in other legitimate businesses. This will surely reduce over-reliance on public officeholders for constant financial support and would significantly alleviate the burden on citizens.

Oyo State serves as a prime example of proactive governance in this regard. Last year, the state government generously donated 74 vans to its security agencies, and in January 2024, an additional 100 operational vehicles were provided, along with various other essential equipment to enhance security. The tangible results of these donations are evident in the state’s improved security situation and economic investment.

While our Ekiti state may not possess the same level of wealth as Oyo State and others, a genuine commitment to ensuring the safety of the populace, as sworn by elected officials, can effectively allocate our limited resources for the greater good of the people. This includes prioritizing investments in security infrastructure over excessive spending on appointing numerous aides to the Governor. By enabling citizens to thrive in their businesses, they can become less burden on government stipends for sustenance.

To Governor Abiodun Oyebanji, legislators representing the state in the National Assembly, and all concerned stakeholders, the urgency to act swiftly in securing the state cannot be overstated. It’s time for all to demonstrate your capability in safeguarding the people, by providing robust support to state security agencies, empowering initiatives like Amotekun, and enacting laws that bolster their effectiveness, as witnessed in Ondo State during the tenure of the Late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the current Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa. The time for action is now. A stitch in time saves nine.

….Ewatomilola Emiola Owoeye is from Iwodi quarters in Ikole Ekiti, she writes from the United Kingdom.

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