Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, as well as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, have met separately with President Muhammadu Buhari over the insecurity besetting the South-West region.
The two governors’ meeting on Wednesday followed that of the royal father who was hosted by the president in his official residence on Tuesday.
Addressing State House correspondents after his meeting with the president, Makinde said he came to brief him to be sure that the president has accurate information on the Oyo State insecurity situation given the amount of fake news flying around.
“There has been a lot of fake news all around and I wanted to be sure Mr President clearly has first-hand information from me, which I did. We also exchanged ideas on what we need to do better, some of the programmes we have put in place to ensure that the security issue is tackled. So, that is basically why I came here,” he said.
On the specific issues he discussed with the president, the governor said: “Well, one of the issues I discussed with Mr President is that Oyo State land mass is quite big, as the state is close to 29,000 square kilometres. If you put together all the states in the SouthEast geopolitical zone of Nigeria, they are still not as big as Oyo State. And the state right now has just two Mobile Police Squadrons.
“So, I requested for more Mobile Police Squadrons to be deployed in Oyo State and also asked for support for the joint security outfit, because the underlying issue here also has to do with limited opportunities.
“The tension will definitely go down if many of our youths are gainfully employed. So, I briefed the president on what we are doing in that regard.”
When asked about his disagreement with the activist, Sunday Igboho, on his ultimatum to the Fulani to leave Oyo State, the governor explained: “Well, we have a history of living together peacefully, that is, all the ethnic groups that are in Oyo State.
“For instance, what triggered all of these was that Dr Aborode was brutally murdered; that is criminal, but on the other hand, Seriki, Alhaji Kabir, has been staying in that same place for 40 years.
“So, quite frankly, the people we are after are criminals; they are the bandits, hoodlums, robbers and kidnappers. Those are the true enemies of the state and those are the people we will go after.
“The constitution of Nigeria guarantees that you can live in any part of Nigeria; you just have to be law-abiding, obey the local laws in such areas. That is what we are pushing and will continue to push as a government.”
When approached, Governor Akeredolu declined to speak to the media on his mission to the Presidential Villa. But in a statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, Governor Akeredolu was said to have met with President Buhari to put the record straight on the vacation order issued to all Fulani and herdsmen in the state.
Ojogo said in the statement that “The governor met with the President at a meeting; and the meeting centered on the issue of security concerns in the South-West, especially in Ondo State. “It was a huge opportunity for the governor to put the records straight as regards the erroneous impression that Governor Akeredolu had asked all Fulani and herdsmen to vacate the state.
“The meeting afforded both leaders a great window to explore ingenious methods to tackle the issue of insecurity in the region.
“In particular, Governor Akeredolu sought and indeed, obtained the president’s support and encouragement to flush out criminals in the forests of Ondo state.
“It was a needful meeting and more of such are very likely in the days ahead as the unanimity of purpose against crime gets the desired attention.”
However, after his meeting, the Ooni of Ife told State House correspondents that he was at the president’s to stress the need not to allow the issue of insecurity in the country to be politicised.
He admonished that politics should be separated from insecurity in order not to jeopardise the lives of citizens. “I am here particularly because of all the issues of security threats here and there, and to get the blessing of Mr President it won’t turn out to be very political because political parties might probably want to hijack it.
“And to the glory of God, as the co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers, it is our responsibility and our fiduciary duty to make sure that everything is right, that all and sundry are in good shape.
“So, the takehome here is that the president has assured that it is not going to be a political thing because we all know the problem across the country; we have a lot of bad eggs that mix across the entire country and we are having that issue again in the South-West.
“So, I am here as the co-chairman of National Council of Traditional Rulers to get the assurance of Mr President that either of the parties won’t turn it to a political fanfare for us to just risk the lives of our people, our innocent citizens not only in the South-West, but the entire country.
“I am happy he has told me that I should assure other traditional rulers that we must work with them now. It is very important for us to work very closely with the government so that we can separate the good, the bad and the ugly,” the Ooni said.
While stressing the need to separate “corn from the chaff,” he bemoaned the porosity of the nation’s borders, noting with delight, however, that the introduction of “e-border” would make policing the borders more efficient.
The Ooni further said: “Even our governors and other political rulers in different states, Mr President has assured that they must work with the traditional rulers so that we can actually separate the good from the bad and get the right society in proper perspective.
“So, here, the objective is politics should not be mixed with the safety and the security concerns of our people. Politics should be completely taken out of it and to the glory of God, Mr President said he is fully on board with us as traditional rulers,” he said.
On the replacement of service chiefs, the Ooni described the president’s action as positive, as it would bring fresh ideas to the fight against insecurity.
He stated: “It is a very positive coincidence for me, it is a good refreshment; there is new blood, a new intake, fresh ideas will come on board and we have actually gives very positive encouragement to Mr President that he should keep it up. It is a very courageous move for fresh minds.
“At least, there has been a lot of hue and cries over security issues in Nigeria now, we are not all safe, but with what Mr President has done and providentially, I am experiencing it at the seat of power, it is a welcome development.
“Everybody in Nigeria will be very happy about it and we expect more of refreshment within the confines of this government because it is a legacy that he is building for himself and we will continue to support that legacy for the betterment of our country. So, it is a good thing Mr President has done.”
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