Insecurity in Oyo State: There Was Peace Before May 29, 2019. What Went Wrong?
In the last 96 hours, Oyo state has witnessed series of violent attacks that have resulted in the loss of lives and properties worth millions of naira. While “Federal Boys” were unleashing terror at Oremeji Agugu axis, there were reports of violence attack at Beere area of the capital. The peak of the terror unleashed on our people was the carnage recorded in Igangan on Saturday; indigenes of the town went to sleep at night, and alleged criminal herders went on rampage, killing people at will and destroying properties. Even, the palace of the king was touched by the marauders. What an abomination! How did we get here? Shall we continue to “siddon look”, while our people are being sent into the journey of no return?
One of the most important functions of government, according to Smith (1776), is to ensure national defense; a government that cannot secure the lives and properties of the citizenry has failed in its most fundamental function. While there is no doubt that the government at the central has failed in this responsibility: the state government, just like the one at the central, seems to be clueless when it comes to securing the lives and properties of the people: especially when one considered that Oyo state enjoyed peaceful atmosphere before the inauguration of this administration. Or how can one explain that government did not see this reprisal attack coming?
The crises in Igangan that culminated in the recent orgy of violence did not start today: between December 2020 when Alhaji Fatai Aborode was murdered in the same town, there have been other attacks whose perpetrators were alleged to be criminal herders. Were there efforts to arrest the criminals?
While it is true that security is on the exclusive list in the provision of the 1999 constitution, the Governor: being the Chief Security Officer of the state, who collect security votes monthly should know that securing the lives of Igangan people in particular, and residents of the state in general lies on how he is able to garner all resources to secure the people. How far have we gone on implementing the anti-open grazing law in the state? This is a law, whose bill was sponsored by the incumbent Assembly in the early days of this administration. Is it that the Governor is too weak to implement the law? Is the Governor afraid of not getting another term, should he implement the law? How much has the state invested in intelligence gathering? What has the state government done to ensure that the police force stand up to her responsibilities? The morale of members of the police force has been down since the EndSARS protest that led to the death of some serving police personnel in the state and other parts of the country, due to the “support” given to those that killed police officers, when the Governor visited the scene at Iwo-road area of the state. How has the state identified with the families of the deceased personnel? What efforts have been made to ensure that their dependents do not suffer, as a result of the death of their breadwinner? Why is there no synergy between the formal security operatives and the informal security operatives in the state? Why did it take the Governor that long for on-the-spot assessment of the community, especially when one considered that he is fast at visiting crises-prone environment before he was duly elected? Shall we wait for the next attack, even when we do not pray for such, before proactive actions are taken? What efforts were made to curtail this recent attack, considering that there were reports few days earlier of the attack? Several questions; yet, no one to answer!
It is high time the Governor be informed that the security votes, allegedly amounting to billions of naira annually is meant to ensure that the people he governed are secured. If he is unable to secure the people, there is nothing wrong if a stakeholder’s meeting is called that will include all lovers of peace in the state, irrespective of political party affiliations, and ensure that Oyo state is safe again. We cannot afford to wait for another attack.