Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Ngozi Onadeko, has urged residents and indigenes of Idi Ayunre, Ogunmakin, Aba Nla, Bare, Onipe and others, who are close to Ibadan-Ijebu Ode Road, to give the police information that will help in halting the criminal activities of kidnappers in the area.
The state police boss made the appeal on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, during an emergency stakeholders’ meeting held at the PCRC Hall, Idi-Ayunre Divisional Police Headquarters, Ibadan, while on a crusade against kidnapping.
Present at the meeting were senior police officers, police operatives, Amotekun Corps, community and religious leaders, social workers, business owners, local hunters, security agents, vigilante group members and government representatives.
Onadeko stressed the desire to meet with the stakeholders due to the spate of kidnappings and the security challenges the state command had been having on Idi Ayunre/Ijebu Ode Road in recent time.
She said that she decided to come to residents and indigenes of surrounding communities to seek their help and advice on what to do, to stop crime and criminality from going on.
She recalled being on the road with police operatives, local hunters and vigilante group members on Monday, April 19, to assess the situation.
According to Onadeko, “last week, we had over 100 policemen, vigilantes and local hunters combing the bush. The thing is getting out of hand and has raised worries.
“I have over seven tactical teams on the road, but still having these (kidnap) issues.
We need credible information because you live in this community and vicinity.
“This brings us to community policing. You should be able to know those infiltrating these communities to cause these problems. We have influx of people coming into the farms and forests, and you see them. If you don’t tell us what is going on, how do we help ourselves?”
She stated further that the Commander of Amotekun Corps had also given the police his men “so that we will be able to go into the forest to see how we are going to stop the issue of kidnapping. If you go on that road, you will see so many patrol vehicles going up and down, but they (kidnappers) are still coming out.”
The police commissioner urged the people to also give ideas on what could be done to make sure that people are secured and could travel on the road at any time of the day and feel comfortable.
Those present at the meeting also told the gathering of their experiences.
According to Mr Olanrewaju Ahmed, who works with Kopek Construction Limited, which has its quarry site at Olounde Village, along Ogunmakin Road, kidnapping had been a recurring incident in the area.
He narrated how an expatriate from the company was kidnapped in 2019, and a ransom had to be paid before he was released.
“Early this year, the kidnappers laid an ambush for us, as we were within the quarry. It was a battle ground, with the kidnappers shooting sporadically. But for the gallantry efforts of Divisional Police Officer at Idi Ayunre, his men and civil defence officers, we would have been talking of another thing. That day, they were unable to kidnap anybody,” he said.
Mr Ahmed enjoined the command not to limit security to Idi Ayunre/Ijebu Ode Road, but extend it to Ogunmakin area.
Also, the Managing Director of Megabolex Quarry, Mrs Ruth Okoh, said that the kidnappers used to come to quarries to attack workers, to the point that workers at a CCECC quarry had to run away.
“The abductors came there, held them to ransom, packed their belongings, abducted them, before they were released after ransom was paid.
“My staff were also kidnapped, but I appreciate the DPO, the officer in charge of Anti-Kidnapping Squad (AKS) and all police operatives for what they did to secure their freedom,” Mrs Okoh stated.
She advised the government to clear the road sides, up to a distance not less than 40 metres inward, to allow the police do their jobs.
“There should also be ‘KYT’, fully known as ‘know your tenant.’ And everyone should submit their tenants’ profiles to the police, because kidnappers have taken their actions as business,” she further advised.
In his remarks, the Alayunre of Idi Ayunre, Oba Muritala Salami Olumini, praised the DPO and other policemen for what they had been doing.
The traditional leader specifically said that the DPO used to respond quickly whenever he was called upon.
He also enjoined the Nigeria Police Force to take good care of the police operatives and collaborating security forces because of the job they do.
He appreciated the local hunters and tasked the state government to take care of their welfare.
Former caretaker chairman, Oluyole Local Government Area, Hon. James Adeleke, who said that security issue is very important to all nations, developed and developing, added that in spite of police efforts, they should be supported, as the task could not be handled alone by them.
“This is our terrain, and it is only our local security men that can understand it. This is Yorubaland and we have our culture and heritage. We have all that it takes to chase the kidnappers out if the people are mobilised and encouraged, and the government is committed to their safety,” he said.
Also, the chairman of Oluyole Hunters Association, Chief Isiaka Ogunleye, who spoke on behalf of Olu Ode of Ibadanland, Chief Musiliu Kehinde Ege, promised that local hunters would render every help needed to see an end to kidnapping.
However, he noted that the road from Idi Ayunre to Ijebu Ode was not safe for security purpose, as he said that the sides were covered by bush, up to the road.
He advised that the sides should be cleared, so that people could see clearly and notice any suspicious movement ahead.
He also brought it to Onadeko’s notice that of lately, soldiers had been harassing local hunters guiding farms, asking them to frog-jump, adding that one of them was taken away on Tuesday, April 19, and his whereabouts remained unknown.
He said this had served as discouragement, making the volunteer hunters to start thinking of withdrawing their services.
In response, Onadeko promised to deploy more tactical teams on the road and surrounding communities, while the stakeholders assured her of a periodic feedback.
The state police boss was also at the Oyo State Security Trust Fund to have private discussions with the Oyo State governor’s Senior Special Adviser on Security, Fatai Owoseni, a retired Commissioner of Police, on the Idi Ayunre/Ijebu Ode Road kidnap challenges and the way forward.