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By Kunle Somorin
Following the mayhem unleashed by hoodlums during the recently-concluded All Progressives Party (APC) state congresses, it has become imperative for concerned citizens of the state to consider the potential cost of fomenting political violence and undermining the highly efficient interventions the present administration in the state has made on security since 2019.
Recall that at the Ogun APC congress, held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, 1,730 delegates from the 236 wards cutting across the 20 local governments, in a consensus arrangement via voice affirmation, were unanimously electing party executives who will direct the affairs of the party in the state for the next four years, when violence erupted at the Ake Palace arcade, venue of a sham congregation of misfits who claimed to be conducting a parallel state congress.
Gov. Dapo Abiodun, who appealed to loyal party delegates for calm at the authentic venue of the congress, warned against the “show of shame” capable of threatening the uninterrupted peace being enjoyed in the state, which his administration had invested heavily in.
“I’m the Chief Security Officer of the State. I will not allow a breach of the peace of the state. I will deal with that person decisively. I will bring upon them, the full extent of law. I’m the only governor of the state today. For those still living in illusion of grandeur and being deluded, I hope the message is heard loud and clear,” Abiodun warned.
The state Police Command made some arrests after the violence perpetrated by hoodlums and subsequently paraded them at their Eleweran police headquarters. Ogun State commissioner of police, Lanre Bankole, confirmed that the thugs were arrested with prohibited arms and ammunition, including an English Berretta pistol with batch no.: PT 92 AFS, a locally fabricated revolver and live ammunition. An unregistered Toyota Hilux van, which was used to convey the weapons, was confiscated by the police.
Interestingly, an advocacy group, Advocacy for Social Justice (ASJ), is now alleging high-level attempt to influence an obstruction against serving the perpetrators justice.
To put it in context, what happened at the Ake Palace on Saturday, October 16, amounts to a security breach and threat to the peace Ogun State has been used to since 2019.
Early in the life of the Abiodun administration, the state was faced with some high-profile security situations. On July 23, 2019, kidnappers struck at the Ajebo axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and kidnapped three persons. The incident involved the son of the Chief Medical Director of the Lafia Hospital, Ibadan and two members of staff of the hospital. A few weeks later, on August 2, 2019, five pastors of the Redeemed Christian Church of God were abducted on their way to the annual Holy Ghost Convention. They were reportedly abducted at the Ijebu-Ode end of the Sagamu-Benin-Ore Expressway on their way to the religious gathering.
In response, Gov Abiodun swung to action. At a security briefing, which had in attendance the state’s then Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama and Director of Directorate of State Service (DSS) David Tuksa, Abiodun declared that his administration would present a draft amendment of the state’s Security Trust Fund to the state House of Assembly to strengthen the safety of lives and property.
“We are going to be re-launching our security trust fund. We have an amended bill that is on its way to the house of assembly now, because, we look at the existing bill, we compared it to other bills in other states where the security trust fund had worked very effectively and efficiently, we’ve identified the gaps in our bill and we have sent an amended version of the bill to the house of assembly.
“The new security trust fund will have all the governance that it requires, it will have a Chairman, Executive Secretary, board, it will have a commitment from a few financial institution of note and a few people from the private sector that are committed to serving on the board, we are also committed to funding this fund, we on the part of the state will also commit to our funding as well,” the governor said.
Indeed, within the first 100 days of his administration, Abiodun’s fidelity to his word came to play as he inaugurated the committee to oversee the now-amended Ogun State Security Trust Fund, whose law the governor gave accelerated enunciation. “It is a demonstration of our government’s unreserved commitment towards ensuring that the people have a good life and pursue their legitimate business in a secured environment,” Abiodun said.
With the Ogun State Security Trust Fund up and running, the security architecture in the state has been reinvigorated. Within 100 days in office, Prince Abiodun invited the then Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to launch 100 patrol vehicles, 200 security motorcycles and other security equipment acquired by his administration as part of efforts to boost security in the state.
Not long ago, the governor inaugurated Ogun State’s wing of the South West Joint Security Outfit, also known as “Amotekun”, to complement the efforts of other security agencies to further strengthen the security architecture of the state. Operatives of the state’s Amotekun were carefully selected, trained and equipped for effective crime detective and bursting operations.
To Abiodun, ensuring sustained peace in the state is a no-brainer. Housing the most industries in the country, sharing international borders and sharing significant part of its borders with Lagos, the 6th largest economy in Africa, Ogun State has a peculiar security landscape. That’s why the Abiodun administration continues to combat crimes and violence to guarantee peace in the state.
In June, Gov Abiodun reiterated his commitment to peace and security by presenting additional 55 patrol vehicles, 200 bullet-proof vests, 20 helmets and communication gadgets to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, in Abeokuta.
“Our administration will remain unwavering in our commitment to ensure that the lives and property of the people are secured,” Abiodun said at the presentation, adding, as though he had a premonition of events to come, that, “Some people have tested our will at different points, but we have also shown them that Ogun State will never be a haven for criminals or criminal tendencies.”
Abiodun’s efforts at securing the state have been both horizontal and vertical. His giant strides in security, evident in the peace enjoyed by the citizens of Ogun State, have not gone unnoticed, as he was awarded the Best Governor in Security 2019 by the Business Day Media Limited.
It is, therefore, disheartening to note that attempts are being made by none other than a former governor of the state to sacrifice these result-yielding efforts on the altar of bitter and unyielding politics. The riot act has to be read to people fomenting security breaches in the state, because the present administration should not tolerate any attempt by an individual or group to truncate the peace and security of the state.
–Somorin is Chief Press Secretary to Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun