The menace of insecurity has become a scourge in the country, but a brave step has been taken by Ogun state to confront the nagging issue and this is a very good step in the right direction.
Recently, more than N1 billion was raised at a stakeholders’ dinner organized by the Ogun State Security Trust Fund Board. The launch was the Board’s major activity since its inauguration on August 24. At the event, Governor Dapo Abiodun disclosed that the Southwest states have agreed to set up a joint patrol team, to be known as ‘Amotekun’ for the region’s security. The governor noted that the state was vulnerable to criminal attacks as a result of its location and proximity to three other states, including Lagos, and a neighbouring country. The Gateway State, the governor added, is also fast becoming an industrial hub with increase in economic and commercial activities. He identified cross-border migration and the fact that the state harbours the busiest highway in the land as major attractions to criminality.
The governor, who stressed the need for all stakeholders to be involved in security issues, said the procurement of 100 patrol vehicles and 200 motorbikes was a demonstration of his government’s determination to fight crime and reduce it to the barest minimum. He lamented that security agencies in the state were operating without the needed tools. Decrying lack of communication system for security agencies, the governor noted that the dearth of modern communication system was stalling proper synergy among security chiefs in the state.
He said: “We need more equipment. We do not have any telecommunication equipment, we need monitoring and tracking devices because it is these monitoring and tracking devices that we can monitor and track these criminals. “It is shameful that our security agencies do not have a communication system or equipment within the state, meaning that the commissioner of police cannot speak with his counterpart in the military, Department of State Services or even worse still, he cannot speak with his Area Commander, Divisional Police Officers of police stations across the state. “Their vehicles were not functioning very well; no tracking devices, no enough finance. So, we are looking at correcting those anomalies with our security trust fund. “The vehicles need to be maintained. The officers, need to be looking after. To these, we have come to you to assist us so that we can ensure that not only do we have the funding, but that this is also sustained.” Urging corporate bodies and other stakeholders to join the government in addressing challenges posed by insecurity, the governor said security matters should be the responsibility of all. He assured investors that the funds would be judiciously used, saying that the board has “people with integrity and a name to protect.”
He unfolded plans to collate residents’ data to guide his administration on having a proper laid down plan for the provision of necessary amenities for the people. Abiodun said the decision to launch the ‘Amotekun’ security outfit by Southwest states was meant to ensure the security of the entire region. According to him, each state in the region is to donate 20 patrol vehicles and communication equipment for the take-off of the joint security patrol team. Abiodun added that the states are also to provide personnel for the task force to operate effectively.
He said: “In conjunction with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, the five Southwest states have agreed to set up a joint patrol team that will be called ‘Amotekun.’ “Each of the state is required to donate, at least, 20 patrol vehicles, communication equipment and personnel to the task force. The personnel will be gotten from the Police, Army, Vigilante and Hunters.” Board Chairman, Bolaji Balogun, said the Trust Fund, established in 2011 and amended in 2019, was saddle with the responsibility of managing, procuring and maintaining security equipment, promoting efficiency of all security agencies and managing resources in a transparent and accountable manner for the purpose of public security.
Balogun added that the board will avail stakeholders an opportunity to have quarterly reports of its activities, adding that the board will be open to auditing of its accounts to show to the people that they were truly there to serve. He said to attract the right investment and business to the state, it was imperative to secure the environment, adding that members were carefully chosen from the private sector to raise and utilise fund to provide security services with necessary tool, assuring that money realised, would not go into the state purse. Secretary of the Fund Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje said the amended law has de-politicized the governance of the Fund, as the Board is now private sector driven, with a mission to make the Gateway State the most secure and prosperous in the country. The Commissioner of Police, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Investigation Bureau (SIB), Wale Abbass, lamented that the state, which was one of the most peaceful, was gradually losing its status. He urged stakeholders to partner with government to reduce crime rate in the state.
A member of the Trust Fund and Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, former Assistant Inspector-General of Police Olusola Subair, said his office would seek the assistance of partners from the International Police (INTERPOL) and deploy technology in tackling insecurity. He called for cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve the objectives. At the launch were representatives of the Dangote Group, banks’ chief executive officers, Leadway Assurance, Great Nigeria Assurance Limited, the ARM Group, Shagamites Club of Sagamu and Chapelhill Denham Ltd. Others include: Otunba Seni Adetu, Chief Segun Olugboyegun on behalf of JOF Nigeria Limited and Tulip Cocoa Processing Ltd, Lafarge Africa, one-time Lagos Finance commissioner Olawale Edun, Chief Ade Ojo of Elizade Motors, New Hope Agric and Technology Nig Ltd., Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, Mrs. Cecelia Osiptan, FAE Ltd and Mr. Solanke Ogunlana.