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Gov. Oyebanji with men of the Nigeria Army

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji on Thursday met with the Service Chiefs in Abuja to fashion out a more strategic approach to stem the current spate of insecurity in some parts of the State.

The Governor’s meeting with the service chiefs came on the heels of recent security breaches in the state, specifically the killing of two traditional rulers in Oke-Ako area and abduction of some school pupils and their teachers in Emure Ekiti.

Governor Oyebanji, who was at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja alongside the Chairman of Ekiti caucus at the National Assembly and Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, met with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa and the Chief of Army Staff, General Taoreed Lagbaja separately. He also met with other security chiefs.

Oyebanji, at the meetings, explained that Ekiti State had been experiencing peace for the past years, but that the peace was truncated by the security breaches that occurred some days ago.

“I need to rush here because the President spoke with me and gave certain directives that I needed to act on as soon as possible.

“What makes the Ekiti situation a bit pathetic was the dimension it took. Among the Yoruba people, the traditional rulers are next to God. When you bring down two traditional rulers at once in such a gruesome manner, it sends a very dangerous signal to the entire race”, the Governor lamented.

He pointed out that the abduction of school children portends a dangerous dimension, adding that such had never been experienced in the state.

The Governor who exchanged ideas with the military top hierarchy, pushed for the deployment of more military personnel to the state to burst criminal hideouts, as well as provision of a Forward Operating Base to strengthen the security architecture of the state.

“If we have enough men on ground, I mean the armed forces, there is a way we can police the three senatorial districts because we have an idea of where these people are and most of the time when the Army join the local vigilante groups, they make some arrests.

“My plea to you is that if they cannot give us a Command in Ekiti State now, because I don’t know the budgetary provision for that, we need a Forward Operating Base (FOB) as soon as possible. Whatever it is going to take, as a government, we will provide because announcement must be made to strengthen the security architecture of the state and give the people some respite.”

Governor Oyebanji promised the state government’s support for the military to get rid of the criminals infiltrating the state.

In his remarks, the Chairman of Ekiti Caucus at the National Assembly and Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, explained that the recent situation in Ekiti demanded a military intervention and called for immediate intervention.

“The situation in Ekiti is a further wake up call to the nation and I know that two days ago, we had to discuss this issue on the floor of the Senate following our discussion with the Excellency and some other stakeholders In some other states like Plateau, Benue, Ekiti, Oyo and other places we felt it is time for us yet again to sit down with our Service Chiefs in a close door session as elected representatives of the people, to ask questions and get some briefings and clarifications and even get educated as to where things stand.”

Responding to the demands, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, assured the Governor that the Armed Forces would do all within its power to track down the perpetrators of the crimes that happened in Ekiti State.

Just like the Civilian Task Force(JTF) in the North, the Chief of Defence Staff said the Army was ready to work with the local security network, stressing the need to leverage on technology, establishment of State-Community Policing, introduction of animal ranches, amongst others.

“We do not have enough manpower on ground so we always have to make do with the locals. I was in the North East and we used the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and they gave us lots of support. Maybe we put them on contracts and on renewal basis and we are able to monitor them if we see anyone misbehaving we remove them, this brings out the issue of community policing, it is very critical”, General Musa added.

Governor Oyebanji also had closed door meetings with the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja at the Nigerian Army Headquarters, as well as the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun at the Force Headquarters also in Abuja, in continuation of the discussions on the strategic intervention of the security agencies in the Ekiti matter.

The Governor said giving the assurances he got from the meetings, Ekiti State would become uninhabitable for criminals, adding that the perpetrators of crimes in the state would be fished out.

Posted in Ekiti State News Bulletin
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