Southwest Governors Okay Amotekun’s Joint Operations
Written by MaryGift Sunday on June 7, 2021
Following Saturday night attack on Igangan Community in Ibarapa area of Oyo State, governors of Southwest states have ordered the region’s security outfit to henceforth operate jointly.
In the attack by suspected herdsmen, 11 persons, according to the police, were killed. The palace of the Agangan, the community’s monarch, vehicles, and a filling station were burnt down.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who conveyed the decision of the governors, said Amotekun commanders in Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, and Ekiti states had been asked to meet to fine-tune the new operational arrangement.
Akeredolu, chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum, described the killings in Iganagan as horrendous, callous, and highly provocative.
He said well-meaning Nigerians must condemn it because it is an assault on decency and communal harmony.
He added: “They will stop at nothing until their set goal is realized. It is, therefore, incumbent on all lovers of peace and freedom to rise against this current regression into savagery.
“We on our part, are resolved to defend our people, their property, and all legitimate means of livelihood against both internal and external aggression. On this, there will be no compromise.
“We call on our people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movement in their communities. In addition, they must be united in the task of defending our lives and properties.
“We cannot afford to fail.”
The bloody attack came less than one week after the chairman, Oyo State Amotekun corps, Gen. Ajibola Toogun, hinted that foreign herders had surrounded Southwest with the intention to wreak havoc.
Amotekun was launched in Ibadan on January 9, 2020, as Southwest Security Network in response to the continuous breakdown of law and order.
It was meant to be a joint outfit to combat crime and the growing herder’s attacks launched from the forest in the region. It task also included preventing the destruction of farmlands by herders. The states pooled operation vehicles and other assets together.
But no sooner was the launch of the outfit than Attorney-General of the Federation and Justice Minister Abubakar Malai, described it as illegal.
He said no group of states is constitutionally empowered to use a joint security outfit.
This led to the dismantling of the operation of the outfit before yesterday’s decision.
Convener of Igangan Development Advocate(IDA), Oladokun Oladiran, disputed the death toll given by the police. He put the figure at 20. Oladiran said the attackers swooped on the community for more than four hours. Oladiran also dismissed the Police claim that they repelled the gunmen with the support of local hunters and vigilance group members.
He said policemen were not anywhere in sight during the Saturday night/early Sunday morning invasion by the gunmen who arrived on over 20 motorcycles.
Police spokesman Adewale Osifeso said Commissioner of police Ngozi Onadeko led a team to the troubled community.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Adebo Ogundoyin and Governor Seyi Makinde’s special adviser on security, Fatai Owoseni, inspected the places attacked.
Osifeso said in a statement that the 11 casualties included some of the assailants. He also confirmed that a number of vehicles and buildings were torched.
The statement added: ”Intelligence and Tactical apparatuses consisting of Police Mobile Force personnel, patrol units, and other tactical teams in concert with local hunters and vigilantes from the community were deployed (in the community) to forestall further disintegration of law and order in the area.
“While promising the prevalence of justice and registering the assurance of the command’s sincere condolences to the families of the deceased, the Commissioner of Police wishes to appeal to the good people of Igangan community to trust the system and shun self-help in obtaining justice through partnership with the police in the area of prompt sharing of intelligence relevant in the ongoing investigations.”
In an earlier statement, he said: “On Saturday at about 2310 hours, a yet to be ascertained number of unknown assailants invaded Igangan Town with dangerous weapons in a bid to create unrest in the town.
“The unscrupulous elements were, however, repelled by a combination of Police Operational and tactical assets in concert with local hunters and vigilantes.
“Normalcy has since returned, as on the spot assessment is in process. Furthermore, the situation is being closely monitored and comprehensive investigations are ongoing to apprehend the perpetrators.”
“The situation is being closely monitored and investigations are ongoing to apprehend the perpetrators.”
Igangan, a highly agrarian community 177 kilometres from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, boiled in December following the killing of a politician and large-scale farmer, Dr. Fatai Aborode, by suspected herders.
It took the intervention of Sunday Adeyemo (aka Igboho), before normalcy, could return to the town. But that was after he issued an eviction notice to the Seriki Fulani and his kinsmen.
Governor Makinde, who described the security situation in Igangan as his biggest challenge, announced the creation of a Base for Operation Burst in the area and deployment of more Amotekun corps.
Makinde, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, said: ”I have received the shocking news of the attacks on residents of Igangan, Ibarapaland, in the early hours of this morning. I am currently being briefed on the incidents.
“I urge residents to remain calm as security operatives are now in control of the situation.”
Chairman of the council, Lateef Akorede. also said the police, local hunters, and members of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) in Igangan, succeeded in repelling the attackers after some people, including an aide of the Seriki had been killed.
Akorede, who featured on Fresh 105.9FM radio program, added that the attack was a reprisal by the gunmen.
He said: ”It’s unfortunate that it happened. We knew there would be reprisal and we were prepared. Where they entered from, we still don’t know.
“The palace was targeted because of the burnt palace of the Seriki. That was why everything beside it was also razed.”
A former caretaker chairman of Ibarapa North council, Tunji Omolewu, said he “counted over 20 bodies” when he visited the community early yesterday.
He added: ”People were about retiring to bed when they sighted motorcycles entering the town. Before the people could do anything, the invaders had started shooting.
“The palace of our monarch was torched. Adolak filling station was also burnt.”
The IDA Convener, Mr. Oladiran, said efforts by the people to contact the Police and Amotekun operatives were not successful.
He added that save for the intervention of a few and poorly-equipped local hunters, the casualty figure would have been higher.
He fingered a relation of the Seriki as the mastermind of the attack.
Oladiran said: ”He had several times threatened that Igangan would be razed down. He even had the audacity to proclaim this on social media as well as on radio shows. Perhaps his words were taken as a mere threat but local vigilantes in Igangan kept receiving the news of impending danger.
“We notified the state of our fears on the 14th of April when covert information reached us of a meeting of the suspected herders for reprisal.
“Today, we lick our wounds. We suffered heavy losses and casualties. They fulfilled their pledge. I cannot say the same for those who are supposed to see to our security.
“No state security apparatus got to us during the storm. If we had not made a little cover, perhaps, Igangan would have become a dunghill of ashes.”
Ogundoyin later met with elders, heads of security agencies, and other stakeholders in Ibarapaland in Ayete.
He said: This latest attack is yet another unprovoked assault. This is a well-orchestrated attack on our people by blood-sucking vampires whom we accommodated and who are now bent on sending us out of our fatherland.
“This is sad. We need to be more united than ever before to face these rampaging bandits and blood-thirsty evils.
“Our zone is under siege, to say the least. Our people were murdered in their sleep and their properties destroyed. Our traditional Institution has been desecrated by the suspected herders. Or how do we explain the burning down of the palace of the Asigangan of Igangan. This is odd and tormenting. “
The Oyo state chapter of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) also lamented that since a notorious warlord, Isikilu Wakili, was arrested, there had never been a day in Ibarapa land that innocent citizens were not killed,
The All Progressives Congress n (APC) in the Oyo has condemned the killings in Igangan but wondered for how long insecurity would persist in the state.
It accused Governor Makinde of playing politics with and paying lip service to security in the state. , Afenifere posited yesterday that the Igangan killings were a confirmation that Nigeria was sliding.
Afenifere said in a statement by its National Publicity SecretaryJare Ajayi, that the incident also reinforces its call for immediate restructuring.
The Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum lamented the killings and challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to “put on better spectacles to punish the killers.”
”The recent attacks by some barbarian hordes that took several lives and properties burnt in Igangan Oyo state will not go easily unpunished, “it said in a statement by Akin Malaolu.
Warning that an “attack on Yoruba communities on their indigenous lands is a declaration of war,” the group pointed out that “Buhari owed it as a duty to save lives.”