The hues and cries generated over the recent upsurge in the rate of kidnapping, cultism, armed banditry and other violent crimes in the country has called for serious concerns, a development which ultimately, has kept many a Nigerian on his or her toes to remain security conscious in the protection of his or her lives and property.
The rising crime spate is not far-fetched, given the sophistry in the vices, owing to new discoveries in modern technologies whereby criminals, in their nefarious acts, deploy new techniques to perpetrate crimes.
In the last couple of weeks ago, motorists, commuters and other road users plying along Lagos/Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode/Ibadan, and Lagos/ Sango-Ota/Abeokuta, who have been targets of kidnappers and armed robbers, have had causes to recall the bitter taste of their encounters in the hands of these criminals.
Countless number of people have fallen prey to the nefarious activities of these suspected criminals who have been on the prowl, demanding for ransom, running into millions of naira, from the family members and other relations of their victims before they can be let off the hooks. Survival or growth and development of any state or nation depend largely on the government’s investment in the industry.
Worthy of note, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, deserves a pat on the back for his administration’s reinvigoration of the State’s Security Trust Fund which ultimately impacted positively in the creation of the Joint Special Squad (JSS), as well as the approval of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) for the restart of OP-MESA to checkmate the rising crime waves in the state.
In the wake of the increasing incidents of violence and attacks on farmers and travellers in early 2020, six southern governors came together and decided on the setting up of a Western Nigeria Security Network (WSN) code-named, ‘Amotekun’, an outfit designed to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
When the incessant attacks were unabated, the government thought out of the box with the establishment of a special security taskforce, the Joint Security Intervention Squad (JSIS), comprising of the military, the police, Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Vigilante Groups, amongst others as a quick response mechanism, particularly, to the troubled communities affected in the farmers-herders clash in Yewa (Ogun West) axis of the state.
As a step further, the inauguration of OPMESA recently, precisely, on Friday, January 21, 2022, was a confirmation of the government’s commitment and resolve towards the protection of lives and property, culminating in the handing over of 15 patrol vehicles, two Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicles, communication gadgets and other crime-fighting equipment to the security operatives in the state.
Not that alone, it was heart-warming with words of encouragement when the governor announced and pledged the continued provision of this set of crime-fighting equipment on a quarterly basis to the law enforcement agencies for effective policing of the state in a bid to stamp out criminal elements from making the state their safe haven.
“It is only in an environment guided by law and order that peaceful co-existence, political stability and socio-economic development, or even leisurely activities can thrive. “Permit me to state that OP-MESA is not peculiar to our state. OP-MESA is currently in existence in 26 states. Inexplicably, ours was allowed to literally become comatose.
We are reactivating it through a Presidential consent sought by our Administration. This formation will benefit from the support that will be provided by the Ogun State Security Trust Fund (OGSSTF) through the donations and contributions from government, the private sector and similar non-grata actors, as well as the goodwill of individuals.
“I, therefore, enjoin our people to take ownership of this security outfit by collaborating with it and supporting it. Together, we shall make Ogun State a most hospitable and a conducive place of our collective dreams,” averred the governor.
Though security is in the exclusive list of the Nigerian Constitution and it ascribes to state governors the duty of the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of their respective states, and as result, they can’t shirk in their basic responsibilities to be responsive and proactive in tackling insecurity headlong in the face of a new resurgence of kidnappings on inter-state roads. Security of lives and property is the primary responsibility of the government.
According to the social contract theory, every government has an obligation to the citizenry.
According to Rousseau, in his popular literature,
“The Social Contract”, “In the state of nature, humans were un-warlike and somewhat undeveloped in their reasoning powers and sense of morality and responsibility. When, however, people agreed for mutual protection to surrender individual freedom of action and establish laws and government, they then acquired a sense of moral and civic obligation
It is worrisome and unacceptable that the roads governments at all levels have taken upon themselves to construct and rehabilitate have become nightmares for motorists and commuters plying them. It should be noted that these suspected criminals have no place of abodes but they have been posing security threats to the peace and tranquillity of the state.
Just in the last couple of weeks ago, two junior staff of a Federal Government Agency were reportedly kidnapped at Onigaari Village, on the same Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and also a popular actress narrowly escaped by a whisker from being kidnapped at the same spot.
These were known reported cases, but what could have been the fates of other unknown victims whose matters were not reported in the media, but are still languishing or writhing in pain in the custody of their abductors. Another identified notable flashpoint is Fidiwo Village, same along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Governments, at all levels, have a lot to do to curtail the unwholesome activities of these marauders who have turned themselves into beasts and are feeding fat on the proceeds from ransomtaking.
Governor Abiodun is a living example and the steps he has taken so far to address the menace will go a long way to bringing the ugly situation under control.
His synergy approach by contacting his colleague in Oyo State, Engr Seyi Makinde, to proffer solutions to the hydra-headed vice is a welcome development, with the joint collaboration in the area of providing security at the border posts between the two states – Ogun and Oyo.
In retrospect, and in response to the rising crime waves, the government alone can’t bear the burden alone. As a result, four months after the assumption of office of the current administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun, sometime in October 2019, it underscored the importance of security (as one of the five developmental ISEYA pillars) to the enthronement of a peaceful co-existence among different ethnic nationalities in the state and also to foster an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.