Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo State, has asked the Nigeria Police Force to arrest individuals who are stoking ethnic tension in the state under the pretence of protecting the interest of Yoruba people.
Governor Makinde stated this when he received Ngozi Onadeko, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, at Government House, Ibadan, on Friday,
The directive was given after Sunday Adeyemo, a Yoruba activist better known as Sunday Igboho, had given a seven-day ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen to vacate Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo state, over rising insecurity.
Igboho, accompanied by gunmen, stormed Igangan on Friday to go ahead and evict the herdsmen.
But according to the governor, the welfare of all those living in the state is the priority of his administration , insisting that he would not allow some persons to plunge the state into crisis.
He said: “For people stoking ethnic tension, they are criminals and once you get them, they should be arrested and treated like common criminals.
“For this administration, the major pillar for us is security, because we know that all the good economic plans we have won’t be possible in an atmosphere of chaos and insecurity.
“So, when people say things that are neither lawful nor within the spirit of Nigeria’s Constitution, it is not acceptable here. And they cannot hide under the guise of protecting Yoruba’s interest to perpetuate chaos in the state.
“I am sure that since you came in, you must have heard about some things happening at Ibarapa axis of the state. I will still say it here that we are not after Hausa-Fulani. We are after criminals.
“We are after hoodlums and bandits irrespective of their tribe, religion, or creed. Those are the people we are after. If you look into the records, when we had the armed robbery incident at Okeho in Kajola Local Government Area of the state, some people were killed, some were arrested and we found out that they were from Ebira, from Kogi State. So, we want to go after the criminals – whether they are Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani or whoever they are.”
Governor Makinde also stated that is important for there to be a synergy between the police and the South-West Security Network, popularly known as Operation Amotekun, in order to effectively fight crime in the state.
“Amotekun here in Oyo state is working with us towards the same objective. We need intelligence to know about criminals before they even strike. It is one of the major reasons why we set up Amotekun; to be able to gather intelligence in all the wards in Oyo state.
“But the same people that demonised Amotekun are the ones now telling us that a certain ethnic nationality should leave this place.
“For us, we will ensure that all the security agencies work together. I will encourage interaction with all other agencies and once we have that synergy, we will ensure that the objective of the people going about their businesses with no fear of being molested will be attained,” he said.
In her remarks, Onadeko, the new Oyo police boss, said her team had already begun work to rid criminals in the state.
“Since we came in, we have started with our visibility policing. When I came in, I noticed that there were no policemen on the roads, maybe it was still the aftermath of the #EndSARS issue, but we have been able to talk to them. We have asked them to occupy their space because it is their constitutional duty. We have to reduce crime to its barest minimum in Oyo State,” she said.