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Insecurity: Group calls on FG to declare state of emergency in Kwara

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A socio-political movement, Kwara For Kwara on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari, as a matter of urgency to declare a state of emergency on security in Kwara State.

The group made the call during a press conference over insecurity in Kwara State held Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Ilorin.

Addressing Journalists, the leader of the group, Mr. Abdulrasheed Akogun raised alarm over the rising spate of insecurity in Kwara state and the seeming conspiracy of silence by the State Government.

According to him, “It is no longer news, that since the inception of the AbdulRazaq’s administration in 2019, there has been incessant cases of cult clashes within different areas of the State capital, which till date is not only left unchecked but not even talked about by the present day government.

“This is more worrisome considering the adverse effect of unchecked cultism menace on our quality of education and social development as a whole”, he said.

Akogun said that one would have expected the Kwara state government, beyond window dressing, to act responsibly by communicating the abduction of the victims on record time for the purpose of intelligence gathering and community alertness.

“Kwara shares boundary with Niger state, which is currently witnessing surge of banditry, it is a no brainer that Kwara as a neighboring State to Niger is vulnerable to insecurity externalities therefrom. The manifestation of these is the attack recorded on some Kwara North communities by people suspected to be bandits.

“Recently, news broke about relocation of a terrorist leader, Bello Turji, believed to be in control of about 150 terrorist groups in the North, from Zamfara to a Kwara forest. Consequently, residents of Obbo-Ayegunle in Ekiti Local Government had raised alarm that five suspected bandits had arrived in the area and were threatening to unleash mayhem in the forms of kidnapping and killing unless the inhabitants provided them with the sum of N2 million.

“It was also gathered from the state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that some bandits invaded a rural community called Anguwa Danlami in Edu Local Government Area. The Seriki of Anguwa Danlami. In his conversation was also said to have confirmed that they received a call that ‘we are bandits and the sum of five million naira (N5,000,000) must be paid to us or we will attack your community and set the whole community ablaze.

“It is pertinent to note that section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, stipulates that the welfare and security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of government; thus government at all levels owes the people the duty to provide adequate security. We are alarmed by the suffocating tales of kidnapping, cult and ritual killings, burglary and street brawls that bewildered Kwara state in recent times and therefore call on the Kwara state government to fasten its belt and rise up to its primary responsibility of saving lives and properties of Kwarans.

“We also seize this avenue to alert the Federal Government of Nigeria that security wise, all is not well in Kwara like several other States of the Nation. We seek special intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the tides of the prevalent insecurity in Kwara state and forestall the unbearable loss of precious lives of our people to blood tasty criminals whom have penetrated Kwara state.While commending the various security formations for putting in their best efforts to ensure Kwarans are safe, Akogun implored them to take best advantage of community relations to gather intelligence, understanding that security is everyone’s business.

“It is also important that the government and security formations henceforth, keep the public realistically informed about the true state of security in the State, to enable individuals self consciousness and guide appropriately, so our people don’t fall prey.

“These criminals knows no political party affiliation, whether APC, PDP or SDP, we are all vulnerable and must ensure collective awakening on the nip the bud of emerging insecurity in Kwara state.

“Therefore, all hands must be on deck from the traditional Institution, Political class, Business communities, Community Development Associations, Civil Society Organizations and indeed the government must rise up to the occasion and arrest the tide”, he said.

Read full text of the press statement:

BEING A PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY THE KWARA 4 KWARA MOVEMENT OVER INSECURITY IN KWARA STATE, HELD AT THE NIGERIAN UNION OF JOURNALIST (NUJ) SECRETARIAT, ILORIN, KWARA STATE ON MARCH 31ST, 2022.

KWARANS LIFE MATTERS

As conscious and conscientious Kwarans, with great sense of empathy, we are compelled to raise alarm over the rising spate of insecurity in Kwara state and the seeming conspiracy of silence by the State Government.

It is no longer news, that since the inception of the AbdulRazaq’s administration in 2019, there has been incessant cases of cult clashes within different areas of the State capital, which till date is not only left unchecked but not even talked about by the present day government.

This is more worrisome considering the adverse effect of unchecked cultism menace on our quality of education and social development as a whole.

In August 2021, a Kwara state Polytechnic student was beheaded and dumped at Post-Office area of Ilorin Metropolis. In October 2021, a 10year old girl was sent to her grave prematurely by rampaging hoodlums. The girl was shot with her brother at Oja Oba market, Ilorin. In February 2022, the barely 13years old Kwara State University witnessed, for the first time, a bloody cult clash that resulted in loss of lives. Also in February 2022, one of such usual street brawls by cultists occurred at Surulere area, Ilorin.

These narrated developments, are just few among several of cult related killings which doesn’t spare even the innocents in Kwara state in recent times and have continued to threaten the peace and tranquility Kwara State was known for. While government continues to encourage people to return to farm, realizing agriculture as a vital source of economic diversification, our rural areas have become inhabitable and farmlands are now kidnappers’ trap. From Asa in Kwara Central, to Ekiti in Kwara South and Kaiama in the North of Kwara, there is no part of the State where kidnappings and gunmen attacks are not being reported in recent times, with no serious governmental action to stem the tides.

No less than #700million has reportedly been paid as ransom for release of kidnapped victims from 2019 till date. More unfortunately, some of these victims don’t even return alive. In November 2021 for instance, the corpse of a victim abducted at Olla community in Isin Local Government Area of Kwara State was found on Wednesday in a forest about a week later.

More recently, an APC Woman leader from Ekiti local government, who was returning from the Inauguration of the Party’s State Executives, was kidnapped alongside seven (7) other members of the APC. Unfortunately, the APC Woman leader did not make her return alive as she was shot dead by her abductors. We pray her soul rest in perfect peace.

While these developments are horrible and terrifying, we are extremely bewildered as to why empathy is lost in the leadership of Kwara state, who sought to bury information of their abduction for political reasons, in their habitual manner of pretending everything is well, even when within us; we know all is not well.

One would have expected the Kwara state government, beyond window dressing, to act responsibly just like Kaduna state government, by communicating the abduction of the victims on record time for the purpose of intelligence gathering and community alertness. Perhaps, it might aid their safe return.

It is however unfortunate that the government values what would be said about it, than even the lives of its own party members who are caught in our unfortunate but disguised security reality. Kwara shares boundary with Niger state, which is currently witnessing surge of banditry, it is a no brainer that Kwara as a neighboring State to Niger is vulnerable to insecurity externalities therefrom.

The manifestation of these is the attack recorded on some Kwara North communities by people suspected to be bandits. Recently, news broke about relocation of a terrorist leader, Bello Turji, believed to be in control of about 150 terrorist groups in the North, from Zamfara to a Kwara forest. Consequently, residents of Obbo-Ayegunle in Ekiti Local Government had raised alarm that five suspected bandits had arrived in the area and were threatening to unleash mayhem in the forms of kidnapping and killing unless the inhabitants provided them with the sum of N2 million.

It was also gathered from the state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that some bandits invaded a rural community called Anguwa Danlami in Edu Local Government Area. The Seriki of Anguwa Danlami. In his conversation was also said to have confirmed that they received a call that ‘we are bandits and the sum of five million naira (N5,000,000) must be paid to us or we will attack your community and set the whole community ablaze.

These are series of red flags of insecurity, which we feel the Kwara state government, who should escalate these concerns to the Federal Government and also invest heavily in State security architectures is not doing anything close to enough to secure Kwaran lives. It is pertinent to note that section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, stipulates that the welfare and security of citizens shall be the primary responsibility of government; thus government at all levels owes the people the duty to provide adequate security. We are alarmed by the suffocating tales of kidnapping, cult and ritual killings, burglary and street brawls that bewildered Kwara state in recent times and therefore call on the Kwara state government to fasten its belt and rise up to its primary responsibility of saving lives and properties of Kwarans.

We also seize this avenue to alert the Federal Government of Nigeria that security wise, all is not well in Kwara like several other States of the Nation. We seek special intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the tides of the prevalent insecurity in Kwara state and forestall the unbearable loss of precious lives of our people to blood tasty criminals whom have penetrated Kwara state.

While commending the various security formations for putting in their best efforts to ensure Kwarans are safe, we implore them to take best advantage of community relations to gather intelligence, understanding that security is everyone’s business. It is also important that the government and security formations henceforth, keep the public realistically informed about the true state of security in the State, to enable individuals self consciousness and guide appropriately, so our people don’t fall prey.

These criminals knows no political party affiliation, whether APC, PDP or SDP, we are all vulnerable and must ensure collective awakening on the nip the bud of emerging insecurity in Kwara state.

Therefore, all hands must be on deck from the traditional Institution, Political class, Business communities, Community Development Associations, Civil Society Organizations and indeed the government must rise up to the occasion and arrest the tide.

We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently declare a State of Emergency on insecurity in Kwara State.

Signed:

Abdulrasheed Akogun

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