On Friday, August 2, 2019, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, announced the abduction of five pastors of the church on their way to the annual Holy Ghost Convention. Although Adeboye did not reveal the identities of the victims, they were reportedly abducted at the Ijebu-Ode end of the Sagamu-Benin-Ore expressway on their way to the religious gathering.
Before then, on July 23, 2019, kidnappers struck at the Ajebo axis of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and kidnapped three persons. The incident involved the son of the Chief Medical Director of the Lafia Hospital, Ibadan and two members of staff of the hospital.
Of course, one common denominator those two criminal activities shared was that they both occurred in Ogun State. That has prompted Governor Dapo Abiodun to announce a review of the state’s security strategy.
Speaking to reporters at a briefing about the security situations in the state, the governor reeled out some new measures to tackle kidnappings and general insecurity in the state. At the briefing, which had in attendance the state’s Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama and Director of Directorate of State Service (DSS), David Tuksa, Governor Abiodun declared that his administration would present a draft amendment of the state’s Security Trust Fund to the state House of Assembly to strengthen the safety of lives and property.
“We are going to be relaunch our Security Trust Fund. We have an amended bill that is on its way to the House of Assembly. We looked at the existing bill and compared it to bills in other states where the security trust fund had worked very effectively. We have identified the gaps in our bill and sent an amended version to the House of Assembly.
“The new Security Trust Fund will have all the governance it requires, as well as commitment from a few financial institutions of note. It will also have a few people from the private sector who are committed to serving on its Board. We are also committed to funding this establishment,” the governor said.
The governor also declared that his administration would demolish houses sheltering criminals or being used to perpetrate crimes, while owners of such houses would be arrested and prosecuted as accomplices. Of course, the security challenges recently experienced in Ogun State are not peculiar to the state. Lately, there has been an increase in criminal activities, such as banditry, kidnapping and other violent acts in the southwestern part of the country. The murder of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Pa Rueben Fasoranti, on the Kajola-Ore road in Ondo State, sparked public outrage about the security situation in the region.
In response, the governors of the six states in the South-West met in Ibadan at a security summit, where they pledged to find a lasting solution to the lingering security challenges in the region.
Although there are indications that the region could have a joint security patrol team of law enforcement agencies across its border, it is easy to see why the Abiodun administration is leading the charge for better security.
Firstly, providing leadership when there is a crisis is a mark of commitment and a vital note of assurance to the public that the governor understands the situation and is working to address it. Also, considering the strategic location and positioning of the state, a sense of insecurity in the state would have a ripple effect on the security of other states, especially Lagos, which shares its only internal boundary with Ogun.
As Governor Abiodun himself noted, Ogun State is the gateway to Nigeria’s commercial capital, as well as exiting it.
The world over, citizens’ sense of security is not in the absence of criminal activities but how their governments respond to the crisis and reassure of measures taken to forestall the situation. As a seasoned administrator and private sector executive, it is unsurprising how Governor Abiodun has responded to such a delicate challenge, and with the support of relevant stakeholders, it is not hard to see why his determination will lead to a safer and more secure Ogun State.
Adegoke Abiodun wrote this piece from Abeokuta.