Southwest governors on Tuesday met in Ibadan, Oyo state to deliberate on strategies to tackle security challenges facing the region.
The governors at the meeting are: Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dr. Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Prince Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Mr. Gboyega Oyetola (Osun).
The governors said they have resolved to tackle the challenges regardless of their political affiliations.
The event tagged: “Stakeholders’ security summit: Focus on Western Nigeria” was organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN Commission).
The summit, held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University College Hospital, (UCH) Ibadan, had the six governors from the region, security chiefs, traditional rulers, leaders of thought and prominent groups within the region in attendance.
However, the first class monarchs in the region which include the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Alake of Egba Land, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, and the Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Adetona were not at the summit.
The governor of Ondo state, Mr. Akeredolu who doubled as the chairman of the South-West Governors Forum said no sacrifice is too much for the governors in the region to protect the people.
“This meeting has become exigent considering the spate of insecurity in the country. The anxiety of our people is palpable. The growing fear among the populace makes nonsense of any plans conceived for the development of our God-given space.
“It is my fervent hope that this engagement will not be limited to the current challenge which threatens to wreck our collective peace.
“I look forward to future interactions on matters as important and affective as this one which compels this assembly.
“There is no gainsaying the obvious; the issue of socio-economic integration in the region must be taken seriously for any aspiration towards development to be meaningful. No remarkable progress can be achieved amidst chaos. No state in the region can achieve greatness in isolation.
“We should extend the possibility of cooperation on other socio-economic fronts. Our people stand to benefit from our resolve to ensure that they remain at the centre of all permutations and considerations.
“Partisan colouration should not delimit the extent of collaboration aimed at maximum service for our people. With shared yearnings for the development of the region, there should be no difficulty in agreeing to provide the best services possible in the interest of our people.
“Again, our history compels us to be cautious when confronted with strange occurrences. Our past experiences should teach us that understanding a phenomenon will assist us, tremendously, in proffering useful solutions.
“As leaders of our people we cannot afford to be emotive in taking decisions for their benefit. Any step taken must reflect the collective will to protect them. No sacrifice is too much to preserve this heritage of peace and prosperity.
“The pervasive presence of persons not indigenous to our space bears eloquent testimony to the quality of our upbringing.
“The preponderance of thriving businesses owned and controlled by our brothers and sisters from other parts of the country is evidence of sophistication. Our land is indeed a lesson to other parts of the country.
“There is no limit to the aspiration of anyone who lives, peacefully, among us. Nobody is persecuted in our midst.
“We protect the weak, even against our own. Our borders are thrown open to all and sundry in the spirit of brotherhood and oneness.
“There is, however, the urgent need compelling a review of this liberal policy of openness.
“Our people are under siege, the harbingers of death, sorrow, tears and blood threaten the existing fraternity among the peoples of this country.
“Narrow-mindedness gloats over the horrendous crimes perpetrated by these criminal elements. Some fail to see beyond partisan parochialism.
“The situation on ground should compel a broader and open-minded analysis of this strange incursion with a view to ascertaining the real reasons responsible for this disquiet.
“We should be particularly worried by the current spate of an insidious phenomenon, hitherto unknown and uncommon in our immediate clime, creeping into our erstwhile peaceful and prosperous ambience.
“The incessant perpetration of anti-social behaviours, occasioning pervasive despair, and the seeming helplessness of our security agencies to stem the tide of these aberrant attitudes, which threaten the very existence of our region as an autonomous socio-political entity, call for serious scrutiny.
“We must review these unfortunate incidents individually and collectively. Every state must be able to ascertain the extent of this current threat.
“We must locate the sources of compromise within our space with a view to curtailing same effectively in both the short and long run.
“Our collective goal should be the security of our space and safety of our people in all ramifications. On this, there should be no compromise.
“We must, consequently, be proactive in tackling the current security issues. The adoption of a scientific approach towards the resolution of the current crisis will bear far-reaching effects.
“Our state will be looking forward to working with other states in the South Western region to eradicate the menace of armed robbery, drug abuse, cultism, kidnapping, among others.
“There can be no argument on the assertion that insecurity has become a major issue in the polity today. There is virtually no part of the country which is spared at the moment.
“All the six geo-political zones experience one form of crisis or the other. From Zamfara to Katsina, the current trends are banditry and cattle rustling. Kano, Sokoto and Bauchi are not spared. Kaduna faces an uphill task in combating security challenges,” he said.
He also advocated for proper coordination of the activities of all formal and informal security groups, free flow of information regarding crime from members of the public, need for a toll-free line for crime reporting in the states across the region and need for joint border patrols with neighbouring states.
Also speaking, Makinde maintained that as governors, their role is to ensure that everyone living in the region is safe.
“As governors, it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone in our midst, indigene or alien residents, is assured of security of their lives and properties. We also know that there are barriers preventing us from carrying out this constitutional responsibility to the fullest measure,” the Oyo state governor said.
Similarly, Dr. Fayemi, in his remarks, said drone system has been deployed to tackle some of the security challenges facing the region.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Dapo Abiodun and Gboyega Oyetola in their separate addresses maintained that security issue has been the major discussion of the governors in the region.
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