By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
In furtherance to tackle security challenges in Ogun state, stakeholders at a dinner during the weekend raised over N1billion for the Ogun State Security Trust Fund Board.
The state governor, Dapo Abiodun disclosed that the South West states have agreed to set up a joint patrol team, to be known as ‘Amotekun’ in the region.
Speaking at the event, which was the Board’s first major fund raising activity since it was inaugurated on August 24, the state governor noted that the State was vulnerable to criminal attacks as a result of its location and proximity to three other states, including Lagos and a neighbouring country.
Ogun State, the governor added, is also fast becoming an industrial hub with an increase in economic and commercial activities. He also mentioned cross border migration as well as the state harbouring the busiest highway in the country as major attractions to criminality.
The Governor, who stressed the need for all stakeholders to be involved in security issues, said the procurement of 100 patrol vehicles and 200 motorbikes was a demonstration of his government’s determination to fight crime and reduce it to the barest minimum, lamenting that security agencies in the State were operating without the needed tools.
The governor decried the lack of communication system for security agencies in the state, noting that it was bad that the lack of a proper communication system had stalled proper communication between security chiefs in the state.
“We need more equipment, we do not have any telecommunication equipment, we need monitoring and tracking devices because it is these monitoring and tracking devices that we can monitor and track these criminals.
“It is shameful that our security agencies do not have a communication system or equipment within the state, meaning that the commissioner of police cannot speak with his counterpart in the military, Department of State Services or even worse still, he cannot speak with his Area commander, Divisional Police Officers of police stations across the state. Their vehicles were not functioning very well; no tracking devices, no enough finance, so, we are looking at correcting those anomalies with our security trust fund.
“The vehicles need to be maintained. The officers need to be looking after. To these, we have come to you to assist us so that we can ensure that not only do we have the funding, but that this is also sustained,” Abiodun said.
The State helmsman reiterated that his administration has put in place initiatives to stimulate local economy and empower the youths to be useful to themselves and the society, maintaining that there was a nexus between economic development, unemployment, illiteracy and insecurity.
While pleading with the corporate bodies and other stakeholders to join hands with the government in addressing challenges poise by insecurity, the Governor said security matters should be the responsibility of all, as the government could not do it alone.
He assured investors that fund realised through the security trust fund would be judiciously used, saying that the board has “people with integrity and a name to protect.”
He disclosed that the state government would soon start a resident registration exercise, which is aimed at having a proper laid down plan for the provision of necessary amenities for the people of the state.
The registration exercise, he said, was important as it would help the state government have a database of its residents and help in providing the necessary amenities for the use of the people of the state.
Prince Abiodun said the decision to launch ‘Amotekun’ by the five south west states was meant to ensure the security of the entire region.
According to him, each state in the region is to donate 20 patrol vehicles and communication equipment for the take-off of the joint security patrol team.
Governor Abiodun added that the states are also to provide personnel for the task force to operate effectively.
He said: “In conjunction with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, the five Southwest states have agreed to set up a joint patrol team that will be called ‘Amotekun’.
“Each of the state is required to donate at least 20 patrol vehicles, communication equipment and personnel to the task force. The personnel will be gotten from the Police, Army, Vigilante and Hunters.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the Fund, Mr. Bolaji Balogun, said the Trust Fund, established in 2011 and amended in 2019, was saddle with the responsibility of among other things, managing, procuring and maintaining security equipment, promote efficiency of all security agencies and manage resources in a transparent and accountable manner for the purpose of public security. Balogun also added that the board will avail stakeholders an opportunity to have quarterly reports of programmes, adding that the board will be open to auditing of its accounts to show to the people that they were truly there to serve.
He said to attract the right investment and business to the State, it was imperative to secure the environment, adding that members were carefully chosen from the private sector to raise and utilise fund to provide security services with necessary tool, assuring that money realised, would not go into the state purse.
Secretary of the Fund, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, who also spoke at the occasion, said the amended Law has de-politicised the governance of the Fund, as the Board is now a private sector driven, with a mission to make the Gateway State the most secure and prosperous in the country.
The state Commissioner of Police, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Investigation Bureau (SIB), Mr. Wale Abbass, regretted that the State, which was one of the most peaceful, was gradually losing its status, even as he urged all stakeholders to partner with government to reduce crime rate in the State.
A member of the Trust Fund and Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Assistant Inspector General of Police Olusola Subair (rtd), said his office would seek the assistance of partners from the International Police (INTERPOL) and deploy technology in tackling insecurity, calling for cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve the objectives.