For about eight months now, Ogun State has been under the siege of evil men; with banks as the major targets. The effect of the siege had been tremendous to the extent that banks in the state had to close shops for more than two weeks without attending to customers, a situation that the government said was a major challenge to the survival of the state.
Now determined to deal with the menace of men of the underworld, who have had a reign of terror on the state, the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, recently launched the state security trust fund, with banks, corporations, private sectors and individuals donating to the fund.
Amosun who also used the occasion to inaugurate the board that will manage the fund, gave the term of reference for the board to include collaborating with and promoting the efficiency of all the security agencies in the state.
He said the fund acquire would be used for the procurement of security equipment and such resources as shall be necessary for achieving the objectives of the fund.
The governor who while emphasizing the essence of the fund said that the purpose of the fund is to reinforce other measures the state is putting in place to ensure that criminals do not find a safe haven in the Ogun State.
Amosun who stunned guests at the venue, as he personally took a tray to collect donations from corporate organisations, individuals, financial institutions and captains of industry said what is happening showed that every individual should have a say in the way and manners the state is been governed. While receiving leaders of the Ijebu Bankers’ Forum in Abeokuta recently, the governor revealed that the state government had taken concrete steps to assist the police and other security agencies in combating armed robbers and other violent crimes in the state by providing effective security cover around the state.
The governor added, “We have also approached some neighbouring states to cooperate with us in confronting the security challenges we are facing here. We should not give the hoodlums opportunities to relocate from one area to another”.
He noted that the planned military/police joint security operations would soon take off emphasizing the importance of a sound security environment as a pre-requisite for businesses to thrive. He appealed to corporate organisations to complement government’s efforts.
He added: “Security equipments do not come cheap; a standard APC goes for between N85 million and N100 million; and we actually need between 30 and 35 to cover the whole state and ensure that robbers do not find it easy in the state. We need to tool the APC’s as well as equip and motivate those that will operate them”.
“The joint military/police patrol will cost money too. We need at least 30 teams to patrol the whole state and that will cost money. We will need about 1,200 men for the patrol and N50 million would be needed to fund each of the patrol teams; this amounts to N1.5 billion”.
Governor Amosun also tasked security operatives in the state to be more active, pointing out that the frequency of the attacks do not speak well of the competence of the security men. The chairman of the Ijebu Bankers’ Forum, Mr. Olusegun Olusoga, had informed the governor of the security challenges facing their operations and appealed for government’s assistance.
Last week Friday, the Governor took a practical step by handling over six out of 13 Armoured Personnel’s Carriers it ordered for and 125 of Hilux pick up van to the security Agencies. The governor while handing over the APC, to the police at a ceremony witnessed by the acting inspector general of police, Mohammed Abubakar said “The people of any community can only blossom in their day to day activities in an atmosphere that is safe and secure.”
He promised that his administration would make Ogun State secure for residents and investors adding that the APCs were of the very latest technology.
“Ogun State is the first to bring in this new technology into fighting crime in Nigeria. This will also enhance protection of lives of our security personnel”, he added.
Amosun thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for giving approval for the deployment of another mobile police squadron to the state and the special support given to Ogun State by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and security agencies.
He called on individuals and organizations to donate generously to the state’s Security Trust Fund. He said the state had expended about N4 billion on security and had not spent a kobo from the security trust fund.
Speaking at the ceremony, the acting inspector-general of police, commended the efforts of the Amosun-led administration to safeguard lives and property. He noted that it was the first time in the history of Nigeria that such a scale of investment was made in security and called on local and foreign investors to take advantage of the new and peaceful atmosphere in the state.
“This administration will not tolerate any lawlessness from any member of the team, no matter the uniform you wear” he said, urging his men to be civil, committed, dedicated, sincere and patriotic in the discharge of your duties.