Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has directed the 36 Local Government Councils chairmen across the state to step up their game on the issue of security and take responsibility for the security of their domains by engaging youth to form security taskforces for purpose of intelligence gathering and protecting residents across the councils.
He also advised the chairmen to consider adopting the Security Task Force approach of the state government, hold regular security meetings and work with the Amotekun, federal security agencies, and the voluntary policing initiative of the state government.
The governor noted that the advice had become imperative in the face of growing insecurity in the state and that while security was the responsibility of everyone in the society, those in government would be held accountable for the protection of lives and property of the masses who entrusted them with their mandate.
Makinde who spoke on Wednesday while declaring close a two-day retreat for Local Government Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen, and Heads of Local Government Administrations (HLAs), in the 33 Local Government Councils of the state, held at the Ilaji Hotel and Sports Complex, Akanran, Ibadan, declared that his administration was busy working on the security architecture of the state to ensure a holistic solution to insecurity challenges being faced by the state.
According to him, my administration had been working hard to find a lasting solution to the challenges in the all-important sector and when ongoing efforts to rework the security system are completed, even the Federal Government will copy the state’s template.
He also asked the council bosses to up the scale of intelligence gathering in their domains, adding that it was important for all tiers of government to collaborate and work in protecting the citizens from killers herders, and other bandits wreaking havoc in some part of the state.
He said: “There is a state Security Task Force, you can replicate that at the local government level. Meet once a week and review. I can bet that by the time we are done grinding our security architecture, they will copy it at the national level in this country. So, you should step up to the table and ensure that, at each of your local government areas, you take responsibility.
“Yes, it is a collective responsibility. The government alone cannot handle it but somebody will have to hold the rod of accountability and because you are the elected representatives of the people, you have to take responsibility even sometimes for things that are well beyond your control. The Amotekun people are there. There are challenges to get them as an agency to work with federal institutions because there is a rivalry. You guys should see it as the time to put all of them together and we have to thrive. Also, we have voluntary policing. You know some of the youths within your localities, get them into the scheme.
“When I went to Igangan, I said we would start funding the hunters and local vigilantes and we made the arrangement. Today, I am glad that the HLAs are here. We are passing through a very challenging period. So, everybody must come together to support that initiative. If we get it right, on a monthly basis, we will ensure that we make provision for them because they are quite important.
“From the report I have on Ibarapa, both open and confidential, it would have been a lot worse if not for local hunters and vigilantes. So, we need to strengthen that network. Most important is the issue of intelligence. The failure we got at Igangan was that people saw the bandits converging during the day but nobody reported the case. So, you also need to strengthen intelligence gathering in each of your local government areas.
“The number of the security control room is 615. Call it. When there was an issue at Igangan, I didn’t get the report that anyone called the number. It started at about 11:30 p.m. Call 615 to address any distressing issue. You need to promote the number at the local government level as elected officials. Take it upon yourselves now to ensure that every household is conversant with the 615 number and call it when they are in trouble. Also, encourage your people to say something to you when they see something so you can take the information to appropriate quarters.”
Governor Makinde, who also charged the local government officials to operate with the fear of God and put the interest of the people first in all their activities at the local councils, maintained that the people of the state expect good governance and dividends of democracy from the councils.
While charging the local council officials to consider adopting the four service point agenda or pillars of the state government or work on their own based on the peculiarities of the councils, he stated that the state government would continue to support the councils to achieve the mandate of delivering quality service to the people at the grassroots.
“I want to say that the people of Oyo State voted for you and are expecting from you dividends of democracy at the local level. For the state election, most of you joined me to campaign together. So, you have all contributed to putting the government at the state level there.”
He assured that the state government would always be available to support the council chairmen, saying: “You know we are here to support you. If you are faced with challenges beyond your control, come to us and we will solve it together.”
He also admonished the civil servants at the local government levels to support the council chairmen to achieve success, noting that the government would always be ready to listen to them and give necessary support to do their jobs effectively.