Palpable Fear Grip Ondo Residents Over Security Threat, As Army, Amotekun Commanders Engage in Superiority Fight

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-GOC, Yerima Shuns Security Meetings Since May

-Soldiers withdraw in Protest
-Ondo PDP, Govt in War of Words

By Yemi Akintomide

Nigerian Army withdrew it men from several checkpoints mounted on important border areas and hot spots across Ondo State, over the weekend, threatening the state’s relative tranquility.

According to a military source, the Brigade Commander of the 32 Artillery Brigade, Brigadier-General Yakubu Yerima, who has been at odds with the Corp Commandant of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, for some times, ordered the dismantling of all military checkpoints, as well as the return of the affected soldiers to their barracks.

According to the findings by www.ijawnews.com, the soldiers’ retreat from the checkpoints marked the high point of the cold war between Adeleye and General Yerima, notwithstanding the Army Commander’s rejection of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s intervention.

For instance, in the last six months, General Yerima is said to have avoided State Security Council meetings chaired by the Governor.

According to the source, Gen. Yerima has challenged Amotekun’s operations since taking over as Brigade Commander, claiming that the outfit’s operations were focused against “his people.”

“How do you expect our Oga to cooperate with Amotekun when the targets of the operations of the outfit are all his people (Fulanis)?

“We are not against Amotekun as long as they are fighting crime and criminality but why are they always arresting only people of an ethnic group and expect the man to be happy here?

“So we are leaving for Amotekun; let them take the roads and protect the people because the government does not want us to work and even help to fight crime”, the source stated.

Although no official confirmation has been received in this regard, it was observed that the checkpoints along Ago Ajayi, Owo-Ikare Junction, Owen, Ajue, Igbara Oke and Uso-Owo have all been dismantled.

Many residents of the State had earlier raised alarm over the withdraw of the soldiers from the checkpoints, stressing that activities of men of the underworlds, Kidnappers’, armed herdsmen and banditry will soon be on the rise in the State.

However, the opposition People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) in Ondo State has blamed the state government for the current predicament, auguring that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN has refused to allowances due to security chiefs in the State.

Full Statement of PDP on the Dismantle of Checkpoints;

Soldiers that man security check points in Ondo State, especially at the inter State boundaries have abandoned the check points. This is as a result of the refusal of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to pay allowances due to these personnel.

Over the years, the Army high command approved the mobilisation of soldiers to thirty two (32) strategic locations in the state to stem the activities of kidnappers and other criminals on the condition that the State Government pays a token as allowances to the soldiers. This arrangement preceded the incumbent administration under Akeredolu.

Unfortunately, in the last four months, these allowances have not been paid.

All efforts to appeal to the Governor fell on deaf ears. Also, efforts by Traditional Rulers to plead with the Governor did not yield any results.

In the last one year, eleven Traditional Rulers have been kidnapped, while one first class Oba, the Oluifon of Ifon was murdered in cold blood by gunmen.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ondo State chapter joins other well meaning Ondo State citizens to appeal to Governor Akeredolu, to immediately pay the outstanding allowances due to the security personnel without further delay.

The primary responsibility of any Government is the protection of lives and properties, a duty that has been observed by the APC Government more in the breach. Even with the presence of the soldiers, the people don’t sleep with their two eyes closed, what happens when, the criminals now have a field day, because of the failure of the Governor to do the needful?

Signed:

Kennedy Ikantu Peretei,
State Publicity Secretary, Ondo PDP.

Reacting to the PDP allegations, the State Government, through the a statement by Commissioner of Information, Donald Ojogo, on Wednesday, lambasted the opposition party for weaponise a seeming situation of near sabotage.

Full text of Statement by Donald Ojogo

*Removal of Military Checkpoints & PDP’s Undiscerning Position 

The spurious efforts of the opposition PDP to weaponise a seeming situation of near sabotage, clearly shows how detached they are from the arena of vigilance. To them, everything is politics and politics must be infused into everything,  including the safety and welfare of the people. No discerning group could have bought into such cheaply brandished propaganda.

The ignorantly appraised security situatoon by the PDP is an inelegant manifestation that they would rather dance on the blood of innocent South westerners on the alter of politics for patronage than stand firm in defence of their people. 

The Ondo State Government desires not to go into the merits of the flying story about non-payment of allowances to any arm of the military. It deserves no such efforts more so, that, the concerned arm of the military has yet to issue any statement in that regards.

It must be noted that notwithstanding the politicisation of any situation, the Ondo State Government ably led by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN shall not, under whatever circumstances, succumb to blackmail and allow any puerile allegation wrapped under ethnicised platforms to wrought further violence on our people. 

It must clear to all, including the PDP, that, the target is AMOTEKUN. Unfortunately for whoever whose motive is to perpetrate violence under any guise, our resolve to sustain AMOTEKUN remains unwavering. We won’t be deterred in any form. Our time-tested character and attitude toward tackling insecurity even at odd times, shall not be compromised. 

Signed 

Donald Ojogo 
Commissioner for Information and Orientation 
Ondo State 

November 3, 2021

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