The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams on Wednesday, said armed terrorists now occupy Kishi, located in North West of Oyo State, as well as vast Old Oyo National Park.
Adams, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said the recent development pose a great danger to the security of the entire South West area.
Adams said in the past few days, the armed groups have engaged in kidnapping of locals apart from threatening their livelihood and access to forest resources.
He said children, the aged and women are the most hit by the violent activities of the armed groups.
“I have received numerous reports from Kishi, North West of Oyo State. The reports range from ceaseless kidnapping, rape and threat to lives of Yoruba people in the Oke Ogun area with Kishi as the present hub of terrorist attacks. It’s my responsibility to alert the public and also the relevant authorities,” he said.
The Aare Ona Kankanfo expressed worry that the region is gradually becoming a haven for bandits and terrorists masquerading as herdsmen. He warned that the situation must be nipped in the bud to prevent the South West taking the ignoble part of the North East and the North West regions of Nigeria, where violence has taken a firm root.
He said what appears like the gathering of armed groups in the area will affect the stability of the entire South West region.
Adams said Oyo State has the largest land mass in Yorubaland with an area of 28,454 square kilometers and listed it as the14th by size among the 36 states of the Federation. He said the occupation of Oyo State by terrorists will strengthen their infiltration of the entire South West.
He said the area retains a traditional route that links Sokoto State and also borders Ogun State, South of Kwara State and the Republic of Benin and in the East by Osun State.
Adams said the area harbours the old Oyo National Park which is 2,512 km2 of land covering Northern Oyo at latitude 8° 15’ and 9° 00’N and longitude 3° 35’ and 4° 42’ E which stretches to Kwara State.
He said the occupation of the land by armed groups is an assault on Yoruba heritage and civilisation, saying that part of the forest host the sacred terbanacle of ancient Yoruba Alaafin whose graves were located in parts of the forest.
Adams added that recent intelligence report at his disposal indicate that the terrorists are now visible at the Old Oyo Games Reserve at Sooro village in Kishi town, Irepo Local Government of Oyo State.
He said: “I have confirmed intelligence reports that the historic Kishi town has been ravaged by terrorists.
“Killing and kidnapping of over a hundred people is frightening and worrisome.”
He further stated that he has raised the alarm for the second time in two weeks.
“The records are there.The recent Intelligence report from Kishi is too frightening because terrorists have taken over the area, with the number of victims growing by the day. We need to react to this senseless killings because of the timing and exigencies. I have sent the report to the Oyo State governor, Eng.Seyi Makinde. I have also alerted the Director General of Amotekun in Oyo state. I have also informed the Alaafin of Oyo, His imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, through a message to Alaafin’s Personal Assistant, and I have informed the Okere of Saki,” he said.
The Aare Ona Kakanfo said his action was to tell all those concerned about the security situation in the area to respond decisively.
Earlier, the Aare-in-Council, had after a recent meeting, raised the alarm about the security situation in the area, expressing worry that the Federal Government has failed to address the various security challenges in the zone.
“The Aare-in-Council had earlier raised the alarm on the infiltration of terrorists and killer Fulani herdsmen in the region.The council said over 500 power bikes and assorted armour belonging to the terrorists have been physically sighted along the abandoned Lusada route moving towards Sokoto, from Igbo Ora in Oyo State.”
The recent report, he maintained, came from Kishi, a town that shares boundary with Ibariba.
The Yoruba leader, however, urged all Yoruba sons and daughters in the southwest and beyond not to relent in their efforts in providing necessary information that are capable of exposing the terrorists, assuring that he would surely channel the information to the appropriate quarters.
“With the present situation, I think there is urgent need for the state government to address the spate of insecurity in the area. We are ready to support the government in keeping the terrorists at bay.
With the approval of the Oyo state government and other relevant security agencies, I can mobilize the Southwest Security Stakeholders Group (SSSG) comprising the Oodua Peoples Congress, Vigilante Group,South West Hunters Association, Yoruba Youth Council, Agbekoya Farmers Society Group,and Agbekoya Group to complement the efforts of the security agencies and ensure effective security and safety of the area by flushing out the criminal elements and terrorists that are invading our reserve forest and old Oyo National Park which is our heritage in the southwest.”,Aare Gani Adams said.