Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has asked the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko to treat those creating ethnic tension in the state as criminals.
Makinde gave the charge on Friday when the new Commissioner of Police paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the state secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
He maintained that the Hausa- Fulani ethnic group residing in the state are not the government’s target but hoodlums and bandits, irrespective of tribe and religion.
Makinde stated that those stoking ethnic tension are criminals and should be treated as such.
The governor, who emphasised that security remains one of the pillars of his administration, noted that all the good policies his administration outlined for economic prosperity can only be actualised in a safe and secure environment.
He called for more synergy between the Police and the Oyo State Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun, tasking the security outfits to go after the “common enemy.”
He said: “You and your team are all coming in at a very challenging time. This is a period where false information is almost at its highest, ethnic tension almost at its highest as well. So, I will say you have your job cut out for you. We won’t make the job difficult. We will be sincere, open and support you.
“I am sure that since you came in, you must have heard about some things happening at Ibarapa axis of the state. I will still say it here that we are not after Hausa-Fulanis. We are after criminals.
“We are after hoodlums and bandits irrespective of their tribe, religion or creed. Those are the people we are after. If you look into the record, when we had the armed robbery incident at Kajola, Okeho precisely, some people were killed, some were arrested and we found out that they were from Ebira, in Kogi State. So, we want to go after the criminals, whether they are Yoruba, Hausa or whoever they are.”
Makinde added: “For people stoking ethnic tension, they are criminals and once you get them, they should be arrested and treated like common criminals.
“For this administration, the major pillar for us is security because we know that all the good things we want to do economically won’t be possible in an atmosphere of chaos and insecurity. So, when people say things that are not lawful and not within the spirit of Nigeria’s constitution, it is not acceptable here. And they cannot hide under protecting Yoruba interest to perpetrate chaos in the state.
“If you look at our environment, why we had the #EndSARS was because people got bottled up. There has been very limited access to opportunities and when that happens, the young ones will discountenance the future.
“Amotekun here in Oyo State is working with us towards the same objective. We need intelligence to know about criminals before they even strike. It is one of the major reasons why we set up Amotekun; to be able to gather intelligence in all the wards in Oyo State. The same people that demonised Amotekun are the ones now telling us that a certain ethnic nationality should leave this place.
“So, we will ensure that all the agencies are working together. I will encourage interaction with all other agencies and once we have that synergy, we will ensure that the objective of the people going about their businesses with no fear of being molested will be attained.
“So, please do your work and rely on the government and the people of Oyo State. We will give you maximum cooperation and support.”
Speaking, the Commissioner of Police, Onadeko, vowed to secure the lives and property of residents in the state.
She assured the governor that officers of the command will display high level of professionalism, with the mindset of achieving a common goal.
“We are here to formally tell you that we have resumed duty. As you can see, some of us are here. So, we came with the promise that we want to make the lives and property of the people of Oyo State safe and secure. We want the people to go to bed with their eyes closed.
“Since we came in, we have started with our visibility policing. When I came in, I noticed that there were no policemen on the road, maybe it was still the aftermath of the #EndSARS issue but we have been able to talk to them. We have asked them to occupy their space because it is their constitutional duty. We have to nip crime to the barest minimum in Oyo State.
“We are going to be professional about our work; to shun corruption, synergise and work with other sister agencies because we are all working towards one particular goal – to make sure that Oyo State is safe and secure. We know that with this, you will be able to carry out your economic programmes for the people of the state.
“So, we promise you that we will work with you and in tandem with your security vision for Oyo State. We also thank you for the provision of the SRS vehicles, the repairs you made for us. We are rejigging the SRS because we want to make them to be fully operational so that they will do what is meant to be done.
“Your Excellency, I want to beg you that we will need vehicles because the KIA vehicles don’t look all that operational. If you could get Hilux cars, it will be better for us. So, we have come to say thank you and with your support and God being on our side, we will do our best to make sure that Oyo State is safe, secure and peaceful,” Onadeko said.