A group, Kwara for Kwara Movement, has cried out over security challenges in the state, calling on the Federal Government to urgently intervene to bring succour to residents of the state.
Mr Abdulrasheed Akogun, Leader of the group, made the appeal on Thursday in Ilorin at a news conference on the security situation of the state.
Akogun, a journalist, said that since 2019, the spate of kidnappings has assumed a greater dimension in Kwara.
According to him, from 2019 to date cases of kidnapping across the state have reached an alarming rate.
“No less than N700 million has reportedly been paid as ransom for the release of kidnapped victims from 2019 till date, unfortunately, some of these victims don’t even return alive.
“In November 2021 for instance, the corpse of a victim abducted at Olla community in Isin Local Government Area of Kwara State was found in a forest about a week later.
“More recently, an APC woman leader from Ekiti local government, who was returning from the inauguration of the party’s State Executives, was kidnapped alongside seven other members of the APC.
“Unfortunately, the APC woman leader did not make her return alive as she was shot dead by her abductors. We pray her soul rest in perfect peace,” Akogun said.
He lamented that the state government has always remained silent whenever such kidnappings occurred.
“We, therefore, seize this avenue to alert the Federal Government of Nigeria that security-wise, all is not well in Kwara like several other States of the Nation.
“We seek the special intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the tide of the prevalent insecurity in Kwara state and forestall the unbearable loss of precious lives of our people to blood tasty criminals who have penetrated Kwara state.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently declare a State of Emergency on insecurity in Kwara State,” Akogun said.
He wondered why the state government preferred to bury information of their abduction if not for political reasons, and in their habitual manner of pretending everything is well, even when within us we know all is not well.
“One would have expected the Kwara state government, beyond window dressing, to act responsibly just like Kaduna state government, by communicating the abduction of the victims on record time for the purpose of intelligence gathering and community alertness. Perhaps, it might aid their safe return.
“It is however unfortunate that the government values what would be said about it than even the lives of its own party members, who are caught in our unfortunate but disguised security reality,” he said.
Akogun therefore called on the state government to be alive to its responsibility of securing the lives and properties of the people of the state.
“Kwara shares boundary with Niger state, which is currently witnessing a surge of banditry, it is a no brainer that Kwara as a neighbouring State to Niger is vulnerable to insecurity externalities therefrom.
“The manifestation of these is the attack recorded on some Kwara North communities by people suspected to be bandits.
Recently, news broke about the relocation of a terrorist leader, Bello Turji, believed to be in control of about 150 terrorist groups in the North, from Zamfara to a Kwara forest,” Akogun said.
According to him, residents of Obbo-Ayegunle in Ekiti Local Government Area were not safe from bandits’ attacks.
He said the residents had raised an alarm that five suspected bandits had arrived in the area and were threatening to unleash mayhem in the forms of kidnapping and killing unless the inhabitants provided them with the sum of N2 million.
“These are series of red flags of insecurity, which we feel the Kwara state government, who should escalate these concerns to the Federal Government and also invest heavily in State security architectures is not doing anything close to enough to secure lives of the people,” he said.
Akogun commended the various security formations in the state for putting in their best efforts to ensure that residents of the state were safe.
He, therefore, implored them to take the best advantage of community relations to gather intelligence, understanding that security is everyone’s business.
“It is also important that the government and security formations henceforth, keep the public realistically informed about the true state of security in the State, to enable individual’s self-consciousness and guide appropriately, so our people don’t fall prey,” he said.
He was of the view that the criminals did not know political party affiliation, whether APC, PDP or SDP.
“We are all vulnerable and must ensure collective awakening on the nip in the bud of emerging insecurity in Kwara state.
“Therefore, all hands must be on deck from the traditional institution, political class, business communities, community development associations, civil society organisations and indeed the government must rise up to the occasion and arrest the tide,” Akogun urged.
Kwara for Kwara Movement is made up of young professionals of Kwara origin that desires a Kwara that is safe for all sons and daughters of the state.