Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Ngozi Onadeko has warned those exhibiting lawlessness and committing crimes with impunity, that laws of Nigeria will be enforced on them whenever they are caught, no matter the position they hold in the society.
The police commissioner talked tough on Friday during an emergency stakeholders’ meeting summoned in the wake of recent crises in the state.
Among those at the stakeholders’ meeting were state heads of Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Nigeria Immigration Service.
Others at the meeting were the Senior Special Adviser on Security, CP Fatai Owoseni (retd), traditional, community and ethnic leaders, local government chairmen, farmers, Miyetti Allah and youth organization leaders.
It will be recalled that the latest crisis was an attack on operatives of Mapo police station on Thursday by suspected hoodlums, who allegedly forcefully took back two suspects arrested by the police in connection with the killing a woman on Monday.
Onadeko, who decried the way criminals had taken laws into their hands, disclosed that the impromptu meeting was called because of what had been happening in the state.
According to her, “we need to brainstorm and seek a solution to how we can make Oyo State to be peaceful so that we shun the violence we have been witnessing for the past two, three weeks.
“I’ve come to tell all of us that we need peace in our communities and the state. If there is no peace, we can’t have economic growth or any development.
“Crime has no ethnic boundary or colour. We have good and bad people in all ethnicities.
“What we should do is to come in together and fish out all these criminal elements among us. Let us, partner, together with the police and other security agencies.
“We are in the time of community policing now, let us all come together and work as one entity.
“We should not think of where someone comes from regarding his criminal activities.
“I want to challenge us to sit down, talk and agree with one voice to fight those committing crime and criminality in the society, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, or colour.”
Onadeko said that all the security agencies in Oyo State were working hand in hand, in synergy, and cooperating to make the state safer for all.
“Anyone caught committing all these crimes and criminality, no matter who you are, no matter how high, low or middle-placed you are, we will enforce the laws of the land.
“We will do a thorough investigation, and anybody found wanting will be prosecuted. This will make the carnage and destructions to stop,” she asserted.
The police commissioner however assured that no law enforcement agencies would be after anyone, provided such a person is a law-abiding citizen and doing their legal duties.
“We are only after those people that are committing a crime.
I plead with everyone to let us join hands together and practise community policing.
“In the police force, we promise visibility policing. In every nook and cranny of the state, we will make sure that policemen and women are there, and we will respond promptly to any distress call,” she said.
She also enjoined the people to always give Intelligence-based information, so that the police would be able to nip crimes in the bud.
CP Owoseni, in his remarks, said that the stakeholders’ security meeting had been long overdue.
He described it as a good initiative, adding that it had demonstrated that the new leadership of the police and the other security heads had found it essential.
“They are passing a message that the people sitting back there in the community are actually the government and law enforcement and security agents, not only those wearing the uniform,” Owoseni stated.
He noted that since EndSARS protests, things had been as if there was no government or police again.
“The security challenges we have now, the EndSARS protests have made it to be like there is no government in the country or state again. We should change our mindsets,” the Senior Special Adviser on Security added.
In his contribution, the Serikin Sasa, Alhaji Katsina Maiyasin blamed the Fulani leaders for the incessant kidnapping and armed robbery allegedly being committed by the indigenes.
According to Serikin Sasa, any leader harbouring criminals and not reporting them would be causing Nigeria and himself injuries, upon the ones already being nursed.
“Any Fulani man, whether you are a Seriki, and you say that you don’t know any criminal among your people in your community, then you are a liar.
“I’m challenging them. They should come together and help the state so that we can all live in peace. Where they are now, they don’t have rest of mind. They are being hunted because they are afraid to tell the (security) leaders the truth about those giving problems.
“If they say they don’t know the kidnappers, how do they know how to bail the suspects arrested for kidnapping? When a kidnapper abducts someone, it is the Fulani heads within the area that would go and pay the ransom and bring the victim back home.
“How do they know the person? Who do they speak with? How do they go to the kidnappers? And they are saying they don’t know them (kidnappers)? They are liars; they know them.
“Why don’t they tell the police that this is where the kidnappers are residing? If someone calls himself ‘charge and bail’, then he is a thief.
“There is no Fulani man that will stand with me and say that he doesn’t know the kidnappers or armed robbers within the Fulani.
“The Fulani also kidnap themselves and their heads will be the ones to go and pay the ransom. If you don’t know someone or have anything to do with him, how do you have the boldness to go and meet and discuss with him, and then pay?” the Serikin Sasa queried.
He called on the Fulani to come out and help the people of the state and themselves so that all could live in peace in the state and in Nigeria.
“If a Fulani is arrested during robbery operation or kidnapping, people would be saying that all the Fulani are kidnappers or armed robbers.
“But they are very few among us; only that they are being helped by their leaders. These are the challenges we are facing now in Nigeria,” he added.