Some residents of Oyo town in Oyo state say they have resolved to employ the services of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) to protect them from armed robbers.
In a statement issued by Hassan Adebayo, Oyo Global Forum (OGF) general secretary, on Wednesday, the socio-cultural group said the people of the town had no option but to resort to self-help since the police had failed to do their job.
It also condemned the spate robbery attacks in the town.
“The leadership of Oyo Global Forum condemns in very strong terms the spate of robbery attacks on various neighbourhoods in Oyo town, and hereby expresses grave concern about the problem that started few weeks ago. The robbers operate unhindered, raising worries about the competence, capability and commitment of the police formations in Oyo. In fact, victims at various locations separately said police operatives did arrive hours after havoc had been wreaked. This, then, has caused growing negative sentiments among residents,” the statement read.
“OGF therefore calls on security operatives not to help entrench a perception of incapability by committing themselves to the duty of securing our people and their properties. As a civic group, our representatives will meet with security heads to explore – and how we can support – ways of combating the attacks which now have our people to live in fear.
“However, we feel compelled to, within the limits of the law of the land, resort to self-help in the meantime. We are collaborating with vigilante groups/OPC to help secure neighbourhoods within Oyo. We will provide logistical needs, including vehicles, for this operation prompted by the urgent need to ensure our people and their properties are safe. We intend to mobilise the community, especially those with means, towards the end of contributing to this effort.”
The group also called on traditional and political authorities “to act decisively and offer leadership at this critical period”.
“As stakeholders, we should work together by all lawful means to stop the robbers and other criminal tendencies in the short term; and in the long term, build a society that is peaceful, free, open, just, decent and conducive for socio-economic progress,” it said.
“There is evident link between the criminal activities in Oyo and the unfortunate and disgraceful situation whereby persons in positions of public responsibility arm and fund gangs of thugs for narrow ends. In fact, the current spate of robbery started just in the wake of the release from prison of ‘Agbara Iseke’, whose incarceration followed our efforts during the December 2015/January 2016 Save Oyo campaign. So, what we face today is a consequence of choices made by our leaders and they should come forward now to end the problem they caused.”
Source: The Cable