The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission on Sunday hailed governors in the region for coming together to hold a security summit as a strategy to combat the growing insecurity challenge in Yorubaland.
The Director General of the DAWN commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, in a press statement said with the summit, incidents of kidnapping and other security challenges in the region would soon come to an end, judging by the commitment of the governors.
The commission has been mandated by governors in the region to organise the security summit which is expected to hold by end of June.
The commission, which condemned the threat to lives and property of people in the region, said the commission was “averse to the spate of robberies and abductions on our roads and highways and economic sabotage by trespassers on farmlands in the region.”
The commission expressed support for the efforts of the Federal Government and state governors to cooperate in addressing the problem.
“DAWN Commission supports all efforts by state and federal authorities and the international community to ensure the protection of people in these areas and appeals to relevant authorities not to relent in their efforts at ensuring that perpetrators and those directly or indirectly responsible for these crimes capable of disrupting the peace of the region face justice and are held accountable for their crimes,” the statement said.
Encouraging residents not to entertain fear, the commission insisted that the region was not in crisis, pointing out that the situation was mostly exaggerated.
“DAWN also appeals to the general public that contrary to the alarmist, exaggerated and sometimes misrepresentation of facts by mischievous elements on social media and other fora, Western Nigeria largely remains peaceful, safe, welcoming and harmonious to all law abiding people and not in a state of crisis,” it added.
The commission also called on influential leaders in the region to exercise restraints in their comments in order not to aggravate the current situation.
It promised to sustain its efforts in mobilising stakeholders and providing the framework for regional development.
Meanwhile, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, on Sunday, condemned the South-West governors and their Development Agenda for Western Nigeria commission for saying that herdsmen’s attacks in the region were false and leaders should not spread “unfounded and unsubstantiated messages and incitements.”
The Afenifere said the abduction of an Obafemi Awolowo University professor by herdsmen, the rape of a Yoruba lady by bandits for six days and the fear of people to travel on most roads in the region confirmed that all was not well.
The South-West governors had met on Friday in Asokoro, Abuja, for a special security meeting, saying the DAWN commission was directed to coordinate a summit aimed at promoting regional development agenda.
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who emerged as the chairman of the South-West governors, had said the commission would also look at stemming the tide of banditry, kidnapping and insecurity in the region and look for national responses.
Afenifere, in a release by its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said on Sunday, while referring to the DAWN Commission’s report, that it was sad if DAWN represented the views of “our governors in the midst of the monumental tragedy that has befallen our people in the hands of invading marauders.”
The group said, “Afenifere welcomes the decision of South-West governors to do something over the siege on Yorubaland by Fulani herdsmen and militia. The situation has degenerated to the point that our people are now afraid to travel on most of the roads in the zone as their safety cannot be guaranteed.”