Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, on Wednesday, alleged that armed terrorists now occupy Kishi, which shares a boundary with Ibariba in North-West of Oyo State, as well as the vast Old Oyo National Park, warning that recent development posed a great danger to the security of the entire South-West zone.
This was just as he disclosed that he alerted the Oyo State government and other relevant security agencies of the development, promising to mobilise support if called upon to complement the efforts of the security agencies and ensure effective security and safety of the area.
Iba Adams raised the alarm in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos by his Special Assistant (SA) on Media, Mr Kehinde Aderemi, disclosing that the armed groups had, in the past few days, engaged in kidnapping of locals apart from threatening their livelihood and access to forest resources.
According to the Aare Ona Kakanfo, numerous reports at his disposal indicate that children, the aged and women are the most hit by the violent activities of the armed groups, saying he owed it a duty to alert the public and also the relevant authorities to the sad development.
“I have received numerous reports from Kishi, North West of Oyo State. The reports range from ceaseless kidnapping, rape and threat to lives of Yoruba people in the Oke Ogun area with Kishi as the present hub of terrorist attacks. It’s my responsibility to alert the public and also the relevant authorities,” he said.
Iba Adams, while expressing worries that the region was gradually becoming a haven for bandits and terrorists masquerading as herdsmen, warned that the situation must be nipped in the bud to prevent the South-West taking after the ignoble part of the North-East and the North-West areas of Nigeria where violence had taken firm root.
He further warned that what appeared like the gathering of armed groups in the area would affect the stability of the entire South-West region due to the fact that Oyo State has the largest landmass in Yorubaland with an area of 28,454 square kilometres and listed as the14th by size among the 36 states of the Federation.
Besides, he argued that possible occupation of Oyo State by terrorists would strengthen their infiltration of the entire South-West, saying the particular area in the state “retains a traditional route that links Sokoto State and also borders Ogun State, South of Kwara State and the Republic of Benin and in the East by Osun State.”
According to him, the particular area being occupied harbours the Oyo Park which is 2,512 km2 of land covering Northern Oyo at latitude 8° 15’ and 9° 00’N and longitude 3° 35’ and 4° 42’ E which stretches to Kwara State, describing the occupation by armed groups as an assault on Yoruba heritage and civilisation, as “that part of the forest host the sacred tabernacle of ancient Yoruba Alaafins whose graves were located in parts of the forest.”
“I have confirmed intelligence reports that the historic Kishi town has been ravaged by terrorists.
“Killing and kidnapping of over a hundred people are frightening and worrisome,” Iba Adams said.
Speaking further, the Aare Ona Kakanfo recalled that he had raised the alarm for the second time in two weeks, describing the recent intelligence recent at his disposal as too frightening and, therefore, the need to react to “these senseless killings because of the timing and exigencies.”
“The records are there. The recent Intelligence report from Kishi is too frightening because terrorists have taken over the area, with the number of victims growing by the day. We need to react to these senseless killings because of the timing and exigencies.
“I have sent the report to the Oyo state governor, Engnr. Seyi Makinde. I have also alerted the Director-General of Amotekun in Oyo State. I have also informed the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, through a message to Alaafin’s Personal Assistant, and I have informed the Okere of Saki,” he said.
Adams said he took the step to enable all those concerned about the security situation in the area to respond decisively, recalling that the Aare in Council had earlier, at its recent meeting, raised the alarm about the security situation in the region, while expressing worry that the Federal Government had failed to address the various security challenges in the area.
“The Aare in Council had earlier raised the alarm on the infiltration of terrorists and killer Fulani herdsmen in the region.
“The council said over 500 power bikes and assorted armour belonging to the terrorists have been physically sighted along the abandoned Lusada route moving towards Sokoto, from Igbo Ora in Oyo State,” he recalled.
Adams, however, urged all Yoruba sons and daughters in the South-West and beyond not to relent in their efforts in providing necessary information that was capable of exposing the terrorists, assuring that he would surely channel the information to the appropriate quarters.
“With the present situation, I think there is an urgent need for the state government to address the spate of insecurity in the area.
“We are ready to support the government in keeping the terrorists at bay. With the approval of the Oyo State government and other relevant security agencies, I can mobilize the South-West Security Stakeholders Group (SSSG) comprising the Oodua People’s Congress, Vigilante Group, South-West Hunters Association, Yoruba Youth Council, Agbekoya Farmers Society Group and Agbekoya Group to complement the efforts of the security agencies and ensure effective security and safety of the area by flushing out the criminal elements and terrorists that are invading our reserve forest and old Oyo National Park which is our heritage in the South-West,” he assured.