Oyo: When a government takes security seriously

IN the forefront of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) code-named Operation Amotekun was the governor of Oyo State, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde. The matter of Amotekun trended for weeks. It has continued to, with the six South-West governors, the arrowheads, receiving accolades from not only Nigerians of Yoruba origin, but also all sections of the country.

The action of the governors highlights the level to which the problem of security has degenerated. But it is not lost on the people of the South-West that some governors are more committed to the security matter than others. There is no gainsaying the fact that Governor Makinde is more than committed to the security of lives and properties in his state.

It is in the light of this that his government is also taking pragmatic steps on other forms of security challenges rearing their heads, not only in Oyo State, but also across the geo-political zone. The latest is the threat posed by the implementation on the ban on commercial motorcycles and tricycles in major roads of Lagos State. Of course, as Lagos government is taking steps to solve a problem (the way it deems necessary), it is not unexpected that problems would be created for other neighbouring states, if their governors are not proactive.

Following the ban of operations of these motorcycles in Lagos, like a few other states, the Oyo State government promptly began to put in place measures to “strictly control the influx and operations of commercial motorcycles in the state.”

According to a statement by the executive chairman of the Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority (OYRTMA), Dr. Akin Fagbemi, the government is “aware of the massive exodus of affected motorcycle operators to Oyo State, which is anticipated. But I assure you that OYRTMA is on top of its game.

“As we earnestly await the position of the state government under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, on the proscription or otherwise of motorcycles within the major highways in the state, it is crucial we get ourselves prepared for what is to come.”

This is the point, Governor Makinde and his team are aware of the dicey nature of the okada business debacle. In one breath, it is the means of livelihood of a teeming number of unemployed youths; in another, it has the potential of aggravating the already threatening insecurity problem on ground.

Thus, Dr Fagbemi is telling the good people of Oyo State that the governor is still consulting on what to do with the menace of okada transportation, instead of taking a decision on the basis of fire brigade approach.

The OYRTMA boss further revealed that though the state is reputed for its hospitality, it would take proactive steps to stop any breach in the security of Oyo State or overstretching of the available infrastructure, adding that the state had put in place measures to have a central database of all commercial cabs, tricycles and motorcycle operators within the state, “so that the identity of all operators and their vehicles is known to government.”

Speaking further, the executive chairman revealed that measures were at advanced stage to kick-start the routing of all commercial cabs, tricycles and motorcycles across the State. This, he said, would enable easy identification in cases of stolen vehicles/commercial motorcycles’ road crashes and operational axis.

Similarly, Dr. Fagbemi said with the support of sister security agencies, OYRTMA would continue with its ‘Special Operation-one-Passenger’ (SOOP), which directs motorcycle operators within the state to carry only one passenger as against the common practice of two or more passengers.

The Statement added that the operation, which started January, 2020, had brought to book with over 200 offenders who are presently facing Mobile Magistrate Courts for legal adjudication and sanctions, if found guilty.

He further urged commercial cab drivers to desist from carrying more than a passenger on their front seats, while he also called on tricycle riders to stop carrying passengers on their front seats.

He stressed that these measures were aimed at reducing road crashes and preserving lives and properties of the good people of Oyo State.

The issue of security in Nigeria today is collective, but where a government takes it up with uncommon fervor, it should be noted that such a government has the well being of the citizens at heart. If the Makinde-led government continues this way, it will etch its time in gold in the history of Oyo State. Makinde’s contribution to the Amotekun issue is not unnoticed by the people of Oyo State. He should not relent on the matter of tackling the fallout of ban on okada and keke in Lagos. History will have a good place in record for his administration.

  • Oladunjoye, a public affairs analyst, writes from Ogbomoso, Oyo State