Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, on Friday inaugurated the new Board of Trustees for the state’s Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF), even as he declared war on criminal elements in the state.
The board, headed by the Deputy Governor, Operations, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Bayo Adelabu, was inaugurated at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office, with a mandate to reinvigorate the security outfit.
The governor had also inaugurated the newly reconstituted state’s Joint Security Task Force, codenamed `Operation Burst,’ at Idi-Arere, which is considered one of the hot spots in the city of Ibadan, on Friday.
Members of the OYSSTF include the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan; a member of the Olubadan-in-Council, High Chief Abiodun Kola-Daisi; Dr. Adesola Adeduntan; Dr. Falil Ayo-Abina; Engr. Femi Odumagbo; and Mr. Vickram Goushani.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Mr. Femi Oyedipe, will serve as Executive Secretary of the board. Ajimobi described the two occasions as a milestone in his administration’s efforts at stamping out all forms of brigandage and violent activities, which, he said, had earned the state the appellation of a garrison before the advent of his administration.
He said: “Before our administration came on board in 2011, Oyo State used to be known as a garrison, because of the violence, arson, brigandage and destruction of property being carried out by criminals.
“This led to the establishment of a Security Trust Fund and ‘Operation Burst’ in 2013 which eventually brought peace back to the state. We were then able to stem the tide of armed robbery, gangsterism and other vices with this instrument of the law. “We have now fortified the ‘Operation Burst’ with officers and men of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Special Response Squad of the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to renew the people’s confidence in the capacity and capability of the outfit.”
While inaugurating the 20 new patrol vans donated to the state by the OYSSTF at Idi-Arere, the governor promised that other arms and ammunition required to fight crimes and criminal activities to a standstill would be made readily available to the security outfit.
He charged members of the board to apply the Trust Fund law recently amended by the state House of Assembly towards the sustenance of peace, saying the law had paved the way for private sector involvement.
The governor, who emphasized that security was a serious business that involved the participation of all and sundry as well as sustained funding, called for a robust data base and public-private partnership.
Ajimobi said that arrangements were being made for the installation of Closed Circuit Television cameras in strategic areas and a base station where people could call in for emergencies as well as acquisition of aerial patrol helicopter.
He added, “We have come to knock on the doors of brigands to flush them out. We decided to choose this location (Idi-Arere) for this occasion because it is generally believed to be the hot spot of criminal activities in the city of Ibadan.
“With this development therefore, `One million Boys’ should be on the run! There is no more a safe haven for criminals and perpetuators of violence in our state.” In his remark, Adelabu said that a sustainable funding for security was imperative, adding that nothing meaningful could be achieved in an atmosphere of insecurity and chaos.
He commended the Ajimobi administration for restoring sanity to the state after a long period of violence and brigandage preceding his emergence.
Adelabu pledged his members’ readiness to assist government in raising funds through voluntary donations by individuals, groups and corporate bodies.
He said: “The attainment of peace and tranquility is commendable. But, the greater challenge is its sustainability until it becomes our way of life and permanent identity in Oyo State.
“Security has no colour; it transcends party politics; it goes beyond religious affiliation; it does not recognize economic status; it is blind to ethnic affiliation and it ignores the age of victims.
“The uncommon strides of the present administration should, therefore, be commended for eradicating insecurity in Oyo State.”
It will be recalled that the national bureau of statistics recently listed Oyo State alongside Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory as the most investor-friendly destinations in the country due to the sustained peace in the states. The twin occasions were graced by eminent personalities, security chiefs, traditional rulers, captains of industry, members of the State Executive Council and members of the public.