By Odunayo Oluwabukola, Ibadan
Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, has solicited for the continuous cooperation and support of the Nigerian Army in protecting the state from banditry, insecurity as illegal mining and other crimes.
The governor made this solicitation on Monday when he received the 46th General Officer Commanding, 2 Mechanised Division, Odogbo Barracks, Ibadan, Major-General Bamidele Alabi, at the courtesy room of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
Governor Makinde, who commended the efforts of the Nigerian Army and other sister security agencies in the state for their cooperation with his administration, said the security agencies had been up to the task in tackling insecurity challenges within and beyond the borders of the state.
The governor added that the unflinching support and dedication to duty being displayed by officers and men of the Army and other security agencies had culminated in the peace and security existing in Oyo State.
He equally commended the synergy among the security agencies, noting that agency rivalry and clash between soldiers and other security agencies and civilians was not being experienced in the state.
The governor, who promised that his government would continue to maintain a cordial relationship with the Nigerian Army, also expressed his gratitude to the Division for its contribution and sacrifice on the ongoing dualisation of 8.3kilometers Akobo-Ojurin/Odogbo Barracks, Olorunda-Aba Junction.
He said: “Let me warmly welcome you on behalf of the good people and government of Oyo State, yourself and the Garrison Commander.”
He added, “at some point, criminals were kidnapping on the Lagos -Ibadan expressway and as a matter of fact, I was afraid about whether we were going to slide into the kind of challenges being experienced on the Abuja-Kaduna Road.
“But under the leadership of our team and the cooperation from the 2 Div, everywhere became calm. Officers and men were mobilised and they were dedicated to the extent that even strangers knew the border between Ogun State and Oyo State and would randomly comment that anytime they entered Oyo State, they felt really calm. This attests to the good work done by the officers and men of 2 Div working jointly with the Operation Burst and other security agencies in the state.”
Governor Makinde, however, called for more support from the Army, noting that its services are needed for surveillance and clearance of forests in the state, especially at the Old Oyo National Park and Saki/Oke-Ogun axis.
“This afternoon, I signed an executive order to protect the state from illegal mining activities, banditry and to look at the environmental issues occasioned by mining activities and we would be coming to you shortly to seek for cooperation and support towards ensuring that the executive order is fully implemented.
“So, we will need the support of the Division to carry out clearance of bushes and some of the things that we want to do especially, within the Old Oyo National Park and the Saki, Oke Ogun axis of the state. So, we look forward to working together,” the governor added.
Earlier in his remarks, the General Officer Commanding, Major-General Alabi, thanked the governor for sustaining the Operation Burst and for the hospitality of people of Oyo State towards the Division.
He explained that the 2 Mechanised Division is a strategic Division of the Nigerian Army with responsibility for seven states under its purview, adding that the Division had been engaging in several security operations with other security agencies to ensure the safety of citizens and the state.
The GOC informed Governor Makinde that the 2 Div has commenced Exercise ‘Still Water,’ which would be conducted in all states in the South West, stating that the exercise is to ensure a peaceful, stable and secure environment for the celebration of festive seasons and ensure that economic activities continue to thrive without panic and fear.