GOVERNORS from across Nigeria’s southwest geo-political zone have asked the commanders of regional security outfit Amotekun in all six states to operate jointly as from now on in response to the latest herdsmen attack in Oyo State.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the southwest geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Things took an ugly turn for the worse on Saturday night after armed men suspected to be herdsmen carried out a brutal attack on Igangan Community in the Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State. According to the police, 11 people were killed during the attack, while the palace of the Agangan, the community’s monarch was burnt down, as were vehicles and a filling station.
Responding to the attack, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, of Ondo State, the chairman of the South West Governors Forum, said Amotekun commanders in Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states had been asked to meet to fine-tune the new operational arrangement. He described the killings in Iganagan as horrendous, callous and highly provocative, saying all well-meaning Nigerians must condemn it because it is an assault on decency and communal harmony.
Governor Akeredolu added: “They will stop at nothing until their set goal is realised. It is, therefore, incumbent on all lovers of peace and freedom to rise against this current regression into savagery.
“We on our part, are resolved to defend our people, their property and all legitimate means of livelihood against both internal and external aggression. On this, there will be no compromise.
“We call on our people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movement in their communities. In addition, they must be united in the task of defending our lives and properties and we cannot afford to fail.”
This latest bloody attack came less than one week after the chairman of the Oyo State Amotekun Corps, General Ajibola Toogun, hinted that foreign herders had surrounded the southwest geo-political zone with the intention to wreak havoc. Oladokun Oladiran, the convener of the Igangan Development Advocate, disputed the death toll given by the police, putting the figure at 20.
He said the attackers swooped on the community for more than four hours and dismissed the police claim that they repelled the gunmen with the support of local hunters and vigilance group members. Mr Toogun said policemen were not anywhere in sight during the Saturday night/early Sunday morning invasion by the gunmen who arrived on over 20 motorcycles.