THE Ogun and Oyo state governments will this week deploy drones to tackle incidences of kidnapping on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, stated this on Tuesday when the management of Leadership Newspapers paid him a visit in his office.
Governor Abiodun said his administration would neutralise kidnappers abducting people on the expressway, particularly on the Ogun section of the highway.
The governor added that the state, in conjunction with Oyo, had set up a joint security team to beef up security on the expressway.
He further informed the management of the Abuja-based newspaper that visited him to inform him of his nomination as the newspaper’s Governor of the Year, that the synergy with Oyo State is meant to ensure that the flash points between Lagos and Oyo states are well covered by security teams. He said over 30 patrol teams have been formed between Oyo and Ogun states to tackle issues of kidnapping on the expressway, just as he added that the two state governments have gone ahead to clear the bushes on both sides of the road.
He said: “We set up a joint security team with the Oyo State government because we found out that the majority of these incidences are right at the boundary between us and Oyo State; they [hoodlums] take advantage of that area as a blind spot.
“As we speak today, I think, there are not less than 30 patrol teams on that corridor of Lagos-Ibadan expressway. These teams comprise soldiers, policemen, operatives from the DSS, men of the Civil Defence and vigilantes.
“The last thing we want is for people to travel with the fear of being kidnapped and nothing can be more terrible as we approach the Yuletide season.
“We’ve also gone ahead and cleared both sides of the road, because of that element of surprise that they introduce when they just jump out of the bushes and then kidnap and run away, so, we have approached our contractors to clear 50 metres on each side so it makes it difficult for them to use the bushes to hide.”
The state helmsman, who disclosed that drones would be deployed to cover the road, explained that the drones would aid security agents to monitor and see the activities in the area.
“We are going beyond deployment of security teams; we are deploying drones to cover that road. These are drones that will allow us to see exactly what is happening there even before any occurrence,” he stated.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of Leadership Newspapers, Zainab Nda-Isaiah, represented by the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, Azubuike Ishiekwene, disclosed that the governor was nominated for the honour after the newspaper conducted an independent investigation on his activities.
He said: “On behalf of the chairman, Mrs Zainab Nda-Isaiah, we present to His Excellency the award of the ‘Leadership Governor of the Year, 2022’
“Once every year, the board will meet and determine without consulting anybody. And before Leadership chooses you as the Governor of the Year, we don’t call you or any member of your team. We send people out, we do our research, we do it as a matter of conscience and duty to the society,” he said.
While noting that Governor Abiodun was the first governor from the state to be so awarded since the award started 14 years ago, he noted that the governor in the face of extreme provocation had remained calm and focused.
“His Excellency will be the first Governor in Ogun State to be awarded Leadership Governor of the Year. Outside Lagos, you are the second in the southwest to be awarded Leadership Governor of the Year.
“We regard you not as a professional politician, but as a professional in politics and we have seen clearly from your term of office in the last three and half years. Accounts have shown in the things you have done; in the face of extreme provocation, you have remained calm and focused,” he said.
Ishiekwene who added that they looked for a serving governor whose programmes have been consequential in the lives of the community with a relatively transparent public service record, said that the newspaper had seen the difference Governor Abiodun had made in the lives of the people of the state.
“The criteria is simple, we look for a serving governor whose programmes have been consequential in the lives of the community, relatively transparent public service record and has a proven interest in business. That for us is at the heart of who gets awarded and who does not get awarded.
“We have watched on all the things you have set to achieve, we have seen the difference that you have made in the lives of the people in the 20 local government areas of the state,” he submitted.