Governments of Oyo and Kwara States have agreed to set up a joint committee to address the challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 13 villages of Kwara State, following skirmishes in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State recently.
The joint team is to work out modalities on how the two states could mutually address the situation and surmount security challenges within their territories and to also seek alignments and collaboration on economic and security fronts.
A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, indicated that the governors announced the position while briefing newsmen at the end of a closed-door security meeting held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.
The meeting had in attendance Governor Makinde and his Kwara State counterpart, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, as well as service commanders from the two states, including the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General A.B. Omozoje, the Commissioners of Police of Oyo and Kwara states commands, among others.
Also in attendance at the meeting were major traditional rulers from Kwara as well as some members of the cabinet of both states.
Speaking shortly after the closed-door session, Makinde, who spoke on behalf of the two governors, appreciated the efforts of the security agencies in the two states, charging them to deepen their intelligence-gathering efforts with a view to dealing more decisively with the security challenges facing the country.
According to Governor Makinde, the meeting was necessitated by the urgent need to work together and to look at the security challenges in the states and come up with solutions, especially as it regarded movement of some residents of Oyo State into Kwara, following threats in parts of Ibarapa.
According to Makinde, the actions of non-state actors who tried to spread hatred, had led to a number of residents of the state moving into Kwara and constituting a challenge to the state, a situation which he said would be jointly addressed by the two states.
He explained that leaders in the country, most especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, must speak with one voice and be firm in dealing with the security challenges that the country is facing currently.
He said: “We had a joint security meeting. We appreciated the efforts of our security agencies and thanked them for the work they are doing in our country and we encouraged them to do more.
“We also acknowledged the fact that non-state actors are getting the upper hand in communicating and spreading hatred within our country. So, we asked that our leaders must speak with one voice, especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. We have to be firm and decisive in dealing with the security challenges we are currently faced with.
“We have also taken notice of the fact that our intelligence-gathering efforts have to be deepened. Considering some of the situations we have been faced with recently, we have had to react instead of being able to act before those things occur, due to some intelligence failure.”
Governor Makinde equally called on the traditional rulers in Oyo and Kwara States to come together and exchange information and ideas on how to surmount the security challenges.
He said: “Also, traditional rulers on both sides of the boundaries, between Oyo and Kwara States, will be encouraged to come together in unity and exchange information.
“In that manner, our intelligence agencies will be able to proactively deal with the situation rather than being reactive.”
The governor added that the meeting agreed that there was the need for a working relationship between the two states and that the states will announce the members of the joint team in a matter of days.
He stated: “We agreed that a more detailed working team is to be set up between Oyo and Kwara states. We know that the issues to be addressed have wider national ramifications.
“Yes, they asked somebody to leave Igangan and that has created issues in Kwara State, where Internally Displaced Persons are now spread over 13 villages and seven local government areas in the state, with its attendant challenges of maintenance of those individuals.
“We believe that the working team to be set up should be able to dispassionately look at those challenges and come up with solutions, which my brother-governor and I will be able to look at and solve.”
He also assured that Oyo State would take advantage of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which, according to him, is already being implemented in Kwara State, with a view to further collaborating on the economic and security levels.
“Also, the National Livestock Transformation plan is currently not implemented in Oyo State but Kwara State has started its implementation over a year ago. So, we believe that there is lateral learning that Oyo State will be able to take advantage of and this should lead to further collaboration on the economic and security levels. So, that is what we have discussed so far.
“I believe in the days ahead, probably within the next couple of days, we should be able to disclose to the public the members of this working team between Oyo and Kwara States. And in the weeks ahead, we will also be taking recommendations from them for implementation.”