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Oyo Govt Seeks Deeper Commitment Of Religious, Traditional Leaders On Peaceful Co-existence

Oyo State government has called upon religious and traditional leaders to play a more proactive role in promoting peaceful coexistence among various faiths in the state with a view to engender harmonious living and social justice.

This appeal comes as stakeholders gather in Ibadan to strategize on charting a new course towards sustainable peace in the state.

The initiative, spearheaded by the Special Assistant on Interfaith Matters to the governor of Oyo state, Reverend Femi Ibikunle, was the grand finale of the statewide tour to the 33 Local Government areas to promote peace and unity among all religions in the state.

The Executive Assistant on Security Matters to the state governor, Retired Commissioner of Police, Sunday Odukoya commended stakeholders for their support and cooperation with the present administration stressing however, that more work still needed to be done.

He emphasized the importance and significance of collective efforts towards a common goal particularly in the present administration’s efforts in maintaining peaceful coexistence and tranquility in the state.

Odukoya highlighted Makinde’s efforts and commitments to security of lives and property of all residents of the state as well as strategies deployed in curbing crime including the creation of Amotekun Corps which has enhanced security architecture as complimentary efforts to the mainstream security agencies in the state.

While noting that government alone could not achieve the desired public peace without the full cooperation and support of stakeholders, he listed some of the measures put in place by the Makinde led government also include procurement of security vehicles and communication gadgets for all the security agencies towards effective policing and communication in the fight against crime and criminality.

Lamenting complicity with criminal elements by some members of various communities, Odukoya described such acts as not only frustrating government’s efforts in its fight against crime but also encourage criminality, warning that such persons if caught, would be made to face the law.

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He also lamented how some religious leaders aid criminal elements especially young people with charms and spiritual fortifications to go into crime. He wondered how parents whose children and wards had no prior history of family wealth or long years of work could live in affluence without their parents reprimanding them or reporting such to the authorities.

He noted that cultism has degenerated in the society to even primary school levels due to secret backings they get from some religious leaders who are expected to instill disciplined and expose criminal elements in their various communities.

He also cited the example of criminal elements masquerading as Oodua nation agitators recently invaded the state government Secretariat to perpetrate crime thinking it was a just course, assuring that no perpetrators of crime and their complicits would be spared by the law regardless of their status in the society.

He added that Governor Makinde has expended so much funds in combating crime in the state being one of the pillars upon which his government was built. He explained that such efforts have helped the state flush out criminal elements hibernating inside the forests through effective collaboration with the Nigeria Air For (NAF) and other security agencies.

Odukoya said, Governor Makinde has mandated all the 33 Local Government Executive Chairmen to hold security Council meeting with stakeholders at least twice every month in their various domain noting that the directive was part of the governor’s commitment to lasting peace, security of lives and properties of all residents of the state.

He mentioned the new move by the governor to bring permanent Airforce base to the state in Ajia, Ona-ara local government among other notable efforts geared towards bolstering security of the state, stressing the importance of stakeholders cooperation with the government.

He also disclosed that many residents don’t know that there are cameras all around Ibadan metropolis capturing public activities such that criminal elements can not escape after committing crime, maintaining that such investment exemplifies how critical security means to the governor.

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Earlier in his welcome address, Rev Ibikunle expressed the state government readiness to intensify its engagement with local leaders and communities to implement the peace and security initiatives effectively by empowering religious and traditional leaders as agents of peace.

He said one of the key recommendations contained in the communique after the statewide tour is for all the 33 LG Chairmen must constitute an Interfaith Council for mediation, reconciliation and religious harmonization at the grassroots in order to achieve the bottom-top solution to sustainable peace.

Baale Aboderin from Idi-Ayunre, Oluyole local government lauded the collaborative efforts on security particularly around boundary area between oyo and Ogun state.

While particularly lamenting the role of some security personnel who frustrate efforts of the communities in curbing crime when they raise alarm by being accomplices of criminal elements through collection of bribes, the traditional ruler called on government to contain activities of land grabbers in the state stressing that the havoc caused by them are unbearable when forcing property owners and developers part ways with valuables before they could develop their properties.

He mentioned an incident that happened around Kobomoje area with regards to two warring groups and the havoc they’ve caused.

Odukoya’s also stated that the governor has established anti land grabbing agency in the state to effectively combat the menace of land grabbers noting that anybody with complaint should not engage in violence but approach the agency and leave the rest to government.

He maintained that governor Seyi Makinde has consistently committed resources into various empowerment of youths via skill acquisition schemes and initiatives stressing that those still on the streets are the youths who have deliberately refused to align with government’s plan for them because of the streetife they have chosen.

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In their seperate, other stakeholders commemded governor Seyi Makinde for his leadership style and the sectoral developments that permeate the state’s scoio-economic landscape saying the people would have handed him another mandate if the Constitution had permitted a 3rd term of office.

They however, called on government to caution religious leaders from derogatory statements against each other’s faiths in their teachings to their followers while trying to gain popularity. They also noted that the campaign tagged “say something when people see something” can only be encouraged by government when there are no accomplices to frustrate those trying raise alarm in the community.

Stakeholders equally called on the state government to caution LG Chairmen against biased treatments based on their faiths saying such acts which had lingered for long at the grassroots level has caused serious division and disaffection among various religious bodies and their followers.

They appealed to government to stem the menace of cultism among secondary school students and their violence tendencies as it is already growing at an alarming rate in recent times. They also called for inclusion of Mogaji’s and Baales on such meeting for all stakeholders to be on the same page.

Highlight of the meeting was the test case of the 615 emergency security number and how seamless it works.

Present at the event are the Deputy Chief Imam of Government House Mosque, Alhaji Azeez Alowonle, CAN Chairman in Ibadanland comprising all the 11 local government areas, Rev. Titus Olugbenga Morakinyo, Government House Chaplain represented by his deputy, Pastor Folayemi Akanmu, SA Political to the governor represented by Deji Ola, Araba Oluawo of Ibadanland.

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