Friday, 1 May 2020

SECURITY LAPSES MAY CREATE SETBACK FOR COVID-19 SUCCESS IN Council Chairmen are facing tough time controlling Kaduna and Zamfara states youth miners' daily arrival into Ijesaland.

By Akintola Akinyele & Oladimeji Lasore

The governor of the State of Osun, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola has been very courageous in his approach to the fight against the spread of corona virus in the state. His determination and resilience in combating this ghastly disease explain so many good things about the governor. And, so far so good, the state remains one of the few States in Nigeria with very low cases and fatalities.

However, we cannot relent yet in the fight to flatten curve of the spread of the disease in the state. This is in view of so many factors which may cause a serious setback against the success recorded so far.

In the last few days, one will observe that the security agencies have not been living up to expectations.

Whereas the lockdown is 24 hours in the state, there is no town or area in the state where this was adhered to as strictly as expected. By 4:30 pm each day, people always troop out unto the streets doing their normal businesses.
In most cases, lockdown breakers are allowed to walk freely about after greasing the palms of the security officials.

In the past few days, the Owena boundary between Ondo and Osun has been so porous and poorly managed by the security agencies. Each day would not pass without cases of Hausas immigrants sneaking into  entire Ijesaland under the disguise that they are here looking for opportunities created by gold deposits in the zone.

Thursday 30th April, 2020, about 45 Hausas from Kaduna and Zamfara states were apprehended by joint efforts of the Local government chairmen, Police, Health officials, some Leaders of APC, some leaders of the resident Hausa communities in Ijesaland, Civil defence, etc.

Aside the security agencies, some traditional rulers in Ijesaland are not helping the matter a bit. Their inordinate desire to enrich themselves through illegal mining operations in Ijesaland has remained the overriding factors mitigating against government efforts at arresting the illegal miners.

It will be recalled that mining operations have been prohibited in Zamfara since 2016, which means there is no justification for any mining operation in Osun state, particularly at this time of social distancing.

The governor will have to get tougher on the security agencies and those traditional rulers who are sabotaging the efforts of the state government in this direction.

The Council Chairmen of Ijesaland must be supported, specially,  morally and financially in the tireless efforts at ensuring water tight surveillance and detection of people who are moving in the most unholy ways into Osun.

At a moment like this, we all must not sleep with our two eyes closed. We must be vigilant and report as promptly as possible any suspected new face within our different communities. We should keep the council chairmen and ward councilors abreast of any strange Hausa man or woman.

Henceforth, any driver aiding the Hausas to sneak into any part of the state, should be arrested and his Goods seized to serve as deterrent.

The state government should find a way  to prosecute any violator of its restrictions.

More photos: (All photos & videos credit, Oladimeji Lasore)

 Local Government health official testing the newly arrived miners

Hon. Otunba Akeem Adesoji Olowoopejobori, Chairman, Ilesa East LG and security operatives at the scene

A leader of Ijesaland Hausa community with Nigeria police Area Commander, and Council chairmen

 The illegal miners being led into buses hired by the buses hired by the Council Chairmen

In the meantime, the State government of Osun has said that the planned deportation of some illegal miners from Zamfara, who sneaked into the State, was a precautionary measure to contain community transmission of the dreadful Coronavirus ravaging the Country and the world at large.

The government further clarified that it was following Presidential directive that banned all interstate travels and movement, stressing that the state's boundaries are currently shut.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode on Thursday in Osogbo.

Mrs. Egbemode who disclosed that the Osun government was taken aback by the misinterpretation of its statement in which it sounded an alarm about the activities of illegal miners in the State and those breaching its orders, said the government recognises the right of every Nigerian to live anywhere within the country but will however act within legal and moral boundaries by returning the illegal miners to their last known addresses.

She noted that the State Government "believes in the unity of the nation but will not hesitate to take actions against those who breach its boundaries and try to jeopardise the health of its people."

She also disclosed that "the State of Osun has shown highest regards to the respective State Governments of the concerned people by attempting to return them to their places rather than prosecuting them under the State's Emergency Regulation.

"Every State in the country is upscaling its security measures in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, and other vices. Zamfara State Government, a few days back, arrested some suspected illegal miners in the State," she said.

Mrs. Egbemode added that "If 'alleged' illegal miners are abhorred in Zamfara, why then should the State of Osun be crucified for being safety conscious?"

Furthermore, the Commissioner noted that the government being responsible and responsive places premium on the health and safety of its people, and will continue to do everything within its power to protect its citizenry.

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