The Lagos State Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Alhaji Mutairu Adesina, has lampooned the National President of the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria, Isah Abubakar, over his comments on the new security initiative inaugurated by the six South West governors on Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Speaking a few hours after the inauguration of the security architecture, Abubakar kicked against the formation of the security outfit, describing it as a military wing of the OPC.
But in a swift reaction, the Lagos State Coordinator described the group’s comment as inciting and capable of causing unnecessary tension in the country.
Adesina said: “It is sad that such inciting comments could come from a leader of a group in the North. However, I need to react to this uncomplimentary statement that is capable of causing unnecessary tension in the country. It shows that the group is one of the sponsors of this suspected herdsmen that killed our people and destroyed our farms.
“Where was Alhaji Isah Abubakar of NYCN when gunmen and suspected herdsmen invaded our farms and communities, kidnapped and killed our people in the South West? Where was he?
“Since its inception in1994, OPC has never been found wanting. None of our members has been caught or arrested for kidnapping, destroying or killing other people. The records are there for everybody to see. OPC has always been complementing the efforts of the Nigerian police on safety and security issues. We are not criminals, marauders or kidnappers.
“We have been carrying out our duties as purely a socio-cultural group with Olokun Festival Foundation, promoting our cultural heritage and traditions.
“We have structure in 30 states of the country and our members are scattered across the state doing their legitimate businesses.
“So, why is Abubakar referring to us as militants? However, I am happy that we are beginning to see them, the enemies of our nation, and region. It only shows that the Northern groups are afraid of us because they know for sure that OPC is the only group that can curtail their nefarious activities.
“The issue of security is sensitive because it is between life and death and now that our governors had risen to the occasion with the launch of Amotekun, why is this group crying over a spilled milk?”
Explaining the rationale behind the move, Adesina said though the inauguration of Amotekun was long overdue, it was a timely response to the myriads of security challenges that have been threatening the peace and tranquility of the region.
He said: “For instance, there is Hisbah in Kano and Civilian Joint Task Force that complements the efforts of the police and military in Borno, eight states in Middle Belt formed the G8. So why is NYCN raising issues where there was none?
“In the last four years, we have a record of over 200 people across the South West that have been killed by these criminal herdsmen.
“Over 400 people have also been kidnapped and released after paying ransom. So, why is this unnecessary brouhaha over operation Amotekun?
“This group should be warned because from what transpired between yesterday and today, there are indications that some elements from the North are feeling uncomfortable with whatever progress we are making in the west and that is too dangerous for our polity.
“Three days ago, there were reports of attacks in some part of Ondo. Stories of attacks have been unprecedented in the South West and nobody cares.
“A situation whereby an unknown group in the north described Operation Amotekun, a new initiative and structure from the western Nigeria as a military wing of the OPC is not only inciting, but it is also sad.”
Adesina admonished the group to stay off from comments that can lead to tribal wars because such was unsavoury.
The OPC Lagos State Coordinator also applauded the efforts of the governors and other stakeholders, especially the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland and National Coordinator of the group, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, for throwing their weight behind the move, stressing the need to fast track the processes of implementing the new initiative.
He said: “I want thank our leader, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, and other stakeholders for standing firm to ensure that the inauguration of Amotekun became a reality. I am also using this opportunity to assure all other groups in Lagos and other states in the South West of their safety and security, irrespective of their tribes or religions. OPC will continue to offer adequate security to all residents.
“NYCN should stop making comment and advising the Security Advisers against the governors. The governors are the number one Chief Security Officers of their respective states and it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of the citizens of the states, irrespective of tribes and religions. That is why they have been elected.”