Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has declared his government’s resolve to end kidnapping and insecurity in the state by working in close concert with all security agencies.
The governor, who was on a trip to the United States, resumed duty on Wednesday barring the odds and protocols of COVID-19.
At a press briefing held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, he said the safety and security of all residents of the state remained a top priority to his government, stressing that his administration would not relent in tackling the menace of kidnapping, insecurity etc.
Governor Makinde lauded the security agencies for their efforts and disclosed that the government would launch a security information channel in the state for a free flow of information.
He added that the administration would implement the N500 million MSME fund and employ 5,000 young persons into government agencies as well as engage some youths into direct labour schemes to tackle youth restiveness in the state.
Makinde said, “The safety and security of all residents of Oyo State remain our top priority. We will continue to work relentlessly to tackle cases of kidnapping and insecurity in our state. We are also putting in place other policies to address insecurity, especially with regards to youth restiveness.
“Last year, after the #EndSARS protests, we talked about three things that we will be doing to reduce youth unemployment and improve the security situation in the state. We talked about the N500 million MSME fund, employment opportunities for 5,000 young persons across all government agencies and the provision for the direct labour agency. Now, we have put the schemes in this year’s budget.”
The governor, who noted that some individuals who want Amotekun to fail had been assailing it with misinformation and fake news, restated the importance of the community policing model in solving the insecurity and kidnapping challenge in the country.
Makinde said, “Amotekun is not operating in a vacuum. They are a creation of the law of the state. The Nigerian Police is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is normal that we have inter and intra agency friction where possible, but we will get everybody together and seek alignment towards the same end.”
“For the past six weeks that the Amotekun was deployed, we have seen various reports in the news. Most of these reports are good and a few are bad. And of the bad, quite a number are false information and fake news. For example, some newspapers carried the news that Amotekun killed 7 fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa. Such a story was circulated to stoke ethnic tension,” Mr Makinde added.
On the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Makinde said available data to the state are not showing a second wave of the virus. He said the state tested about 20,000 samples of people who were mostly sick or had direct contact with those who had the virus between March and December 2020 with about 3,000 testing positive.
He added that the state equally conducted about 14,000 tests on people, including those not showing any symptom based on the NCDC guidelines between early December and January 2021 and that 696 tested positive.
With more than 34,000 COVID-19 tests conducted so far, Mr Makinde said, “I have always said that all our responses to COVID-19 in Oyo State will be guided by data, science and logic. So, as far as Oyo State is concerned, the data we have is not pointing to a second wave as the curve was never flattened.
“The data says COVID-19 is still very much with us. Science is telling us that we can slow down the spread by taking precautions. So, the logical thing to do is to follow what science dictates. We know how difficult the year 2020 was for a lot of us. So, logically, we should not do things that will make the situation worse. This is not the time to let down our guard. If anything, we should not take any of the precautions lightly. In the last month, we have unfortunately had eight deaths.”
On the issue of COVID-19 vaccines, the governor stated that the 1,800 vaccines allocated to the state by the Federal Government are inadequate, stating that the state will engage manufacturers of Astra-Zeneca Vaccines when finally certified fit for human consumption.
“On the issue of vaccines, the Federal Government, from what we read, has allocated 1,800 vaccines for Oyo State. First, in Oyo State, we don’t have a facility to store at minus 70 centigrade. Again, this number is grossly inadequate. If you want to vaccinate 100,000 people out of a population of almost 200 million, it is not going to make any dent. And Oyo State, which is a population of between 7-12million, 1,800 vaccines are not going to go anywhere. So, we are exploring other means of getting these vaccines to our people.”
By Akin Aboluwade