According to a report by The PUNCH, the police and Amotekun Corps in Ekiti and Osun states have said they will intensify efforts at combing the bushes and forests in the state to ensure the rural areas, as well as the cities, are free of killer herdsmen and other criminals.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, Sunday Abutu, said, “The issue of combing the forests has been on for a long time by the operatives of the command. Our men have been combing the bushes and forests and it will continue.
“There have been successes, a lot of breakthroughs. We hope that more will come. We have been able to dislodge some criminals from their hideouts and most of them are on the run and we keep chasing them in a bid to ensure the state is safe.”
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Security Matters, Brig.-Gen. Ebenezer Ogundana, said operatives of Amotekun and other security agencies were watching the state borders.
Ogundana said, “We have our own contingency plan. We have an additional outfit, Operation Flush, which sees to what is happening in the forests and the highways.
“We don’t have killer herdsmen or arms-bearing herders in our forests for now. We are going round all our forests. Anybody that knows where they are in the forests should alert us. We have not got any call from anywhere.”
The Commander, Ekiti Amotekun Corps, Brig.-Gen. Joe Komolafe, who corroborated him, said operatives of the security agency were working round to ensure the forests and other parts of the state are consistently free of killers.
Komolafe said, “We are monitoring all the forests. We are carrying out patrols and monitoring of events. We liaise with the Amotekun Corps in Ondo and Osun states, so that we can have early movement. We also collaborate with traditional rulers across the state to let us know if they have seen any strange face or movement in the bush.”
Meanwhile, the Osun State Government said it deployed security operatives to rid the state of criminal elements using the forests as a cover to perpetrate crimes.
The Field Commandant, Osun Amotekun Corps, Brig.-Gen. Bashir Adewinbi (retd), in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, noted that though the officers were not after a particular tribe, Amotekun operatives alongside men of the Joint Task Force had been deployed to the forests along Osun/Ekiti and Osun/Ondo borders.
Warning criminal elements not to test the Osun government’s resolve to deal decisively with any form of criminality, Adewinbi added that the forests across the state would be made safer after the operation.
He said, “As a matter of fact, we are not after any particular tribe. We are after all criminals hiding in forests in Osun. We are not looking for any particular ethnic group. We are prepared to ensure that the forests are safe. We have deployed to Osun/Ekiti and Osun/Ondo borders.”
In a related development, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Olabode Adetoyi, on Friday, said preparation for the registration of herdsmen in the state was in top gear to put necessary things in place before the launch of the exercise.
Adetoyi, who noted that the registration would begin in earnest in two weeks, explained that part of the preparation was the ongoing sensitisation of the herders, farmers and the village heads.
He said, “The preparation is in top gear. We have to put all necessary things in place, identifying all the centres, demarcating the places, identifying the areas that are vulnerable in the farms and centres, as well as mapping out strategies.
“In the next two weeks or so, the actual registration will begin. But we are embarking on sensitisation now among the village heads and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.”