By Oni Gbolabo
With great sense of displeasure I express my hard feelings on the Security Meeting held today 21st of May, 2019 at Zenabab Hotel, Ilesha. First, I appreciate the initiative because it is evident that the Government of Osun State is conscious of the current threatening security problem.
However, I will state it clearly that having consciousness does not translate to understanding the enormity of the problem because what was discussed today at the open meeting, points to the fact that the organizers are miles away from solutions. The organizers of are devoid of clear cut objectives. The anchors of the programme mentioned Strategic Solution as the core purpose of the gathering. Alas, it was a ruse and subterfuge based on what happened here today. I did not see any evidence to substantiate the claim.
The gathering was nothing but appealing to gallery, to make political statements. It may sound pessimistic, but this is the truth. I find rather it hard to define the purpose of the gathering as it centers only on miners. They accused them of destroying our lands, evading tax and stockpiling weapons. I concluded that the gathering was basically on how to control miners for revenue purposes.
They refused to dwell on Boko Haram and ISIS that are gradually multiplying and migrating to the southwest that may lead to increased kidnapping and banditry. To those who may not have a clearer pictureof issues at hand, illegal mining had been going on from time immemorial before Boko Haram and ISIS infiltrated and undermined the security architechture with sophisticated weapons.
I was shocked when a young Hausa man was trying to mislead the gathering that they are making efforts so that the kidnappers will not infiltrate their fold. He gleefully told the gathering he has spent over 8 million naira to do biometric capturing of all laborers working at the mines.
I almost fainted. How could a private citizen boast of having biometrics of some citizens without the knowledge of the state? Osun state doesn’t have her citizens’ biometrics but a young man claimed to have it. One day we shall be consulting the Hausa young man for data..!.
I am so bewildered. I won’t discuss this further here since it borders on security. I was expecting discussions of how Osun, Ondo, Ekiti and Oyo states will form a synergy to act, but nothing of such was discussed.
Absence of security experts to advise and shed more light on Strategic Solutions made it a talk shop. All discussions were on miners as if miners were the only people that can kidnap. Why not expand our suspects’ scope? Apart from Professor Olu, Head of SSS and Head of Prison who stated that the problem is deeper than miners issue; a man named Ya-Salam also dissented from those mentioning miners.
I was surprised that the gathering did not make mention of Technology in solving security related problems. I was expecting victims of kidnapping to be invited to share information such as: the locations of the criminals, their modus of operandis, and the topology of the forests, technology available there and how the kidnappers survive in the forest.
I was expecting strategic questions of how kidnappers able to negotiate with the families of the victims through GSM network undetected. I expect some experts to explain how calls can be monitored or if they are using sophisticated communication gadgets, how they can be tracked through GPRS and real time Google Earth Geo-Information coordinate/resolution. I expected someone to suggest how Osun state could develop a Security Screen Base Station where personnel can be warehoused in Homeland Security Office in Oshogbo, to be able to monitor the geographic spread including the forest. The financial cost of this technology should affordable to the state government. Government may eventually do the needful if a top government functionary turns out to be a victim of kidnapping
They will continue to delay the rollout of this project because ordinary people, poor lecturers, clergies, private company’s staff and school teachers have always been the victims. It is so sad that people could be talking about employing local vigilantes at the meeting.
From my little research, kidnapping is not done in rural areas but on lonely express roads. Roads that link Esa-Oke and Efon, Ile-Ife and Ilesha, Iwo and Ede, Ilesha and Akure and others have been notorious. I was expecting how we could involve and train citizens on basic security related matters such as how to detect suspects, self-defense, how to spy and alert security office. I was expecting how farmers, local hunters, villagers and transporters can observe and alert the Central Homeland Security Office for instant and coordinated actions. I was expecting how special patrol vehicles with GPRS, Tracking Devices and Communication gadgets can be launched to monitor these trouble spots.
Unfortunately, nothing of such was discussed but organizers prefer to invite party Mama Leaders, Iyalojas, party members and drummers.
All I could see are dances, masquerades, Chiefs and a Baale that sold his traditional palace to Chinese hence living in a flat in Ilesha. In the absence of security experts, party touts took over proceedings with nuisance value hailing known politician figures.
Fortunately, credible Ijesa men contributed reasonable solutions to the subject matter. My regards to Dapo Rotifa, Dotun Oyeniyi, Ayo Turton, Dideolu Falobi, Gbolahan Olojede, John Ogunlela, Seun Oni and my humble self Oni Gbolabo that gave meaningful insights.
NOTE: Those who attended the meeting were not allowed to ask questions. It was not interactive. The meeting ended and as we were leaving the venue, news broke out that another chief was kidnapped. Sad!
What a stakeholders meeting?
ONI GBOLABO (P.hD.)