Some residents of Oyo State have expressed mixed reactions over cases of incessant attacks and abduction on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
While some of those who spoke to DAILY POST enjoined the police and other regular security agencies to beef up security along the road, others are of the opinion that the newly established Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) also known as Amotekun, the vigilante and other local security outfits should be involved in tackling the menace.
The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which starts at Berger in Lagos and ends at Iwo Road in Ibadan, is about one hundred and twenty kilometres (120 klm).
The road, which lies between Oyo, Ogun State and Lagos States, is one of the busiest roads in the country.
It is the gateway for travellers from most parts of the country to access Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria.
However, several attacks have been recorded along the expressway only this year.
The gunmen, who usually dress in military uniform, use the opportunity to abduct travellers.
In January this year, no fewer than two cases of kidnapping were recorded along the road. The abductors during one of the operations in January at Abule Onigari killed a commercial driver identified as Oluwatosin Aruwajoye.
Also, on Saturday, January 8, they abducted five passengers, while another person, Ibrahim Tiamiyu, was shot in the thigh.
An actress, Bimpe Akintunde and her daughter escaped from being kidnapped at the same location on Sunday, January 9, 2022.
The incessant attacks and abduction on the road in January this year attracted the attention of security agencies to move to the area.
This brought some sense of relief for travellers plying the road between January and October this year.
Kidnappers change location, abduct UI professor, Oyo monarch’s daughter
While users were still celebrating normalcy on the road, news broke that some travellers had been kidnapped. This occurred last October.
DAILY POST reports that several travellers were abducted on Friday, October 28, 2022.
Some of those who were abducted included a former Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) of University of Ibadan, Professor Adigun Agbaje.
Agbaje, DAILY POST learnt, was released after an unspecified amount of money was paid to the abductors as ransom.
Several other travellers, including Princess Temilola Oyediran and some students were also kidnapped on that day.
Our correspondent learnt that Princess Oyediran, one of the daughters of Onpetu of Ijeru kingdom in Oyo State, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran, was released after some amount of money was allegedly paid as ransom.
It is an indication that foreign terrorists have invaded our territory- Akintoye
A professor of History, Banji Akintoye while speaking, narrated that what is happening on the road is an indication that foreign terrorists have invaded Yoruba land.
Akintoye is the leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, a group championing self determination for the Yoruba race.
The former member of the Senate between 1979 and 1983 spoke when he addressed the Ilana Omo Oodua congress in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital recently.
Akintoye said that what was happening had shown that the country was in serious danger.
He said, “The foreign terrorists that the Fulani have brought are now in our territory.
“Demand change, demand improvement. Our nation is in serious danger”.
Residents speak, expressed mixed reactions
Meanwhile, some residents of Oyo State have expressed various reactions over the recent development.
A former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, who represented Iseyin/Itesiwaju constituency between 2015 and 2019, Hon. Afeez Adeleke, enjoined the security agencies to intensify efforts in taming the recent kidnapping on the road.
Adeleke said that he had the conviction that security agencies know what to do if they want to discharge their responsibilities.
He said that the government of the State (Oyo) should also encourage and motivate the security agents to do their job.
Adeleke said, “Well, thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my opinion as regards to kidnapping in Ibadan-Lagos Expressway, as well as Oyo State.
“I will just suggest that the Executive Governor of Oyo State and the security agencies intensify more effort to curb these ungodly activities and arrest the perpetrators in the State.
“It is my strong belief that security agencies know what to do if they seriously want to discharge their responsibility. Let the government of the State encourage and motivate the entire citizens to support them to do the needful on time”.
An alumnus of the University of Ibadan who begged not to be named, said that she has decided not to travel on the road until further notice.
She said, “I have not used the road in a while but reports about insecurity there are very scary and I might not be using the route till the kidnappings have stopped. Don’t put my name, ‘biko’”.
Another resident of the State, Mr. Biodun Adebayo, urged the government to allow men of Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun to go to the area and chase out the kidnappers.
He said, “From my view, I think the government should allow or tell Amotekun to go up and down in that area”.
Oyo, Ogun police commissioners restructure security apparatus, visit Lagos-Ibadan expressway
Meanwhile, the Oyo and Ogun State police commands have said that they had restructured their security apparatus.
The two commands made this disclosure on Thursday.
Commissioners of Police in the two States, Adebowale Williams (Oyo) and Lanre Bankole (Ogun) during a visit to the road on Thursday, said that the two commands have resolved to tackle incessant cases of attacks and kidnapping along the road.
Public Relations Officer of Oyo command, Adewale Osifeso, in a statement issued on Thursday, said that security architecture of the two States have been remodelled.
“The security architecture of both commands were also deliberately remodelled with cooperation from adjoining state police commands to deal decisively with criminal elements whose mindset is to use both States as a criminal hideout after being dislodged.
“In furtherance of the above, the good citizens of Oyo State are advised not to panic or agitate as adequate deployment of tactical and operational assets would be seen swarming the axis and embarking on; joint intelligence -led surveillance, aggressive patrols with adjourning states, combing of forests alongside local hunters and vigilantes and permanent visibility policing measures intensified along the busy highways.
“In addition, private and public users of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway are encouraged to go about their day to day activities without any form of fear of molestation or harassment from unscrupulous elements as adequate security measures in its topmost capacity are on ground,” he said.