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Ogun communities deploy ‘Oro’ deity to battle insecurity

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We have deployed over 100 patrol motorcycles to equip police, says the security trust fund

As COVID-19 induced crime spirals, some residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, have resorted to the use of traditional and primitive means of securing their lives and property. The lockdown, now in its fourth week, has left in its wake the exposure of shallow policing and the resurgence of miscreants.

Apart from begging for food and money in the daytime, these miscreants go about breaking into shops and homes at nights. From Ilupeju to Bode Olude and environs, to Elega and Araromi, the stories are the same: armed robbery and cult activities have inflicted trauma to the psyche of people who are enduring harsh times during the lockdown.

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Denials and counter denials of the reality of the grim situation by the police have led to communities setting up their own vigilance groups and residents taking turns to secure their areas. In other climes, while people in lockdown are staying at home, Nigerians are out in the middle of the night to secure themselves.

Those who could not do this use the Yoruba ‘Oro’ deity, naturally used to ward off evil. Some areas invited them based on a security report of an impending attack. However, amid the insecurity scare, police patrols have also increased. Their sirens could be heard almost every night as they make routine patrols around the communities. Though this has not stopped people from doing their night security watch.

Speaking exclusively with The Guardian, the Executive Secretary, Ogun State Security Trust Fund, Opeyemi Agbaje, said they have deployed communication equipment to the police in the state to beef up capacity for crime-fighting and logistics. His words: “We have deployed over 100 patrol motorcycles to the police, TRACE and other security agencies during the lockdown to improve their capacity for dealing with the urban community and rural-based crimes in the state.

“The motorcycles and patrol vehicles are fitted with sirens and communication gadgets. Our intervention also includes fuelling of all the vehicles and motorcycles. We have previously provided patrol vehicles for the police and other security agencies, which has improved logistics and mobility with the security agencies,” he said.

The interventionist policy of the state security trust fund is not limited to transport and logistics. It also assists the ministries. Earlier on, the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, had urged the police to intensify efforts at curbing the nefarious activities of criminals in Ogun.

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