Police, Amotekun deploy personnel to checkpoints in Ondo
Following the dismantling of guards of the 32 Artillery Brigade at military checkpoints in Ondo State last week, the state police command has deployed its personnel to take over the security posts.
The Guardian reported that the Brigade Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, Brigadier-General Yakubu Yerima, had ordered his men to evacuate the checkpoints over an alleged cold war between him and the Corps Commandant of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye.
It was alleged that Amotekun Corps’ continued arrest and thwarting of illegal activities of Fulani herdsmen in the state was to the displeasure of the Army boss, who believed that his kinsmen are the target of Amotekun’s operations.
Sources in the security agencies operating in the state, said the Army boss chose to distance himself from the state’s security meetings and eventually dismantled the checkpoints due to the activities of Amotekun.
For some months, Amotekun Corps has been arresting herdsmen, mainly Fulani, for flouting the state’s law on the forest reserves and the anti-open grazing, to the angst of the Army Commander.
Consequently, military checkpoints along Ago Ajayi, Owo/Ikare Junction, Owena, Ajue, Igbara-Oke Uso and Owo, were abandoned by the soldiers, posing a huge security risk for the state.
Residents were worried when three buses fully loaded with Hausa/Fulani youths and dangerous weapons invaded the state barely 48 hours after the army ordered its personnel to evacuate the checkpoints.
The buses and their occupants escaped from Akure to Ondo, where a bus was eventually halted by joint operation of Amotekun and the police, who gave them a hot chase, arresting 18 youths and recovered over 500 different kinds of items, including daggers, swords, guns, live ammunition and poisoned jack knives.
Amotekun commander, Adeleye, who confirmed this, said his men were also deployed to the abandoned checkpoints.
He denied that the corps operation was connected with abandonment of checkpoints by soldiers. He assured that the other two fleeing buses would be tracked and arrested by his men.
Meanwhile, some retired top security personnel, who spoke with The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, decried the alleged support shown to herdsmen at the expense of the state.
They urged the state government to take up the matter and address the misunderstanding between its agency, Amotekun, and the artillery brigade without compromising the security of the people.
But the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Funmi Odunlami, who confirmed the police redeployment to the abandoned checkpoints, said there was no cause for alarm.
Odunlami urged commuters and motorists to continue with their lawful businesses and report any extortion by any police officers to the command.