By Folorunso Fatai
“Each day, millions of police officers do the selfless work of putting their lives on the line to protect civilians, frequently responding to or preventing crises completely with no recognition.”— Letitia James.
The world is now a dangerous place as a result of all kinds of atrocities being perpetrated by mean and evil people who are just a minority. In Africa and other parts of the world, all sorts of armed men, apart from the security agencies such as the military and the police, are being created or emerging. There are more weapons in circulation than ever before because everyone is fighting to restore peace, gunning for justice, seeking revenge, or just being mean.
In Nigeria for example, a report from the SBM Intelligence in October 2020, tagged “Small Arms, Mass Atrocities and Migration in Nigeria”, indicated that the proliferation of small arms and ammunition is the driver of violence and insecurity in the country as “the number of small arms in circulation in Nigeria, in the hands of the non-state actors, is estimated at 6,145,000 while the armed forces and law enforcement collectively account for 586,600 firearms.” Essentially, the number of illegal firearms in circulation in Nigeria is more than the population of some countries.
Consequently, there has been a rise in the operation of cultists and their ilks. Like Ogun State, in the Southwest, Osun State has always been in the news for the wrong news, lately. From kidnapping, and ritual killings to cultist activities that have enveloped the state. For example, in June, a man simply identified as Olorunwa was hit by a stray bullet during a clash between some repentant and active cultists in Irojo, Ilesa in Osun State. Similarly, two weeks ago, a 43-year-old man, Yunusa Okunloye, one of the sons of the Olofa of Ofatedo, Oba Abdulahi Okunloye, was shot dead by suspected cultists in Ofatedo Community, Egbedore Local Council of Osun State. These have been the recurrent dastardly activities of these anti-social groups of people.
Given the astronomical rise in the above-mentioned condemnable activities, it would require an experienced and enterprising cop to direct the security affairs of the state— and that is where the brilliant policing activity of the current commissioner of police, Mr Olawale Olokode has just surfaced— an example of the arrest his men made lately.
A daring and disruptive is a notorious gang—led by Rasheed Hammed, popularly known as “Oko’lu” (The Lord of the Town)— who had been terrorizing Ede and its environs for the past one year and was consequently declared wanted by the Osun State Police Command in March over several offenses such as murder, arson, ritual killing, and armed robbery. For the people of Ede and its environment, the fear of Oko-ilu is equivalent to the fear of God and the beginning of wisdom. Rasidi Baale Oko’lu’ was allegedly linked to the death of Hassan Adedeji, a graduate of Banking and Finance of Federal Polytechnic, Ede, who was awaiting his call-up letter for the National Service, as well as, a commercial motorcyclist during a fight in Ede among other killings allegedly credited to him.
Commendably, on Sunday ( 7, August 2022) there were news reports that the Osun State Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode, deployed the men of the anti-cultism Unit to some strategic areas of the state where the notorious cultist was arrested after a heavy gun duel, a piece of news that brought a sigh of relief and happiness to the residents of Ede and its environs.
As reflected by the foregoing, we do not have to be in a war-ravaged area before we feel unsafe; we do not have to be a foreigner in a place before we feel insecure. Certainly, we can be in our own home and have our hearts in our mouths as midwifed by the blood-thirsty cultists who we meet— and think they are normal humans like us— at every junction and corner.
Importantly, one of the core features of both the government and the police is the protection of the lives and properties of the citizens. I implore both the Federal and State governments to do more in equipping our security operatives as it encourages them to productively work as displayed by CP Olawale Olokode and his men in the arrest of the wanted notorious thug, Rashidi Oko’lu. Also, Community Policing is key. Everyone in a community should be involved, as the Yorubas say, the crab guards its head with its eyes, hence vigilance by each member of a community is necessary— an example of the collaboration of the Oodua Peoples Congress with the Police toward the arrest of the “wanted” thug.
Finally, the words of a former governor of Connecticut, Jodi Rell, are apt and sermonising: she remarked, “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security.” Dare to remain safe. Ensure your security is secured by being a responsible citizen and providing the police with the necessary assistance/information. For Olokode and Oko’lu, there cannot be two suns in the sky; the illegal operator (Oko’lu) has to leave for the legal operator (Olokode) for peace to reign.
Folorunso Fatai writes from Gbongan, Osun State