Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams, on Wednesday said terrorists have infiltrated Lagos State and can launch attacks anytime just like they did in Owo, Ondo State, few weeks ago, an attack which left 40 people dead and over 80 persons injured.
Adams, who spoke exclusively with Daily Independent, said he is at a loss as to why the Lagos State government has failed to implement the establishment of the South-West security outfit, Amotekun Corps, in the state.
According to the Yoruba generalissimo, while Lagos State may not be battling with terrorist attacks like some states in the federation, cases of kidnapping for ransom are commonplace especially in rural areas like Badagry, Ibeju-Lekki, Epe and other parts of the state.
He added that the massive destructions carried out across Lagos State during the #EndSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums is a testament to the fact that Lagos is not immune to security challenges and there is a need for everyone to be vigilant.
“I don’t know the reason why Lagos State has not implemented Amotekun. I don’t know the political reasons behind their failure to organise Amotekun in Lagos.
"The crime in Lagos may not be that of terrorism but it can be worse at times. Most of the problems we have in Lagos is being perpetrated by criminals among the Yoruba such as cultists, area boys and street urchins. “For example, look at what happened during the EndSARS protest".
"The volume of the attacks in Lagos by hoodlums who hijacked the protest is higher than any other state in Nigeria. We have many criminals and urchins in many areas of Lagos State".
“In Lagos today, nobody can walk freely after 7p.m. If you are using your mobile phones in the night at bus stops, you are doing so at your peril because they will forcefully collect if from you".
"In traffic gridlock today in Lagos, they will tap on your side glass and show you a pistol or knife. If you refuse to wind down your glasses, they will break it and steal your belongings such as mobile phones, laptops and bags".
“Even in rural areas like Badagry, Ibeju-Lekki and Epe, there are incidents of kidnappings there by some criminals living in riverine areas but the government usually tried to manage it so that people won’t hear about it”.
Adams also admonished anyone recruiting security guards at night to do proper background checks as some Islamist fundamentalist who are agents of terrorists are posing as security guards in order to penetrate the region and wreak havoc.
“Terrorists have infiltrated Lagos State but they haven’t struck. They can strike anytime. Our people should be very careful especially when recruiting Northerners as security guards for now.
“They need to be vigilant, watchful and carry out proper investigation about the Northerners they are employing to guard their homes. Some of these people may be agents of these terrorists. They recruit them based on Islamist fanaticism. So, there is need to be very careful so that you don’t bring a terrorist to watch over you in the night”.
While commending Amotekun for its efforts in securing South-West since its inauguration, Adams who also praised South-West governors highlighted some of the challenges being faced by the outfit as lack of adequate manpower and access to sophisticated equipment to confront the terrorists and bandits.
He urged stakeholders in the region to join hands in addressing the security challenges in the region, saying people can only vote in a peaceful atmosphere during the 2023 general elections.
“Amotekun is trying its best but the challenge they have is that the state governors do not have the resources to recruit more personnel. The least personnel in a state like Ekiti is 5,000 Amotekun personnel. States like Lagos and Oyo will need up to 9,000 Amotekun personnel because of the geographical spread and population of the people living in these two states".
“If not because of Amotekun and the South- West Security Stakeholders’ Group, the South-West could have become a war theatre because after the Middle- Belt, the target of these terrorists is the South-West and we have some Yoruba people conniving with them who act as informants to them, especially on the issue of kidnapping.
“The governors of the South-West need to call a security summit that will involve all stakeholders to discuss the way forward, including the traditional rulers and other prominent people who are relevant in security matters. “We must act fast before the situation becomes worse.
The Owo scenario is a serious example for us on the need to act fast. It is only somebody who is alive that can engage in political activities in 2023. It is only when the environment is at peace that you can ask people to come out and vote for you in 2023.”