Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has expressed his readiness to rally all security apparatus available to fight and flush out criminal elements out of the state.
Oyebanji also pledged to reinvigorate the local security outfits to work in synergy with conventional security networks to break the ranks of those perpetrating heinous crimes in the facets of kidnapping, banditry, and killings in the state.
Governor Oyebanji gave these assurances while addressing Ekiti people in a statewide broadcast aired on Tuesday night, in response to Monday’s gruesome murder of two monarchs by armed men along Oke Ako-Irele road and the abduction of some primary school pupils in Emure Ekiti.
During the attack, the two royal fathers, the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin, and the Olumojo of Imojo-Ekiti, Oba Samuel Olatunde Olusola, were brutally murdered by the marauders; while the Alara of Ara (Ikole), Oba Sunday Adebayo O Fatoba escaped the murderous attack narrowly.
Oyebanji said the saddening to him was the fact that he was just emerging from a security council meeting, where strategic and far-reaching measures were taken on how to make Ekiti retain its status as the most peaceful and investment-friendly state in the country.
The Governor appealed to the residents not to despair of the horrible trend of events, saying all hands are on the plow to track down the perpetrators of the horrendous acts.
Oyebanji said: “The death of these vibrant, energetic, and progressive monarchs is very sad and distressing for me. Before their demise, I enjoyed a very cordial relationship with them in their pursuit of accelerated development for their communities. I have enormous respect for them for their service and commitment to the prosperity of Ekiti at large. May their souls rest in peace.
“Similarly, just yesterday, we received another disturbing news that some pupils of the Apostolic Faith Nursery and Primary School, Emure-Ekiti, and their teachers who were being conveyed home after school, were waylaid and kidnapped between Emure-Ekiti and Eporo. Security agents are currently working hard to rescue them unhurt.
“As your Governor, this new turn of events in our dear State is a very devastating and sad one for me; this is because security has always held a significant priority in our administration and this can be seen in our State being consistently adjudged one of the most peaceful with low crime rate in the entire Federation.
“I have therefore challenged the security agencies with a firm instruction to fish out the soulless murderers who committed this heinous sacrilege on the soil of Ekiti.
“As a follow-up to this, Mr. President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was on a long call with me yesterday, to commiserate with the State and to give a firm assurance that everything will be done to ensure such a dastardly act never repeats itself. He is mobilizing security resources to help bring the killers to book and rescue the abducted children and their teachers.
“I am very thankful to the President for his solidarity and support at this time. I have also visited the concerned communities and the Chairman of the Traditional Council to commiserate and reassure them of the Government’s strong resolve to confront this ugly trend.
“Ekiti Kete, while these occurrences can be distressing, we should not despair or waver in our steel resolve to work together to fight all violent crimes. As the evil men are unrelenting, we too have to collectively confront their evil enterprise with all the resources in our behest.
“We must all collaborate to share intelligence and organize community-based security arrangements to complement the State’s security apparatus. As part of an effort to ensure this does not happen again, we will strengthen our support for the security agencies by further enhancing their capacity through the provision of high-grade equipment.
“We will also strengthen our community-based security organizations and other relevant individuals to fashion out a sustainable and workable system to confront this evil monster once and for all. Be assured of your security, even, as we all should be vigilant and security conscious”, the Governor added.
Governor Oyebanji however sympathized with leaders and indigenes of the two communities, whom he addressed at their respective palaces during a visit.
Stressing that the two murdered monarchs were respected traditional rulers who had a record of selfless service to their respective towns, Oyebanji said the state government would collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure that their killers pay dearly for the heinous crime.
The Governor also thanked the people of the towns for refraining from violence, assuring them that everything would be done to ensure justice for the slain monarchs, whom he said fought till they breathed their last, having taken the security of their people.
“I can assure you that the death of these monarchs would not be in vain. The perpetrators would be apprehended and made to face the maximum punishment
“The President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, spoke with me from France and expressed his condolences to you as well as the government of the state. The President is with us on this and has given specific instructions to relevant authorities.
“He asked me to tell you that the perpetrators of the crime will not go unpunished. He gave assurance that security agencies would free the abducted school pupils.
“On our part, we shall collaborate with relevant agencies and the traditional institution to make the state too hot for criminals.”, Oyebanji said.
He also directed that the third monarch, Alara of Ara Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, who escaped narrowly during the attack be given adequate security protection.
Community leaders who spoke during the Governor’s visit to Esun Ekiti alleged that the killing of their monarch, Oba David Babtunde Ogunsola might be an assassination, following the manner of the gruesome murder.
They urged the Governor to ensure that justice was served in the case, describing the late Oba as a great lover of his people, who prioritized the security and development of his people.
Community leaders in Imojo Ekiti hailed the Governor for his timely response and the visit. They said the late monarch Oba Olatunde Samuel Olusola championed the development of the town and was concerned about the safety of his people.
They also thanked Governor Oyebanji for his decision to take over the education and upbringing of the late monarch’s five young children, who were also present during the Governor’s visit.
Governor Oyebanji who later visited the Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers/ the Olojudo of Ido Ekiti, Oba Ayorinde Ilori Faboro at his palace in Ido-Ekiti, scheduled a major meeting with all traditional rulers for their council chamber in Ado-Ekiti for Wednesday morning.