Governor ’Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has pledged the continuous support of his administration to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the state.
The governor, while receiving the new Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, who was on a working visit to the state, said that his government will always go after criminals across the length and breadth of the state.
Makinde said: “I want to warmly welcome you again to Ibadan. I know you have been here since yesterday and I know it is work that brought you this time around but I look forward to seeing you come back so that we can properly host you to dinner.
“On behalf of the people and the government of Oyo State, we, again, want to express our condolences on the loss of your predecessor. We pray that the Almighty will continue to be with the immediate and extended families. We pray that such a tragic event will not occur again.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the GOC and the officers and men of the 2 Mechanised Division for the support they have been giving to us at the state level.
“My security team members are seated out there and they will agree that without the cooperation of the GOC and his team, and also other arms of the Armed Forces that are here, we would not have achieved the results we have achieved. They have been supporting us.
“When we call on them either day or night, they (Operation Burst) are always there for us and you can see their footprints in all zones of the state. You know that our state has an international border and we all know the challenges we are faced with nationally, especially bandits coming in here and they have stayed close with us. So, we want to express our appreciation.
“Again, we have gone through challenges where people tried to stoke ethnic tension here. But we all rallied around and said don’t do ethnic profiling here. “What we do is to go after criminals irrespective of where they are from. We don’t care about their state of origin, their ethnic background. Once we see any criminal, we go after them.
“I believe that once, I called the GOC, he may or may not be aware of the incident with the Customs. There was an initial one where a young officer lost his life around the border area when some foreigners were trying to come in but we stood our ground together.
“And we also had a recent one where we got customs officials coming in from Abeokuta with some Army officers. They worked together with our Amotekun and we were able to resolve the issue. So, I want to plead that we continue on that cooperation between us. “And, as a government, we can give you the assurance that we will do everything humanly possible to provide support and also cooperate with you.”
The governor called on the Army to continue to collaborate with his government to secure the state, noting that the government will continue to play its part and that the Army should not hesitate to let the government know whatever is needed to succeed in its efforts.
“Yes, it is a challenging period and we know that there are war theatres all over the country, especially in the North-East and North-West zones. But we want to say, please, don’t leave us alone here. Don’t take all the officers and men to the theatre of operation, because we believe just by having an international border, this is also a vulnerable zone.”
Earlier, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yahaya, said the visit was to appreciate the governor for improving the well-being of the Nigerian Army.
He promised that soldiers will continue to do their best in securing the state, while also pleading that the state government should extend the development projects to the Army barracks.