Towards a turbulent-free festive season in Kwara

As the Christmas and new year dawned, everything was done to secure every part of Kwara state against insecurity. UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB reports.

Ilorin the Kwara state capital has been adjudged as one of the most peaceful in Nigeria considering its low crime profile when compared to other states of the federation.

However, the fast growing city is not totally immune from security challenges such as kidnapping, cultism, Illegal mining, drug trafficking amongst others.

Being the gateway between the north and southern states of the federation and with the hustling and bustling of the festivities, security agencies said they have mapped out strategies to ward off criminal elements towards a peaceful celebration.

From the Nigerian Army to Nigerian Customs Service, the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and of course the Federal Road Safty Commission (FRSC), all said they have placed strategies to ensure a hitch free yelutide season.

Army’s Operation Still Water III

In a rare demonstration of its commitment to internal security , the Nigerian Army in October launched what it code-named Operation Still Water III to ward-off criminal elements from the state and deter them from making the state a base.

Conducted by troops from the 22 Armoured Brigade, Sobi, Ilorin, the Army flagged off the military exercise in Oro Ago in Ifelodun local government area and adjoining areas.

The Brigade Commander of 22 Armoured Brigade Sobi, Brigadier General Adebayo Babalola said the operation is to ensure a peaceful, stable and secure environment for the celebration of the festive seasons and ensure economic activities thrive without fear and panic.
He warned criminals to stay away from Kwara and sought the support of people by providing information that would be essential to clear criminals out of the state.

Govenor explains military excercise

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said the military exercise is another effort to checkmate criminal elements from gaining a foothold on the state.
Represented by his deputy, Kayode Alabi, the governor said the army, working in synergy with sister services and other security agencies, is desirous of meeting the expectations of Nigerians in tackling the security challenges.

“It is a thing of joy that the Nigerian Army and other security agencies are synergizing to stamp out different violent crimes such as terrorism, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, among other violent crimes. We are succeeding, regardless of the mutation of these criminal elements in whatever form.”

The governor specially commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Taofeek Abiodun Lagbaja for his visionary leadership style in conceiving the idea of organizing the exercise.

Customs secures boarder

While the Nigeria Army troops lend their supports in strengthening internal security, the Kwara Area Command of the Nigerian Customs Services is not leaving any stone unturned towards securing the nation’s boader towns connecting Kwara.

Briefing journalists at the command’s headquarters in Ilorin, recentlty, Custom Area Comptroller, Kehinde Ilesanmi warned those planning to take advantage of the yuletide to carry out smuggling activities to have a rethink.
“I want to warn those who want to use this yuletide period to make money by smuggling prohibited items to think twice as our officers have continued to dominate our AoR with aggressive patrols to deny smugglers freedom of action.”

He restated that the ban through the land borders on importation of foreign rice, used vehicles, vegetable oil, secondhand clothing, used tyres and other dangerous drugs such as marijuana, tramadol is still in place as according to him, Nigeria Customs Service, Kwara Area Command is committed to enforcing this without compromise.

Ilesanmi praised the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his management team for giving the Kwara Command additional four patrol vehicles to assist the command in achieving great results.

NDLEA activates operation Gbailumo

Having established that most heinous crimes were perpetrated under the influence of hard drugs, the state command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on its part activated what it codenamed Operation Gbailumu aimed at riding the state of drug and substance abuse.
The statewide operation which is at the instance of the state government is to rid the state of drug and substance abuse.
‘Operation Gbailumo’ commenced operation penultimate Monday and would run for three weeks.
The operation would focus on several key areas, including raiding known drug hideouts and black spots, conducting targeted patrols in high-risk areas, monitoring illegal drug trafficking activities and raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse through community engagement programmes, according to the special assistant to the state governor on drug abuse prevention and control, Aileru Olamilekan Mikail.
He said that the exercise would protect the state from influx of illicit drugs and drug-related activities, particularly in major towns and cities, before and after the festive period.
Aliero who addressed a press conference at the Kwara command of NDLEA in Ilorin, reiterated that the collaboration is part of the renewed effort of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration to maintain peace and security in the state.

“The festive season is a time for celebration and joy; unfortunately, it is also a time when drug peddlers and users tend to become more active. We would not allow our state to be used as a haven for drug traffickers or a breeding ground for drug abuse. This is why we have provided every necessary supports through partnership with the NDLEA to launch this special operation. We urge the public to support the government and the security agents for the success of the operation.”
He also said any suspicious activity or information about drug peddling or use should be reported immediately to the nearest NDLEA office or security agency.
On his part, NDLEA Commander Kwara Command, Mohammed Bashir commended the state government for its proactive approach and support to the agency.
“We have deployed a significant number of personnel across the state and we are prepared to work tirelessly to ensure a peaceful and drug-free festive season for everyone,” the Commander declared.

NSCDC deploys 2, 500 personnel

And as a measure to ensure a hitch free celebration, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said it has undertaken a proactive stance by deploying over 2,500 personnel across state to forestall the breakdown of law and order before, during and after the yuletide season.

The deployment focuses on crucial areas prone to threats, including prayer grounds, worship centers, recreational facilities, motor parks, gardens, markets, shopping complexes, black spots and critical installations, according to a statement by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Ayoola Shola, an Assistant Supritendent of Corps (ASC).

He qouted the state Commandant of the corps Mohammed Umar as saying that, “This initiative is aimed at establishing coordinated actionable intelligence, deterring and addressing potential threats to ensure a secured environment for all.”

Police restates barn on fire works

Similarly, the commissioner of Police, Victor Olaiya reminded residents of the state that the ban on the use of fireworks, firecrackers or any other explosive device is still enforced.
He warned person (s) against the use of these harmful devices as it can lead to extensive damage to property, injuries or pose a threat to safety and security of citizens, disturbance of public peace, saying anyone caught would be made to face the wrath of the law, according to a statement by the command’s spokesperson Ejire Adetoun

FRSC launches operation zero tolerance to crashes

In a related development , the Federal Road Safety Corps, said it has deployed 950 personnel (Officers & Marshals), including 350 Special Marshals, 120 first respondent, 40 patrol vehicles, 2 Power Bikes, 4 Ambulances, 4 Private tow trucks and a 70 ton tow-truck for the end of year special patrol operations.
Tagged ‘Operations Zero Tolerance to Road Traffic Crashes’, the excercise had commenced from 15 December 2023 and would end 15 January 2024.
The special patrol is to serve as deliberate intervention towards the reduction of road traffic fatalities through the removal of obstructions and prompt rescue of road crash victims, amongst others.
The special operations are necessitated by the attendant increase in movement of vehicles across road corridors in Kwara state during the Christmas and New Year festivities and the need to address road traffic encumbrances associated with such increase
A statement by the corps Public Education Officer, Basambo Olayinka Busari, stated that the state sector commander, Corps Commander Stephen E Dawulung has also deployed personnel for traffic control at strategic locations within Ilorin township and major cities in the state during the period of the special patrol.
The Sector Commander, admonished motorists to obey traffic rules and regulations avoid excessive speeding, overloading, obstruction, use of phone while driving, passenger manifest violation, operating of mechanical deficient and rickety vehicles, route violation, driving with worn-out tyres, among others.
He also emphasized the need for drivers to avoid night journies and take adequate rest of 30 minutes after every four hour drive as safety of life should be prioritized over pecuniary gains.
He said the command will also carry out special traffic control operations to ease the road congestion in Ilorin metropolis with 3 other traffic control camps established in Bode Saadu, Jebba and Olooru to ease traffic within the respective axis.
“The heavy tow truck, Ambulances and standby rescue teams will be stationed along major highway within the state for immediate clearance of obstructions and rescue operations when the need arises
“The operation is also in line with the Goal 1 of Federal Road Safety Corps’ 2023 Corporate Strategic Goals which stipulate 5% reduction in road crash fatalities and injuries.”