By Kayode Adegbehingbe
The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, last week paid a visit to the state and it’s Police Command.
Such a visit would definitely serve as a morale booster to the Police in the state, under the leadership of CP Mike Ogbodu, and yield positive fruits for the state. The police also paraded some criminals that they caught around that time as a sign that they are up and doing.
On that visit, the Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko laid out a particular complaint concerning the menace of Fulani cattle rearers, which has over time become a pain. They make life difficult for farmers, and are suspected to be involved in not a few robbery cases.
That this is coming from the Governor to the Inspector General, who is expected to work towards ensuring a speedy resolution to this biting problem, by bringing it to the front burner of national discourse.
However, that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, is of the Fulani extraction may make this a particularly touchy issue for the IGP to grapple with. But we cannot continue to wait while things go wrong around us.
In some states, the method used to resolve the conflict between Fulani cattle rearers and villagers, who have embarked on increasingly escalating cut throat (literally) rivalry, is dialogue.
Dr Mimiko suggested that the movement of the Fulani rearers should be limited to certain places, with ranches provided for them.
Just last year, Chief Olu Falae, National Chairman of Social Democratic Party, was kidnapped right on his farm by suspected Fulani herdsmen. It was a painful ordeal for the old man, who had served the nation in various capacities.
The issue of safety cannot be underestimated. As a proverbs goes: you cannot put fire on the rooftop and go to sleep.
The IG said he usually takes stock of the security reports from all the states in the federation, and gives advice accordingly. Though he rated Ondo State low on the nation’s crime chart, one hopes that with the coming of the IG, it will go lower still, with the tips he would have given to the Police.
There may be the need to completely overhaul the police in its processes, especially when it comes to speedy prosecution of cases. There needs to be mechanisms set up for speedy investigation of cases, or else the Police might be overwhelmed and their overall efficiency effectively reduced.
There is the issue of the interaction of the community with the Police, which should entail mutual support.
The police do not exist in isolation, there is a constant interaction with the environment. The people need speedy response from the police when called upon and the police need information. It is in this atmosphere of cooperation that things work well.
The last time we saw IG Arase in Ondo State was last year when he was mandated by the President to ensure the speedy release of Chief Falae, which he did. What he said that time was that the spree of kidnapping is an emerging threat to our national security. The police need to evolve methods for dealing with it.
With regards to the cattle ranches proposed to manage the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, a legislation should be in place to take care of that. States can come together to take a stand, the Governors Forum can throw its weight behind it, also taking a collective stance.
With the visit of the IG to the state, one hopes it will start to yield dividends in better entrenched peace, to continue the reputation of the state as a peaceful place, hence an investors haven, as the state Governor has also over the years taken steps to ensure that the government does all it can to support the security agencies.