A pressure group, the Kwara4Kwara Movement, on Thursday, raised the alarm over the massive influx of bandits and kidnappers to the state from the neighbouring Niger State.
The group said the criminals invaded the northern forests of the state to cause mayhem.
Speaking at a news conference in Ilorin, the convener, Kwara4Kwara Movement, Mr Abdulrasheed Akogun, stated that the alarm became necessary in view of the incessant attacks on residents of the state in recent times.
Akogun stated, “Kwara shares boundaries with Niger State, which is currently witnessing a surge in banditry; it is a no brainer that Kwara as a neighbouring state to Niger is vulnerable to insecurity externalities.
“The manifestation of these is the attack recorded on some Kwara North communities by people suspected to be bandits.”
He said people in various parts of the state had paid over N700 million as ransom to secure their loved ones from bandits between 2019 and 2022, lamenting that some of the victims did not even return alive.
Akogun stated, “Recently, news broke about the relocation of a terrorist leader, Bello Turji, believed to be in control of about 150 terrorist groups in the North, from Zamfara to a Kwara forest.
“Consequently, residents of Obbo-Ayegunle in the Ekiti Local Government Area of the state raised the alarm that five suspected bandits had arrived in the area and were threatening to unleash mayhem in the form of kidnappings and killings unless the inhabitants provided them with the sum of N2 million.
“It was also gathered from the state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps that some bandits invaded a rural community called Anguwa Danlami in the Edu Local Government Area.
“The Seriki of Anguwa Danlami also confirmed that the inhabitants received a call that ‘we are bandits and the sum of N5m must be paid to us or we will attack your community and set the whole community ablaze’.
“These are a series of red flags of insecurity, which we feel the Kwara State Government should escalate these concerns to the Federal Government and also invest heavily in security architecture but is not doing anything close to enough to secure Kwaran lives.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the demand for a safety fee by bandits and kidnappers was not true.
“I’m not aware that kidnappers are making such demands from any community in Kwara State. Talking about the Obbo-Ayegunle community in the Ekiti Local Government Area of the state, we have just killed three bandits and arrested some kidnappers in the area; I don’t think the information you have is true,” he stated.
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