The recent staccatos of kidnapping, rapping, robbery, and ritual killings across the country have bothered concerned citizens. Government top officials, federal lawmakers and notable people have all made commentaries about the situation but nothing concrete has happened. The traditional rulers, who are the true custodians of the people and closer to the grassroots have taken a bold step to making contribution to the welfare of the society as over twenty Obas in Lagos State and part of the outlaying Ijebu kingdoms met to brainstorm. The meeting, held at the palace of Oba Bashiru Aremu Sotonwa, the Sekumade of Ipakodo, on June 26, 2019, was conducted in utter sobriety. His Royal Majesty, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, who chaired the meeting was all in contemplative mood as the rest Obas deliberated on the cogent issues all communities are facing.
Though, some political figures were present at the venue, the traditional fathers were excused to carry out their solemn deliberation. Other members of the traditional institution like the Oshugbos, the Erelus and Baales patiently waited in the reception during the meeting. The Obas refused to eat all through the time of deliberation. The Sekumade palace looked all business as security men, police escorts, traditional guards and some paramilitary groups watched the perimeters of the palace. After five hours of intensive brainstorming session, the royal fathers addressed the media about their ongoing meeting.
The Ranodu of Imota, Oba Ajibade Agoro explained to the press how concerned the Obas are about the security challenges threatening development of the society and how they intend to support the secular government in the struggle to restore peace in the society. “We are gathered here today to brainstorm over the security challenges, and we are appealing to the residents to calm down and go about their daily activities, the issue is under control,” the Oba assured the people. Also at the address corner was His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdul-Semiu Orimadegun Kasali, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom. Oba Kasali affirmed the motive of the meeting but shed more light on the significance of the royal forum. According to him, the meeting is a routine check and formal visit to one of their fellow ruler, the Sekumade of Ipakodo. He explained that the idea was initiated in 2017 by the Ijebu Obas in Lagos and in the outlaying Ogun State communities to meet in each other’s palaces to compare notes and intimate the councils of latest development. “This is the third time we are meeting since inception, and this particular visit is made in a precarious time when the entire country is facing threatening issues like security challenges. We seized the opportunity to find ways to support government’s efforts and policies. The traditional ruling council of Obas strongly advocate for community police, we encourage the formation and empowerment of vigilantes. This will mutate into full-fledged community policing in the nearest future. We are also here to examine government development policy and how it will benefit the people at the grassroots level,” Oba Kasalu narrated.
The Obateru of Egbin, Oba Dr. Abdul Akeem Adeoriyomi Oyebo, in his address, reiterated that the Oba forum was initiated to advocate for the people’s welfare, inclusive governance and security harmony among community heads by advising the government based on informed decision.
The host Oba of the day, His Royal Majesty, Oba Bashiru Aremu Sotonwa, the Sekumade of Ipakodo Kingdom, addressed the press in a sad mood. The monarch spoke about their gathering; “The main issue of security is of immense concern to us. We get worried every time the press publish stories about the violence in our communities and are seriously moved to support the government on this fight. The government cannot do this alone, that is why the traditional rulers who are very close to the grassroots feel greatly concerned. We are supplementing the government’s efforts on this fight and working together in forum like this to strategise.
“For instance, the gruesome killing of innocent people by the cult boys is making life unbearable for residents as people could no longer sleep with their eyes closed. We are so worried and have come to the conclusion that community policing should be established and maintained to strengthen government’s efforts on the security issue, and subsequently creation of state police.”
The Oba encouraged residents to be vigilant and report suspicious moves. “Sometimes, you see some of these hoodlums in threes on bike with weapons, hunting for targets to harm. When people see such suspecting gangs, they are obligated to report these to the police and the vigilantes. They should alert the police without wasting time. Residents must learn to be there brother’s keeper. We are telling them not to keep quiet but to raise alarm whenever they see something suspicious.”
When asked about the latest situation along the Sekumade Road in Ebute, Oba Sotonwa narrated how they foresee another traffic challenge when the Ikorodu seaport is completed. “The rate at which heavy trucks and trailers are parked along the Sekumade Road is worrisome. We foresee another Apapa port situation will replay here in Ikorodu when the seaport is completed. In other to curb this development, we have met with groups like Dangote Company, Nigerian Port Authority, and the state government and informed them of the dangers these containers parked indiscriminately along the roadside portend. He hope they start making proper plan to avert a replay of the Apapa situation in Ikorodu when the port is in full operation. Oba Sotonwa also lamented lack of maintenance culture in the country and how government would not bulge until roads deteriorate to a deplorable condition.