Fear and anxiety have continued to mount in Okitipupa, headquarters of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State and some other parts of the state, following the infiltration of Hausa youths into the area.
Although the state government has allayed the fear of the residents regarding the movement, with some of them already repatriated after being arrested Amotekun security operatives, the residents are apprehensive about the relocation of the youths suspected to be bandits and their spread across the state.
A source said that no fewer than 137 youths of Hausa extraction had relocated to the state under the pretence of embarking on security training in Okitipupa. However, the state government through the Amotekun corps had repatriated 42 of them who couldn’t give convincing account of their presence, to their home states of Jigawa and Kano. This action followed a tip-off by some residents of the town who noticed the presence of the strange people.
The Hausas were allegedly conveyed to Okitipupa at midnight with trucks and they allegedly stayed in the town for two days before their presence was noticed.
But the state Commander of Operation Amotekun, Mr. Adetunji Adeleye, who confirmed the development, allayed the fear of residents, assuring that his men are up to the task of securing the state.
He described as suspicious their presence in the state adding that there was no cogent reason for their relocation to the state.
He said that initially they claimed that they were in the state for a security training organized by a private security firm but after thorough investigations by his office, he noted, it was discovered that there was no training organized by any security firm in any part of the state. He disclosed that some individuals were arrested and handed over to the police in order to discover those who masterminded their arrival. He claimed that the security company that was said to have organized the training did not exist in any part of the state, a development which he said made their presence suspicious.
The security expert also explained that the cooperation of the people of Okitipupa in providing credible information assisted his men in arresting the suspected bandits. He informed that some of them are still in police custody, just as some residents who allegedly facilitated their movement to the state are also being investigated.
Reacting on the development, the state Commissioner for information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo urged residents of the state to remain law-abiding promising that the state government was on top of the situation and would not leave no stone unturned at ensuring the security of lives of the people.
Ojogo who noted that the state government is proactive on security issues, said that the state government took the decision to repatriate some of them who couldn’t state why they were in the state. But the assurances notwithstanding, many residents are still apprehensive over the development, as it was alleged that some of them had moved to some remote parts of the state before the state government got wind of their presence.
One other intriguing fact is that the repatriated youths had claimed to have come in readiness for some security training at the army barracks, Okitipupa, but the Army authorities have neither denied nor confirmed the claim. Findings by Saturday Sun indicate that their movement to the state was facilitated by a Non-Governmental Organisation identified as Harmony Global Foundation.
The fear already created by their arrival is heightened by the claim by a concerned indigene of the state, Mr. Wale Odusola, a lawyer, that the Hausa youths are still arriving in batches to the state. According to him, Hausas and Fulanis numbering over 3,000 are currently occupying an empty land in the Okitipupa Army Barracks and have built many houses there.