Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has said that ISWAP terrorists, bandits, and herdsmen are working together in Ondo Forest to wreak havoc on the state.
Akeredolu has therefore charged the people to defend themselves against terrorists and promised to do more to make Ondo safe.
Speaking during a live television programme, Politics Today, monitored in Akure, the state capital, Akeredolu said people must not run away whenever they are coming to attack them.
He said, “If they bring a fight to you, you also should fight them back. Our people cannot afford to stay back and they think we are lazy people. We are not lazy. We are indomitable people. When we believe and act this, we fight these people back.
According to Akeredolu, “What we have leant from the incident of Owo is that we must take security seriously. And by doing that, it has led us to give an Executive Order on the installation of CCTVs in all public places in the state. We have also called our traditional rulers that we must be ready to defend our land and people.
“What I mean by that is that we must not run away when they are coming. If they bring a fight to you, you also fight them back. Our people cannot afford to stay back and they think we are lazy people. We are not lazy. We are indomitable people. When we believe and act this, we fight these people back.
“Take the fight to them in the forest, Whosoever has the higher hand will survive. We are to be careful about the people around us and we have to be on the alert. When incidents like this happen, don’t run into the house. Go ahead and confront them,” he said.
“When the federal government said the act was committed by ISWAP, I reacted to that almost immediately. What evidence do they have? Because the security agencies were too quick to jump to the conclusion that it was done by ISWAP.
”Whatever it is; we stand by a position that it is a theology that is operating in our forest to cause havoc. We have Fulani herdsmen, bandits, and ISWAP. It is the three of them that are working together. In Ondo State, we have been facing terrorism from the three whether bandits, Fulani herdsmen, or ISWAP.
“They work together and I don’t know how you want to separate them except if you have concrete evidence. And again, ISWAP most of the time, takes responsibility for their actions. I think if ISWAP had done this, they would have come up to say they were the one. Some of us have our fears that it is not ISWAP.
“We have very vast forest in the Southwest. Unfortunately, these terrorists occupied the forest. They said they are searching for fertile areas to feed their herds. If you want to feed your herds, you do not need to carry an AK-47. If there is rustling, it is not enough for you to involve in criminality.