Recently, a website made headlines from the Ondo state governor’s statement which reads “Get Arms and defend yourselves, Akeredolu tells Ondo Residents”. It further read that the Ondo State governor has given the directives for residents of the State to secure arms and defend themselves due to the Terror attack that occurred in Owo local government in May 2021.
In the website named WitnessNgr, it reads that “Akeredolu, who backed the call by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State for residents to arm and defend themselves against terrorists, called on the people of his state to repel those attacking them.”
ROUNDCHECK analyzed the information that the Ondo State Governor gave the directives to the residents to secure arms and defend themselves against terrorist attacks.
Checks by ROUNDCHECK revealed that the Ondo State Governor made the call for residents to defend themselves in a live interview with Channels TV on Politics Today program when asked questions relating to the threat of security in the state.
Akeredolu stated in the interview, “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.”
He said the terror attack in Owo has made his government ensure that the security of the state is considered in a serious manner and this has led him to sign an executive order on the installation of CCTVs in all public places in the state.
Also, Akeredolu urged traditional rulers to be ready to join the government to defend the people.
Excerpts of Governor Akeredolu Interview
The Governor of Ondo State Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has charged the people of the State to defend themselves against terrorists and promised to do more to make Ondo safe.
Speaking during a live television programme, Politics Today, Akeredolu said the people of the state were indomitable, and asked them not to run away whenever the attackers invade their lands, adding that they must confront 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 the governor, “what we have learnt from the Owo attack is that we must take security seriously. And by doing that, 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 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 have 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.
On whether the act was perpetrated by ISWAP or not, the governor 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 its 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 a 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 be involved in criminality.
Speaking on whether any arrest has been made on the Owo terrorists attack, Akerdolu said no arrest has been made. According to him, “I listened to the Amotekun commander, there is no time he made a categorical statement about the arrest of the attackers. What he said was very clear that they were on the trail of the perpetrators.
“He said that they have recovered the vehicle and some evidence which they have handed over to the SSS for the required analysis. There was never a time that he said they made an arrest.”
“Because of the vast forest reserve we have, they are able to hibernate and we know. But the major problem we have now is that we are not in control of security agencies.”
On the measure put in place by his government to forestall the occurrence of the Owo incident, Governor Akeredolu said, “We have done a few things and we have increased the men of Amotekun armed with more vehicles for patrol. We cannot run away and we must be prepared to confront the challenges. The government will try its best but it will be criminal for people to run away without confronting them.
“What we should prioritize today in the country is the State Police. That is the only way of getting out of this issue. As we are here, we run a state security outfit that cannot carry firearms.
How do you defend yourself?
Amotekun has been doing wonderful work in the Southwest but the point is that it would have been more effective if they could carry weapons,” Akeredolu said.
Conclusion and Verdict
The statement attributed to the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu that the residents should get arms and defend themselves is taken out of context and misleading.
The website WitnessNGR headline is misleading.
ROUNDCHECK after a thorough reading through the excerpts of the Governor Interview with reference to the statement made on the Witness NGR headline found out that the statement was taken out of context and misleading.
The WitnessNGR headline that read ‘Get arms and defend yourselves, Akeredolu tells Ondo residents’ is MISLEADING.