Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has debunked claims that he promised the deployment of troops to safeguard the South-West geopolitical region following the escalating rate of insecurity in the region.
While paying a condolence visit to Rueben Fasoranti, leader of Afenifere, over the murder of his daughter, Funke Olakurin, by unknown gunmen at Ore, Ondo State, Osinbajo stated that the Federal Government would ramp up security in the region.
There had been increased calls from various traditional rulers and residents of the region for the Presidency to fulfil the promise made by Osinbajo following the abduction of the son of a Chief Medical Hospital of a hospital in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Wednesday.
But speaking via Laolu Akande, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, on Thursday, the vice president said he only mentioned the deployment of the soldiers as an option, insisting he did not make any specific promise on such action.
“The Vice-President said it was one of the options (troop deployment); not that he gave a date. Go and check what he said again. He said one of the options,” Akande told the Punch on Thursday.
In his reaction, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, acting Director of Defence Information, stated that the military is yet to receive any directive, adding that its troops would be deployed once it receives a signal mandating such deployment.
“If a directive is given, the armed forces definitely have to comply. Everything has to go through due process,” he said.
Nwachukwu, however, explained that there were existing joint operations with other security agencies in the zone.
He said: “The fact is that we have an existing joint operations with other security agencies in the South-West. Although we have an existing operation, if a directive is given, definitely, those operations can be reviewed. We have Operation Awatse which we are jointly conducting with other security agencies. There are other Quick Response groups around there.”
Also speaking, Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, said it has not seen an increased presence of security officials as promised by the Federal Government to tackle the issue of insecurity.
Yinka Odumakin, the Afenifere spokesperson, said the perceived lack of action indicated that the Presidency may not be committed to tackling the menace in the region.
He said: “Are you referring to the statement by the Vice- President? Well, we have not seen troop deployment in the South-West. Maybe he didn’t get clearance before making the announcement?
“This clearly shows that the Federal Government does not have any commitment to the security of the region; This is the reason armed herdsmen are still freely carrying out killings and abductions in the region.”nb