Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has directed the Chairmen of Local Government and Local Council Development Areas in the state to commence holding security council meetings.

This directive is part of proactive measures aimed at addressing insecurity directly within their respective areas.

The Governor issued the directive on Wednesday during a security meeting attended by all council chairmen and heads of security agencies in the state.

Governor Oyebanji expressed concern over reports indicating that previous sets of council chairmen did not prioritize statutory security council meetings. He emphasized that moving forward, these meetings must be held at least once a month, with all key stakeholders in the security framework of their respective council areas mandated to attend.

The Governor said any council chairman that fails to hold the security meeting would forfeit the security vote for the month. This is to show the importance the administration attach to security at the local level, which is always in focus at the local government security council meetings.

He emphasized that the security meetings should also involve representatives from the state government. Additionally, he stressed the importance of regular submission of meeting reports to his office for thorough review and necessary action.

Governor Oyebanji urged the council chairmen to collaborate closely with relevant security agencies and traditional institutions to safeguard the lives and properties of the people within their jurisdictions. Emphasizing the importance of prioritizing peacekeeping efforts, he underscored that preventing crises is more cost-effective than managing them after they occur.

Furthermore, the Governor advised the chairmen to employ strategic management of the security funds allocated to their councils. He emphasized the significance of maintaining harmonious relationships with pertinent stakeholders. Additionally, he reiterated the government’s dedication to increasing provisions for security funding.

He said all efforts must be made to ensure that no part of the state experience any security breach, like it happened recently.

“As you are all aware, our administration is based on consultation and we are not unmindful of what has happened in the state in the last few weeks and the efforts that government is taking to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of that very unfortunate development.

“I have decided to call this meeting so that we can share with you our own strategies and ask for inputs from you to finally agree on how to craft an enduring and sustainable solute to this. So, I am going to allow us to share intelligence as it concerns our local governments.

“I will brief you on what we have discovered, then you give us a feedback from your respective local governments, this will help the security chiefs to develop strategies that all of us will agree on and how we are going to implement.

“One thing that we have discovered is lack of collaboration among local government chairmen that shared boundaries on security. If there are three or four local governments that share boundaries, there is need for you to jointly meet and share intelligence among yourselves and allocate responsibilities.
Once you do that, you will not be duplicating your efforts.

“We also discovered that in most local governments, they don’t hold Security Council meeting, they collect the money, they share among themselves, I have met with the Obas, they told me that most of the past local government chairmen don’t invite them to Security Council meetings. Going forward, we have decided that we will look at the security votes and see where we can scale up for you because of the challenges.

“Security council meeting monthly is now a must and this is going to be the procedure, every statutory member that should be in that meeting including the chairmen of Council of traditional rulers or their representatives, all security chiefs in the local government and now, a representative of the state government will be there and the resolution will be signed by everybody and sent to my office. Any local government that does not send a report as appropriate will have its security vote withheld. So, the condition to access security vote will be contingent on regular hosting of Security Council meeting.” He said.

The Governor used the opportunity to stress the need for effective information gathering and dissemination as well as intelligence and strategies sharing for effective tackling of insecurity.

He hinted that his administration would soon liaise with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to generate and introduce a strategic security toll free line where information could easily got to the security agencies for prompt action.

The Governor also urged the council chairmen, especially those who share border, to cooperate among themselves by sharing intelligence and possibly have joint patrol.

He also urged them to ensure that information that could assist the security apparatus in their respective local government areas are promptly released to the security agencies for prompt action adding that most of the criminals, their agents and accomplices live in the communities providing food and other materials for the bandits.

“I have told the Special Adviser on Security to give us a toll free line that people can send information to on any intelligence you have gathered in your local government, but make sure the information is genuine.

Also at the meeting were the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman in the state, Barr. Paul Omotoso, Commissioner for Local Government, Chief Olabode, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Gen. Ebenezer Ogundana (rtd.), Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Inter-party Affairs, Chief Jide Awe and all heads of security agencies in the state.

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