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Owo attack: No enough will to tackle insecurity, says ex-military commander

A former commander (Special Task Force), Operation Safe Haven in Jos, Plateau State, Major Gen. Henry Ayoola (retd.), has said the government lacks the decisive…

A former commander (Special Task Force), Operation Safe Haven in Jos, Plateau State, Major Gen. Henry Ayoola (retd.), has said the government lacks the decisive will to tackle insecurity.

He disclosed this while discussing the Sunday terrorist attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, in Ondo State and the general security situation in the country on the Channels Tv’s breakfast programme, Daily Sunrise, on Friday.

Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, said at least 40 people were killed in the attack linked to the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).

Ayoola said: “There is no shortcut to the fact that we need a surge in all our security services that are involved, particularly the armed forces and the police and maybe the civil defence who are first responders to most of these incidents.

“The armed forces are already overstretched and so also the police. Even if you have all the best weapons in the world, you still need men to operate them, you still need men who must be smart at operating the equipment, who must have the competencies to use them effectively and optimally.

“All of these [decisions] can only be taken at the federal level. So, it boils down to the federal government really giving this a straight thought. What you tolerate, you can’t change. I think we have not had enough decisive tackling of this situation.”

He said when he was a commanding officer of operation Safe Haven, there was a standard deployment every Friday and Sunday to cover all the mosques and churches but lamented that it is hard to do that now as insecurity had spread all over the country and the armed forces and police alread over-stretched.

He said if the government could station security operatives in places of worship, it would give confidence to Christians and Muslims to go to their places of worship.

Speaking about the Owo attack, the retired general said: “I warned about this before the political activities started. I said now that we are going into political activities, it’s going to divert attention. And that if we don’t put certain preemptive things in place before we get engaged by politics, the adversaries will take advantage of that and that is what we have seen happen.

“The urgency really is about creating a surge both in armed forces and police and doing it as fast as we can, do some emergency recruitment and commissioning, get some additional equipment and the use of technology to make up for some shortfalls in manpower in some areas. We have to do all of these and we have to do them concurrently.”