Some residents of Epe have called on Lagos State Government to seek the intervention of the presidency for the deployment of officers of the Joint Taskforce (JTF) to curtail kidnapping in the area.
The residents, many of them farmers and community leaders, on Monday staged peaceful protest at the Governor’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja, demanding the assistance of the state government.
They specifically requested the deployment of JTF in Igbodu/Isiwo axis of Epe.
They carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “Help us from kidnappers.” “Save farmers, save the nation,” “Please, flush out the creeks,” “Food security is threatened’, “Save our Investments.”
A spokesperson of the protesters, Mr Ayokunle Ore, said that their farms had been under attacks by kidnappers since September, 2016.
He said that 33 persons had been kidnapped from different farms and 26 of the victims released after payment of huge ransom.
He added that seven other victims were still under the captivity of the kidnappers.
Ore said that the engagement of the police, the military, members of Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) and local vigilante groups, to flush out the kidnappers had not yielded positive result.
He stressed the need for the government to handle the high rate of kidnapping in the area as a matter of urgency to secure their investments, lives and property.
“In our desire to contribute our quota to national food security and sufficiency, we invested our lifetime savings and borrowings from banks to establish farms in the agricultural belt created by the state government.
“Some of us even relocated from abroad to come and invest in farming to respond to government call for diversification of the economy.
“We urge Governor Ambode to intervene urgently and come to our rescue by seeking the support of JTF in the area to destroy the camps of the kidnappers.
“The government should extend the mandate of the JTF currently in Ikorodu and Festac to Igbodu/Isiwo axis and adjourning creeks,” Ore said.
Addressing the protesters, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule condemned the incessant attacks by kidnappers in the area.
She said that inspite of government’s efforts to make the state safe and secure for the residents and investors, some unscrupulous persons still engage in crime and make life difficult for people.
Adebule said: “Security issues are sensitive issues and the government is not resting on its oars.
“We are doing all we can to restore peace in the area.
“Currently, the state government is speaking with the Federal Government to see how they can work with us to combat the problems of insecurity because we cannot do it alone.
“Government cannot be involved in paying ransom, but will ensure that it provide the security agencies with necessary equipment and support to contain the situation and rescue the victims.
“We sympathise with you and we beg for your understanding.
“I will relay your complaints to Gov, Ambode for further and appropriate action on the matter.”