To make security more effective and in line with the laws that set it up, the Oyo State Security Trust Fund, OYSSTF, is set to implement a compulsory security levy across Oyo State.
According to the government, the levy would be tailor-made to suit the economic profile of the state as well as allow corporate bodies, individuals and all residents to contribute to the security of the state.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi, represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Alake-Adeyemo, made the disclosure yesterday while addressing stakeholders at a town hall meeting entitled: ‘Public-Private Partnership in Security Funding: Introduction of Security Levy in Oyo State,’ organised by OYSSTF at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat, Ibadan.
An enabling law of the Oyo State Security Trust Fund (OYSSTF) as amended by the state House of Assembly, the Ajimobi said was to pave way for the operation of a private sector driven OYSSTF to incorporate the introduction of the security levy into law to the effect that corporate organisations, religious and other social bodies are made to pay yearly security levies to the Trust Fund.
Ajimobi noted that the security levy was introduced ‘to ensure that all stakeholders fulfil their roles as responsible citizens of the state and by contributing their quota to the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in Oyo State.
He said that “It is not in doubt that our security agencies have faced a serious shortfall in funding. Funding Oyo State Security Trust Fund is the key to achieving all these goals. On our part, this hover has granted a one per cent security tax on all contracts executed on behalf of the state government, and I am also aware that these deductions have assisted the Fund in the past year.
“For the furtherance of our agenda on safety and security, we have embraced the safe city project, which will proffer cutting edge solutions that will nip crime and criminality in the bud, especially in our major townships. We are currently installing closed circuit television (CCTV) in black spots and business districts in the city to enhance our security architecture. I ask all the stakeholders to ensure successful implementation of the security levy collection exercise that is to commence shortly.”
While describing the idea of state police as a step in the right direction, the governor reasoned that the present security federal structure of security agencies is not sustainable.
He however noted that the existing structure in the state should be strengthened and not abandoned, adding that in more than six years, the scorecard of his administration, which are peace and security, suggested that “we did not only dream about the desire to make the people of Oyo State sleep with their two eyes firmly shut, we have achieved it. We have reined in the rapacious drivers’ unions and clamped down on all brigands in the state.”
“We inaugurated the joint security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Burst’ with six zonal commands. To give the outfit the needed bite, we procured armoured personnel carriers, a fleet of patrol vehicles and equipped them with state-of-the-earth communication equipment for their operations.
“To enlist the support of stakeholders, we went a step further by floating the Oyo State Security Trust Fund to raise funds for the improvement of the security architecture of the state. The result of these efforts is a drastic reduction in crime rate and civil unrest manifesting in no major crime or robbery in the last six years”, he said.
Chairman of OYSSTF, Chief Bayo Adelabu, in his address said the organisation intends to transform the security apparatus in the state from being a reactionary one to an anticipatory one, saying, “ this vision can be achieved only if there is an upward review in funding of areas such as rehabilitation of existing barracks and quarters, procurement of arms and ammunition, purchase of vehicles, helicopters, surveillance cameras and maintenance of existing stocks as well as procurement of kits and basic equipment for officers.’
Adelabu, who stated that OYSSTF has donated 66 Hilux vans to security agencies, noted that other areas of concern include the establishment of forensic laboratories and upgrade of all police stations across the state to be information technology compliant, as provided for in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Adelabu said, “A proper fund base is needed for this transformation and the security level will be tailor-made to suit the economic profile of Oyo State. With proper fund base, Oyo State Security Trust Fund will channel these funds to the weak spots within the state security apparatus.”
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Abiodun Odude, commended the Governor Ajimobi-led administration for putting OYSSTF and ‘Operation Burst’ in place, saying with this, the government has placed security issues on the front burner. He added that security agencies have been trying their best with government’s support to nip crime and criminality in the bud, noting that security is a collective responsibility of all and sundry.
According to him, in the last one year, the police ‘have arrested more than 1,000 members of ‘One Million Boys’ and we have charged over 400 of them to court, ‘ saying the police need intelligence to work with.
President-General, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Yemi Soladoye, urged the OYSSTF to identify the peculiarities of each zone of the state such as Ibadan, Oke-Ogun, Oyo, Ogbomoso, and Ibarapa with a view to tackling insecurity headlong.
He advised that eminent people from each of the zones should be captured into sub-committees for their cities in order to ensure the effectiveness of the project.
The town hall meeting was attended by top government functionaries, members of the state executive council, service commanders in the states, royal fathers, religious leaders, traditional leaders, community leaders, sociocultural groups, traders, local security groups, artisan, representatives of market women among others.