Terrorist presence in Yewa threat to peace in South West, Benin Republic, civil right group warns

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Terrorist presence in Yewa threat to peace in South West, Benin Republic, civil right group warns

Monday, March 08, 2021  Armed groups occupying Yewa communties in Ogun State pose danger to security and livelihood in South West and Benin Republic, the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) said on Monday. The group said if the budding armed cell in Yewa is allowed to grow, the terrorists may replicate in Ogun State,  the violence and chaos in North East and North West in the shortest time.

Armed groups are currently in Yewa communities of Iganna, Ibeku, Opebu, Igbo-Oko, communities in Ogun State. In the past few years, no fewer than 60 people have either been killed, kidnapped or maimed by through the rising profile of armed insurgents in the area.

NHRC said the terrorists occupying s in the next few months may ensure residents of Yewa in Ogun State face further attacks  with far reaching consequences on sub-regional security adding that it is a matter of time that the armed cell in Yewa will establish a stronghold difficult to crack.

In a statement on Monday, the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) a coalition of over 100 civil society organisations said the conditions that led to the displacement of thousands of people in Yewa remain fundamentally the same.
The statement signed by the NHRC officials Adewale Adeoye, Kudu Abubakar and Chibuzor Ogbonaya said Yewa indigenous people continue to live in fear and trembling following the continuous attacks on them by armed terrorists group.

The group calls on the Federal Government to send troops to dislodge the armed cells before it is too late.
“We call on the Federal Government to address the grievous security situation in Yewa. As we speak, thousands of indigenous people in Yewa are in Benin Republic. They were displaced from their ancestral homeland. There is high probability that Yewa may emerge as a theater of more grievous cases of kidnapping and terrorist activities unless concrete efforts are taken to deal with the situation” NHRC said. It urged the FG and the South West states not to see the problem as a local challenge leaving it for Ogun State alone to resolve.

The group whose eighteen  officials visited some of the communities in Yewa at the weekend said though the Ogun State Government had launched Amotekun in the area, there are doubts  about the capacity of the local outfit to deal with the emerging problem of terrorism in the area. The NHRC said with the sophisticated weapons associated with the the terrorists, Amotekun is not in a position to dislodge them.

“What we see is that this armed group is establishing a stronghold in Ogun State using Yewa as its hub. The communities the terrorists occupy are largely border towns. They are also active in the forests located in borders in the area. The implication is that they are likely to have access to small arms. They are in the best position to receive weapons through the seized border from as far as Niger and the Maghreb region” NHRC said

The group said it has written a letter to the National Assembly calling on the lawmakers to impress on security operatives to enforce law and order in the area.

“There are signals of greater conflict in the Yewa area. The occupation of some of the forests by armed groups remain a source of worry to locals. It poses danger not only to Yewa community but also to Ogun State, its environs and the entire South West. We expect the Federal Government to take drastic action to flush out the bandits. If nothing is done, the small group may develop into a major triangle of evil sooner than expected. This was exactly how the problem started in Bornu State,” the group said.
NHRC said it will launch local and international campaign to ensure that normalcy returns to the Yewa communities to prevent greater conflcit and violence that may come in the few months ahead.

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