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Brigade Commander Promises Improved Security For University Community *Plans military base along Ilishan – Ago-Iwoye Road

The Nigerian Army has expressed its readiness to establish a military base along the Ilishan – Ago-Iwoye Road as part of proactive measures to boost security around Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye. The military base will complement existing security initiatives put in place by the University Management to protect the lives and property of staff, students and other members of the community.

The Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Brigadier-General Adewale Abiodun Adekoya, disclosed this on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 during a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde. The Army chief said his visit was aimed at seeking ways to enhance synergy between the Brigade and OOU in view of the spate of attacks and kidnapping of students in educational institutions in some parts of the country.

Brigadier-General Adekoya, who has served in different capacities until his recent posting, assumed command of the Brigade in April, this year. He was accompanied on his visit to OOU by the Commanding Officer, 22 Support Engineering Regiment, Ilese Barracks, Ijebu-Ode, Major Y. I. Isiaku, and some military officers.

Speaking on the occasion, the Commander said security threats exist everywhere and there was need to always put in place necessary and proactive measures to deter identified threats. He said security is everyone’s responsibility, urging all stakeholders in the University Community to play their respective parts in ensuring adequate security.

According to him, OOU is crucial to the development and expansion of Ago-Iwoye community and no effort should be spared in safeguarding it against all forms of security threats.

He revealed that based on the request of Governor Dapo Abiodun, the Chief of Army Staff has approved the “instrument” to deploy soldiers for security purposes in the state. The operation, he stated, would be carried out under the code name “OP MESA.”

Brigadier-General Adekoya further disclosed that, “The reason why I’m here is for us to take proactive measures, not reactionary measures; proactive in the sense that you put in measures that deter rather than trying to be reactive when it has happened.

Unfortunately, for most of our civilian counterparts, they don’t see the efforts of security men until there is a crisis. Security begins when you use it to deter. What really stops anything from happening is the measures you take, the deterrence you put in place. That’s what makes nothing to happen. With what is happening all over the country, we need to be more proactive. We need to think.”

The Commander appealed to stakeholders not to pay lip service to the issue of security but explore all avenues to make the environment safe always.

He further added, “Security is part of our constitutional roles, it’s not only war we know how to fight. It is said that military aid to civil authority is one of our constitutional roles. There must be an instrument to bring us out. That instrument we don’t have it yet in this state, even though the executive Governor is already working on it.

He is working on  it in the sense that he has sought for permission from the Chief of Army Staff on 11th of November, 2020 and on 8th of December, 2020, the Chief of Army Staff had approved it. However, it is yet to commence in the state. And until Operation MESA commences in the state, I have no instrument to be called out. This is very key to everyone of us in this state.

When that Operation MESA is activated, then I have an instrument to be called out. However, while we wait for that, it doesn’t stop us from working ahead. So, we need to put heads together.”

The Commander also disclosed plans by his Brigade to hold “Monthly Civil-Military Activities” in the 20 local government areas of the state towards promoting cordial relationship between soldiers and the civilian populace. He stated that the exercise would be flagged off in Ijebu North Local Government Area. At the planned event, he said free medical outreach would be conducted while members of the community would also be sensitized on the dangers of cultism, drug abuse and other social vices.

He explained that, “the civil-military activity is a kind of relationship where the military endears itself into the hearts of the civil populace so that the civil populace will not always look at us like unfriendly human beings.

The civil-military activity is about encouraging the youths to join the military. The essence of civil-military relationship is also to ensure that the citizens or indigenes see us as partners, not as enemies. We are the people’s army.”

Earlier in his remarks while welcoming Brigadier-General Adekoya, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, said the University authorities were willing to cooperate with the Nigerian Army in promoting safe and secured society. He assured that necessary strategies had been put in place to ensure adequate security in the four campuses of the institution located in Ago-Iwoye, Ayetoro, Ibogun and Sagamu.

The Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola, hinted that the University was considering a partnership with the military to introduce and run some academic programmes like Criminology in no distant future.

“The University has three Colleges, 13 Faculties and 53 departments with 75 academic programmes. We have a stable academic calendar in this institution. Currently, we have 96.4 percent accreditation. By the end of this year, we should be able to have 100 percent accreditation for all our programmes,” he stated.

Principal Officers in attendance at the visit included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Charles Adekoya; the University Registrar, Mr Femi Ogunwomoju; the Librarian, Dr Adebambo Oduwole; and the Bursar, Mr Semiu Makinde.

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