Ondo State, with the sobriquet Sunshine State, is known for its tranquillity and conducive environment, has now become an unpleasant place for travellers and residents, many of whom have been victims of kidnappers.
The spate of kidnappings and ritual killings in the state has sparked several reactions from indigenes of the state.
The indigene, who took to Twitter to demand the government’s action and the commitment of security agencies, said: "Residents and even security officials in the state are no longer safe.”
Addressing the governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu, a Twitter user, @realoladele, said: “Dear Arakunrin Akeredolu, Our Parents are no longer SAFE. Our children are no longer SAFE. Our friends are no longer SAFE. Our Farmers are no longer SAFE. Our Security officers are no longer SAFE. We are all no longer SAFE in Ondo State. #SaveOndoFromInsecurity THANK YOU.”
Another Twitter user, @arakunrinajos, said: “Everyday, even on Sundays, @RotimiAkeredolu travel around the country with armed officers and blaring sirens, speeding like 'there is no tomorrow. What we have for defence and protection are our phones and maybe a key holder. #SaveOndoFromInsecurity.
"Some tiny broom wavers are here to defend their paymasters, forgetting those ones have bulletproof vehicles and armed security men. Myself, wailers, hailers and the fencists have nothing. Absolutely nothing to defend us. #SaveOndoFromInsecurity.”
Oluwafemi Sanni, @Iam_fahmooh, said: “Our lives matter in Ondo State, we demand an immediate end to kidnapping. #SaveOndoFromInsecurity”
Also, @tims1807 tweeted: “How do we attract investors to our state when there is no assurance of safety from kidnapping? @rotimiakeredolu must act to#SaveOndoFromInsecurity”
Aarosoye Ayokunle, from Akure, the state capital, also tweeted: “What is the essence of security vote if our lives aren't secured? @RotimiAkeredolu @MBuhari #SaveOndoFromInsecurity.”
Under the #SaveOndoFromInsecurity hashtag is another tweet from @AjayiOlawande, he said: “We cannot afford to let the pathway to Yorubaland be desecrated by these marauding Fulani herdsmen. If they successfully overrun Ondo, nowhere is safe in the South-west. #SaveOndoFromInsecurity.
Another user, @CitizenTosin, also urged the security agencies to close ranks and work together to fish out criminals within the state.
“There's the need to #SaveOndoFromInsecurity, due to constant cases of kidnapping and banditry. Let the security agencies close ranks and work together to fish out these criminals,” he tweeted.
Social media commentator, Kayode Ogundamisi, who is also from Ondo state, joined the Twitter campaign and shared the #SaveOndoFromInsecurity while tagging the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; President Buhari; and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Youth Group Tackles Akeredolu
The Ondo State Youth network, the body believed to be the originator of the #SaveOndoFromInsecurity hashtag on Twitter, also said: “The primary responsibility of the government is the provision of security and better welfare for citizens. In the case of Ondo State, it seems we do not have a government as kidnappers have taken over.”
The group expressed disapproval of the state government’s ‘nonchalant attitude’ to incessant kidnapping within the state, saying: "we all can't afford to get a police escort to accompany us everywhere we go to.”
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters contacted the public relations officer of the Nigeria Police force, Ondo state command, Mr. Femi Joseph but he refused to talk to our correspondent.
Mr. Joseph ended the call after our correspondent told him he was calling from SaharaReporters.
Multiple calls placed to the PRO after the first call were not answered.