A coalition of business and professional associations in Kwara State has called on the state government to address insecurity issues affecting farmers and other business communities in the state.
The people, under the aegis of Kwara Coalition of Business and Professional Associations (KWACOBPA), also charged security agencies in the state to do more proactive measures rather than reacting to cases of insecurity in some parts of the state.
Speaking with journalists on the revised Kwara State Business Agenda on the sideline of stakeholders’ meeting in Ilorin on Wednesday, the chairman of the group, Mr Olalekan Ayodimeji, urged both the state government and the security agencies to take strategic steps with complimentary use of local vigilance group to address the development.
“Every security matter is local. With such measures as security watch, members of the local vigilance group in every community would know members in their areas and map out measures to prevent outsiders from perpetrating crimes in their own community”, he said.
Mr Ayodimeji, who commended efforts of the government and security agencies so far in tackling security issues in some parts of the state, said that there are more to be done.
“Farmers constitute a large percentage of the total population in Kwara state. And we all agree that we need food for our survival, just like we need sustained and secured environment for business development. We’ve made advocacy visits to the state government, heads of security agencies in the state and we hope that the issue will be addressed”, he said.
Speaking on the revised State Business Agenda, the state business community called the attention of the state government to the economic impact of “inadequate security in business sector, deplorable condition of road network, lack of industrial and business clusters, inefficient waste management in the business environment and underdevelopment of the state’s tourism sector”.
“Inadequate security in business environment was one of the priority issues selected by the coalition and researched on by the researcher for 2016 state business agenda.
For the update of the 2016 State Business Agenda, the researcher carried out a survey on inadequate security in Business Sector and established the following findings;
i) All recommendations on inadequate security as contained in 2016 business agenda were not implemented. 76% of the respondents confirmed that purchase of 25 armored personnel carriers was not implemented. 57% of the respondents also believed that recommendation on purchase of additional 120 patrol vans were not carried out.
ii) Research survey also confirmed that security situation in the state has not improved as 295 or 54.4% of the respondents claimed that security situation has not improved. To further establish the claim the respondents were asked to rate crime as either very high, high low or indifference, out of 542, 407 or 75% of the respondents rated crime situation since 2016 as either very high or high.
(iii) On which of the security challenges has the greatest impact on the business sector, 205 or 37.8% of the respondents
voted bank robbery while highway robbery with 170 or 31.4% was voted second.
(iv) Highway robbery has the highest rate of occurrence especially in the Kwara North according to the respondents. 215 or 40% rated highway robbery has having highest rate of occurrence.
(v) Research findings also noted a devastating robbery that took place in Offa at which six banks and Divisional Police Headquarters were callously attacked. At the end of the operation, 55 people were gruesomely murdered out of which 9 were police personnel and 2 bankers.
(vi Research findings also established that these vices are blamed on non-implementation of state business agenda, illiteracy among the youth, unemployment, failure of the state to punish infractions, Nigeria’s porous borders, poor response by security agents, and failure of parents and religious leaders”.