Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake has made a startling revelation on the raging banditry across Nigeria.
During his inspection to the scene of last Tuesday explosion in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, yesterday, Alake told the attentive battery of reporters from print and electronic arms that powerful Nigerians who wield influence in the polity had been identified as the fire behind the thick smoke of series of abductions being witnessed in the country.
He said he unequivocally told the Senate and members of the House of Representatives during his ministry budget defence session the obstacle faced in combating that crime of banditry in the country.
“This I told them while I was defending the budget of my ministry. There is no need to hide behind a finger on this matter. But I am saying it with every sense of responsibility that this admnistration will not be intimidated by the stature and status of the culprits; we are going to deal with them at the right time,” he said.
The minister applauded Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde for doing what he described as “a yeomen job…in terms of the speed of his response to this unfortunate incident,” saying President Bola Tinubu and the Presidency are impressed.
Makinde, while speaking after a closed-door meeting with the minister, maintained that the state government is awaiting the reports of the teams carrying out structural integrity tests on 230 structures around the site of the explosion.
He added that the state would extend the temporary accommodation given to victims, while it would also ensure that Ground Zero, the codename given to Dejo Oyelese Close, is safe and secured.
He said: “We would wait for the reports from the teams carrying out the structural integrity test, but the bottom line is, first, we need to extend the temporary accomodation we had given to people.
“We also need to ensure that the place is safe and secure. All the forensic pathologists; what they are doing we have to encourage them to continue. But there is still a lot to be done.
“I don’t think we have faced this kind of calamity around here before, so people should be patient with us. We will do everything on the part of the government here to ensure that people actually get looked after.”
Alake told newsmen at Government office that “after going round the site and the hospital to see the victims and commiserate with them and their families as well as their loved ones, it is proper for me to pay a courtesy call on the governor who has done a yeoman’s job.
“He has done well in terms of the speed of his response to this unfortunate incident. You recall that I told you that the President put a phone call through to Governor Makinde to commend and sympathise with him as well as the people of Oyo State, including the victims.
“So, this is a culmination of the establishment of the acknowledgement of the Federal Government on what the governor and the state government have done, which is very remarkable.