The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, has disclosed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was with him on telephone everyday till the abducted school pupils of Apostolic Faith Group of Schools in Emure-Ekiti were released.
Governor Oyebanji said this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere.
The members of the group came on a condolence visit to his office in Ado-Ekiti.
The Afenifere delegation, led by the Ondo State Chairman of the group, Chief Korede Duyile, was sent by the National Leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, to commiserate with the Government and people of Ekiti State over the killing of two traditional rulers and abduction of some pupils of a private school and their teachers last week.
The pupils and their teachers have since regained freedom from the kidnappers’ den.
However, their driver was shot dead and burnt to ashes by the kidnappers.
Governor Oyebanji, who described the gruesome killing of the two traditional rulers as sacrilegious and “an affront to Ekiti people and the Yoruba race”, assured that the perpetrators would not go unpunished.
He also described the kidnapping of the school pupils and their teachers as a dangerous dimension, hence the need to mobilise forces to rescue the children.
He said he remained grateful to President Tinubu for staying on top of the situation, a development he revealed motivated everyone involved to put in their best in rescuing the children.
He said: “It will be a mark of ingratitude on my part if I don’t say this here today: Mr. President really tried.
“From the minute it happened till the last day the children were released, the President was talking to me on a daily basis, giving appropriate directives on the way out.
“And I want Afenifere to thank him.”
Governor Oyebanji said in spite of the release of the children, security agencies have continued the search for the perpetrators of the heinous crimes to bring them to justice.
This, he said, was necessary in order to put an end to the dastardly act.
Speaking further, Oyebanji said the entire Ekiti Obas have taken it upon themselves to defend their citizens “because the question is: If this happened to two Obas, then what is the fate of the subjects?
“So, they are putting in place structures to defend their people.
“And I also plead with Afenifere that they should be united so that they can work together.
“It is only in unison that this organisation can achieve its vision as espoused by the founding fathers.
“So, we need a united front.
“Collectively, we can combat this menace that is steering us in the face.
“I am grateful to Baba Fasoranti for sending this delegation of eminent leaders to commiserate with us.
“This speaks to the unity of our people.
“Afenifere had foreseen situations like this long ago, and that is why you have been clamouring for restructuring.
“Those opposed to the call then have now joined Afenifere in championing restructuring, state or multi-level policing, among others.
“We need Afenifere to keep speaking objectively.”
On calls on South West governors to be united on the issue of security, Oyebanji said: “It will interest you, sirs, to know that all the governors of the South West states are united on this matter of security.
“And we are collaborating on the issue.
“We have a common position.
“The demise of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) slowed things down.
“We feel it would be proper to accord him the respect and continue the process after his burial.”
Earlier while condoling the governor, the Afenifere leaders, who lamented the killing of the obas and abduction of the schoolchildren, called for the restructuring of the country to tackle security and other challenges.
The Afenifere leaders affirmed the need to strengthen the South West Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, with necessary ammunition that would make the officers effective in tackling all forms of security infiltration into the region.
They expressed the group’s appreciation to Governor Oyebanji and commended the various steps he had taken to tackle the security challenges in the state and urged him to do more to protect the people.
They also called for an urgent review of the Constitution, which they opined had become obsolete looking at the realities of the present situation.
Also at the meeting were the Deputy Governor, Chief Monisade Afuye; Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State, Paul Omotoso; Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Inter-Party Affairs, Chief Jide Awe; Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Yinka Oyebode; and Special Adviser on Governance, Hon Odunayo Ayeni.