Abdullahi Ibrahim was working under the scorching sun one afternoon in May but he seemed to care less. His mind was set on dismantling a car engine that appears to be putting his mechanic apprenticeship skills to the test.
The workshop where Mr Abdullahi works is behind a newly constructed police station at Owode, Ede North Local Government Area of Osun State. This area has been rattled with repeated incidents of theft and Mr Abdullahi’s workshop has suffered its own share.
Mr Abdullahi told UDEME that pilferers had on multiple occasions stolen tools and vehicle parts brought for repair. Now excited about the police station constructed just behind his workshop, Mr Abdullahi hopes that his tools and valuables will be safe once the police post becomes functional.
“They steal petty things from us, but we are hopeful that with the new police station, that would be avoided.” Mr Abdullahi told UDEME, with a ray of hope beaming from his eyes.
In July 2021, the Osun State Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode, paraded suspected criminals believed to be terrorising the Owode Ede community. The criminal gang were the ones mainly responsible for bag snatching, rape, and robbery of point of sales operators (POS), that has rocked the area, the commissioner noted.
Idris Olaide, a resident of the area, also told UDEME that some inhabitants of the area are accomplices to the criminals. He hopes that the police post would improve security in the area.
“There are touts and nuisances around this area. If you come here at night, you have to be very careful, if not, they will try to extort you,” he said. “We are hopeful that such experiences can now be something of the past once the police station becomes functional.”
The constructed but yet-to-be functional police station in Owode
In 2021, Bamidele Salam, a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives representing the Egbedore/Ede/Ejigbo federal constituency, nominated the construction of the police station for his constituents. The Border Development Commission Agency (BCDA), under the supervision of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, handled the N25 million project.
When UDEME visited the site of the constructed police station at Gbongan Ibadan expressway in May and again in June, it was observed that the building has never been put to use.
Although the building was only completed in April, residents are eager to see it function to improve security in the area.
This reporter noticed that two of the asbestos at the entrance had already fallen off. The building is locked and currently inaccessible.
While they wait for the opening of the station, residents say they have resorted to self-help, by engaging the services of night guards to secure their properties. While those who can’t afford this are left at the mercy of luck and chance since the nearest police station is about 2.3km away.
“Security in the area is not as bad as it was and this is mainly due to night guards who provide security for the area at night,” Mrs Seyifunmi Dada, a trader in the area, said.
However, residents are still hopeful that when the police station becomes functional, things will change.
“For a long time we have been having security challenges in the area and the civil defence that we have is currently not armed and there are hoodlums in the community along Elere, Kajola and Agodo axis. That place is not yet developed so these hoodlums are using it as a hideout. We believe that once the police station is there, it would be of significant benefit to us.” Alhaji Muzzamil Siyanbade, a community leader in the area, said.
UDEME also visited the division of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the area. The Divisional Officer, Stephen Adewumi, would not comment on the NSCDC’s effort in securing the area.
Who is responsible?
When UDEME reached the lawmaker over the condition of the police station in Owode. Akintayo Jimoh, the senior legislative aide to Mr Salam responded.
Mr Jimoh confirmed that the new police post in Owode was already completed and what was left was the handing over of the structure to the Nigerian Police Force.
When asked if the police station is equipped and ready for use, Mr Jimoh said that “it is not on the (appropriation) bill for it to be equipped, just the construction.”
He also said that the police have inspected the facility and were satisfied. He added that the police station would be handed over to the police after the primary elections were conducted ahead of the 2023 general elections. The primary elections have, however, been concluded since 8th June and the station is yet to be handed over to the police as of press time.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police force in Osun State, Mrs Yemisi Opalola, declined to comment on the project. She, instead, directed UDEME to the lawmaker who facilitated the project, noting that the station has not been handed over to the police.
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