Fear has gripped the people of Ondo State as the Nigerian Army has withdrawn its personnel from strategic places and checkpoints across the state, giving residents ominous signs of dangers ahead.
A military source attributed the withdrawal of personnel to a cold war between the Brigade Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Yakubu Yerima and the Corp Commandant of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye.
He said that the rift between the officers had been on for some time now, adding that the army commander ordered that all military checkpoints be dismantled just as he directed the affected soldiers to return to the barracks.
Yerima had reportedly stayed away from State Security Council meetings in the last six months.
The source claimed that since Yerima took over as the Brigade Commander, he had protested the operations of Amotekun on the ground that the outfit’s operations were targeted against his people.
Several attempts to speak with the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Brigade Artillery proved abortive.
Meanwhile state Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Kennedy Peretei, has ascribed the withdrawal of army personnel from checkpoints to the refusal of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to pay their allowances.
Peretei, who said the withdrawal of the soldiers portends a major threat to Ondo citizens, warned that the Nigerian Navy would also join in withdrawing its personnel from the waterways.
He explained that the deployment was “on the condition that the state government pays a token as allowances to the soldiers.”
Peretei, therefore, urged the governor to immediately pay the outstanding allowances due to the security personnel without further delay.
But the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said the PDP was making spurious efforts to weaponise a seeming situation of near sabotage.
Ojogo affirmed that the state government desires not to go into non-payment of allowances, saying: “It deserves no such efforts more so that the concerned arm of the military was yet to issue any statement in that regard."
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