Afenmai Leaders Unveil Oduma Squad To curb Insecurity


The Afenmai leaders of thoughts have taken practical and proactive steps to protect their various communities against further attacks with the formation and unveiling of a local vigilante outfit code-named Oduma Protection Squad, OPS.

The newly formed Oduma Protection Squad, OPS, is expected to provide a 24/7 security cordon for the senatorial district as well as ward off the undesirable criminal elements who have made life almost unbearable for the inhabitants.

In the Afenmai local parlance, the Oduma refers to the lion. The lion is a ferocious beast that devours its prey and as such, the OPS is expected to protect the Afenmai territory from alien invasion and also hunt down those who attempt to perpetuate any form of criminality within its borders.

Coincidentally, the unveiling of the OPS security network tied into the recent visit to the district by the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who, while addressing stakeholders at a town hall meeting, spoke on community policing and the plans of his administration to render full support to the local vigilantes as a way to secure the Edo North district as well as other senatorial districts in the state.

The OPS is the brainchild of the Amalgamated Afenmai Forum, AAF, with over 20 other group affiliates across the district. Some Afenmai leaders first mooted the idea of a local security network in 2021, at the peak of the kidnappings and abductions ravaging the district. The idea floated for a while until it was finally concretized at the first-ever Afenmai Security Summit where the Afenmai leaders acceded to the idea and then proceeded to lay out the modalities for its formation.

: In his short but poignant address at the ceremony to unveil the OPS, held in Auchi, the Etsako West council headquarters, the AAF chairman, Dr. Mustafa Lecky, who is the Galadima of Auchi kingdom and also a former INEC National Commissioner, said the OPS as a local security initiative to end the menace posed by the criminal elements has come to stay, adding the OPS is a response to the clarion call for the safety of the Afenmai people, stating further that the security outfit will carry out its activities in partnership with the state government as well as other relevant security agencies in the state.

He said, “The OPS was conceived as a paramilitary outfit with 350 well-trained personnel and structured as follows; one, the OPS Infantry foot soldiers; two, the rapid response squad (RRS) which can be deployed simultaneously across the six local government areas of the Edo North district in response to all manner of distress calls; and, three, the Intelligence Unit to gather intel and process same for combat use.

“We painstakingly selected the best from the pool of the existing local vigilantes and hunters and also ensured they were profiled and trained on the rules of engagement in conflict situations by the security agencies. There was also a deliberate effort on the part of the AAF to strike a balance in the composition of the OPS to promote harmonious work relations among the various OPS arms. Many of those who applied for the OPS job from the existing community vigilantes were not accommodated because of the paucity of funds but we have also taken notice of their enthusiasm and would like to assure them that this is a going concern”.

Dr. Lecky also gave an insight into the command and control structure of the security outfit, saying it is headed by two Commander-Generals who are to be assisted by six Operational Commanders and six Deputy Commanders.

He said the top hierarchy of the security outfit will meet either weekly or otherwise as may be dictated by exigencies of the time, to chart its operational guidelines, adding the Justice Development and Peace Commission, JDPC, which serves as the secretariat of the AAF, will coordinate the work of the OPS.

According to him, the OPS, without a doubt, has recorded remarkable exploits in helping to tame the spate of insecurity that befell the district, stating that the cost-benefit analysis of its gains in safeguarding the neighbourhood and keeping the criminal elements at bay far outweighs its losses in terms of casualties

Dr. Lecky who also hinted that the AAF executive is satisfied with the records of the OPS at the various Police DPOs praised the security outfit for living up to the billing despite the numerous obstacles it has had to contend with in the past year

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