Police nab family of 11 kidnappers in Ijebu-Ode
Kayode Fasua in Abeokuta
Hoodlums suspected to be armed Fulani herdsmen yesterday went on the rampage in three communities of Owode-ketu, Eegua, Igan-Alade and Igbogila in Yewa North Local Council Area of Ogun State, killing no fewer than six persons.
The Police authorities in the state, which confirmed the attack, however said only two deaths were recorded but local sources said no fewer than six persons were felled by the herders’ bullets.
While the attacks lasted, residents of the various communities reportedly ran helter-skelter, with many families still in disarray as at press time.
It was gathered that the attackers who invaded the communities in their hundreds, came on a reprisal, following a joint resolution of the communities, ordering the herders to evacuate their cattle from the host communities’ farmlands.
Meanwhile, a local independent radio station also reported yesterday’s evening that the killer herders, who were being hotly chased by security agents, had headed toward Wasimi, and were on their way to Abeokuta, the state’s capital.
Eyewitnesses recalled that the police promptly intervened but were overwhelmed as they could not the enter the forests, being the fortress of the armed herdsmen.
While speaking with THISDAY, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the attacks, but said only two persons died.
Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said, “Some hoodlums attacked communities in the Igbogila area this morning and killed two persons.
“But as I talk to you, the police are in hot chase of the criminals, to get them arrested.
“The Divisional Police Officer for the area, with reinforcement from the state command, has entered the forests, in search of the hoodlums.
“They (the police) have been complemented by local hunters, men of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), and the youths of these communities, as all have been combing the forests to apprehend the criminals,” Oyeyemi informed.
Meanwhile, THISDAY also yesterday gathered from top police sources of arrest of a syndicate of a family of 11, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, who specialised in kidnappings for ransom.
The source, which asked not to be quoted owing to the sensitivity of the issue, said the family comprising father, mother and nine children, were all professional kidnappers.
“Four of them have been arrested and are currently being held at the Eleweeran Police headquarters in Abeokuta.
“In fact, we are grateful to the Delta State Police Command that helped us to effect some of the arrests, when some members of the family of 11 kidnappers ran to that state,” the police source disclosed.
In the meantime, the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has reacted to the “perpetrators of violence in Owode-ketu, Eegua, Igan-Alade and Igbogila areas of the state”, saying that his administration would leave no stone unturned in curtailing the activities of brigands in the state.
This was just as he deployed a special task force comprising the Nigeria Police and other security agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) and local vigilance groups, with representatives of other stakeholders in the crises-prone areas of Yewa-North, Imeko-Afon and Yewa South Council Areas of the state.
He noted that in recent times, the areas had witnessed criminal assaults and killings, leading to the closure of schools, public institutions and business facilities.
Abiodun thus directed that investigations be sped up and concluded so that indicted persons could be charged to court and prosecuted in the interest of justice.
He said, “The government will leave no stone unturned in checking the activities of brigands and criminals in this state. Ogun cannot be defined by crimes and criminalities.
“Ogun does not have any haven – safe or unsafe – for killers, bandits, insurgents or cultists.
“We shall spare no action, including ruthless ones, to bring peace, public order into every hamlet, town and city in the Gateway State.
“The provisions of the Constitution and the moral authority confer on the government the right to protect the lives and properties of the people. This is sacrosanct and shall not be compromised under Governor Dapo Abiodun’s watch”, a statement issued in Abeokuta by Kunle Somorin, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, said.