……..One shot, Maitea, 4 others detained
A large cache of arms and ammunition and army uniforms were on Sunday recovered from Sabo area in Orile-Igbon, headquarters of Surulere North LCDA, during a search operation, conducted by a combined team of security forces comprising men of the Nigerian Army (from 2 Mechanized Division, Ibadan), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Amotekun Corps.
The security agents stormed the community at about 5:30am after receiving tip-off. Five people have been detained including two women and a tea seller (Maitea) identified as Sheu Kano.
Security forces have not briefed newsmen on the development but Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao, as well as Seriki Hausa of Orile-Igbon, Alhaji Ibrahim Adamu Shugaba confirmed the development to newsmen.
Oba Alao disclosed during a telephone interview, “Yes, it is true, some suspects were arrested, and arms were recovered. We are on top of the situation, government has been showing responsibility in combating the wave of kidnapping for ransom and genocide occurring in parts of Surulere local government, soldiers and other security forces have been combing the forests in all corners of the local government and this has been yielding positive results.
“Also, the Oyo State Commissioner for Police (Adebowale Williams) was here in my palace and we had fruitful discussions, there won’t be such security breaches again. Efforts will be intensified to rid the whole of Ogbomoso zone of criminals.”
Also, Seriki Adamu, though wary of discussing the matter, revealed the soldiers came at about 5:30am to raid the market throwing people into panic. He added “We just received message that soldiers had stormed this place. We didn’t know if they got information about this place, but they threw properties outside, ransacked the whole place.
“We asked what was going on. They said they were looking for guns, they searched people’s houses and shops. They now searched the Maitea shop, where they discovered guns. They recovered guns from other people too including two women one of whom had a rubber gun.”
His disclosure was corroborated by Abubakar Ibrahim, secretary of Sabo Orile-Igbon, who said the discoveries were a surprise, informing further that a boy was shot in the leg by the soldiers. This is just as other residents of the community confirmed the raid.
However, Seriki is of the opinion that some of the guns recovered belonged to those who used them to hunt rabbits. “I don’t know, but there are some of our hunters, they used the guns to hunt in the night. And apart from that there is one man, Awwal, he had one gun but he has died since. It is one small gun, he kept the gun with the maitea. Many guns were recovered, some of them with the rabbit they killed with the guns.”
Continuing he submitted, “They arrested Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani and Bororo people. They were looking for criminals, they got information from Ibadan hence they came here, they also collected phones from people.”
However, the Yoruba people arrested were later released when it was discovered that they were artisans, who came to their shops and had nothing incriminating in their possessions.
One of the Yoruba men initially arrested but released on the spot who however spoke under the condition of anonymity, and who is a welder, told newsmen that a customer called him that morning for a work but that as he walked towards his workshop he came across the security agents who asked him to lie face down.
He explained further, “I told them I was a welder but they asked me to lie down and I obeyed. But later they released me and others indiscriminately apprehended except those suspects. And before the security agents left they called out if they took anything such as phones from anyone and they returned every item, they didn’t manhandle anyone. They didn’t go away with anything belonging to anybody.
“The boy shot in the thigh was running away, that is why they shot him, why did he run? The security agents didn’t do anything that warranted anyone fleeing. They whisked away about six or seven people, these are people they recovered guns and army uniforms from. One of the women was in possession of army uniforms. What was she doing with them?”
Seriki meanwhile admitted that strange people had infiltrated them, revealing that one of the kidnappers of Akala Farm’s supervisor, Christopher Bakare, was tracked to Sabo Igbo but escaped.
Asked what he had done to rid the area of criminals, he stressed he wanted peace and that that was why they were doing everything to make the market grow but that tribalism is entrenched.
His secretary noted, “We want peace, there may be bad eggs but we will rectify everything. There is lack of cooperation however among the people in the market, the Seriki does not have total support of the people, some support, some do not, tribalism is entrenched here.
“Despite being Seriki he is gainfully employed, he deals in grain merchandize, in fact he supplies maize to Akala Farm, and he has cattle herds. So, why should people question his source of money? He is not lazy. He goes to the farm every day.”
The Seriki at this point interjected, “I am not a thief, I have my works.”
The welder however threw light on why Yoruba residents at Sabo Igbon withhold support from the Seriki saying, “We have always suspected some of them. Many of them are involved in shady deals which we suspected. There was a time some of their boys were arrested with AK-47 guns buried at a dumpsite in their area. They were later released on bail.
“And if you see these boys they are highly respectful, when they see you they will prostrate hailing, “Egbon,” “Egbon,” not knowing some of them are criminals. That is why we youths of Igbon are aloof from them.”
He stressed that those arrested looked innocent and that there are others they suspected previously while thanking the security operatives for their effort.
It is recalled that axis of Surulere local government recently came under attacks of kidnappers with three abduction incidents occurring within a spate of three weeks with the two victims of the last incident, an hotelier, Gbenga Owolabi and one of his workers, Rachael Opadele, a 500 level student of Ladoke Akintola University if Technology, LAUTECH, being killed along with the okada operator that conveyed the ransom money to the kidnappers’ den.
The incidents had sparked a protest in Ogbomoso to call government’s attention to the menace and to ignite efforts to curb the worsening situation.