From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Four men have been hacked to death at Idiyan village, Igangan, in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State by people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in what seemed like a reprisal attack, less than 24 hours after a suspected territorial warlord and kidnap kingpin, Iskilu Wakili, was arrested by the operatives of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).
The killing of the four persons was revealed by the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, in a statement made available to reporters by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi.
According to Adams, the four men were hacked to death at about 2 am on Monday at the village. He said that two among the men were said to be members of the community police in the area. Igangan is the same community where a mob evicted the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Saliu, on January 22 over allegations of kidnappings for ransom, rape, killings, and destruction of farmlands.
He explained that the four men were killed in the most gruesome manner, adding that audio and pictorial evidence at his disposal indicated that the killers have been terrorising the village and its environs, engaging in untold kidnappings and killings.
Adams further alleged that criminal elements in Ibarapa have collected over N800 million as ransom from their captives, stating: ‘Wakili men have displaced more than a million residents in the over 10 villages in Oke-Ogun. They have raped, and killed residents at will. The late Alhaja Sherifat Adisa (a member of Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria, IPMAN), and the late Dr Fatai Aborode (a mechanised farmer) and several others were killed, and they are still on rampage till today.
‘They have been terrorising our people for more than six years. Wakili was a comedian, pretending to avoid being investigated. He was hale and hearty but started pretending shortly after he was captured.
‘It is sad that kidnapping and killing still continue unabated without any clue as to the time it will end. Today, four men were hacked to death at Idiyan village, and it is sad and most unfortunately that the police have not been able to unravel the killers till the present time.’
Adams expressed worry that the security situation in the South-West, maintaining that the situation could be much worse if not for the efforts of the OPC. The Yoruba leader warned violent herdsmen to stay away from the region, disclosing that OPC and other local security operatives would continue to ensure that the region is safe for residents.
Adams, reacting to the arrest of four members of the OPC that nabbed the alleged ‘notorious kidnapper,’ he said it ‘is purely an admittance of failure for the police to arrest our gallant men that had assisted them in nabbing the notorious kidnapper, Wakili, and three of his men.
‘With the detention of the OPC members, it shows, that the police are ready to frustrate the efforts of the people. The police that are supposed to commend the joint security team for complementing their efforts went ahead to detain them unjustly, alleging arson and killing of an unknown person.
‘Up till now, the police have failed to unravel the killers of the four men. People are beginning to lose confidence in the ability of the police. It will be disastrous for the police to lose the respect of the people.’
Adams urged the police to release the members, and concentrate on getting rid of the Igangan forests of bandits and kidnappers.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state, Mr. Olugbenga Fadeyi, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), could not be reached on his mobile phone at the time of filing this report. He did not pick the calls made to his line and he did not respond to a WhatsApp message to him as well.
But the police spokesperson had stated in a statement he issued on Sunday evening that OPC members had ‘invaded Kajola community in Ibarapa axis of the State. The invasion was reportedly aimed at arresting one Wakili, a Fulani by tribe, who is alleged to be the sponsor and mastermind of various criminal attacks against the people/farmers of Yoruba origin in the community.’
Fadeyi stated that the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, ‘quickly moved into action and preliminary findings revealed that some OPC members went to Kajola community in Ibarapa North Local government Area of Oyo State. While there, the house of the Wakili in question was set ablaze, while a female (the identity of who is yet to be ascertained) was burnt in the fire and Wakili (about 75 years old and blind) with two other persons were picked up.
‘The three of them are presently in the custody of the police. The Commissioner of Police has directed that Wakili (due to his frail appearance and state of health), be moved to the hospital, while others are being interrogated. Others being interrogated are the OPC members, involved in arson and murder… Anybody that has any case against Iskilu Wakili should report it to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Iyaganku, Ibadan for discreet investigation.’