By Daniel Kanu
Iskilu Wakili, suspected to be Fulani territorial warlord and kidnap kingpin following claims by the residents of Ibarapa community in Oyo State, who accused him to be responsible for series of kidnappings and killings in the area, was arrested during the week.
Wakili and his clan had been repeatedly fingered for various kidnappings, banditry, waste of human lives and other atrocities being committed in the area by herders in the past.
Going by reports, he was trapped by the fearless men of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and other local security groups on Sunday, March 7, 2021.
Although his culpability in the crimes for which he and his squad are accused of is yet to be established by the law court, the Ibarapa community where he and his gang reside has passed a damning verdict that he is a terror and bad influence to their community and wants him out.
Ordinarily, the arrest of Wakili was not supposed to attract any public indignation from most Nigerian patriots and groups, but for the perceived distrustful manner the police handled the issue.
In the first place, most public commentators have argued that the detention of the three OPC members who handed Wakili over to the police was condemnable, as it showed that there was a behind-the-scene maneuver at play.
Also, the poor news management that the three OPC members have been moved from Eleyele in Ibadan to Force CID at Alagbon in Lagos and flown to Abuja on “orders from above” raised the doubt that he has the protection of the “powers that be”, and this infuriated most Nigerians who feared that there will be miscarriage of justice at the end.
It was obvious that the handling of the matter appeared so political that even when the Oyo State Commissioner of Police (CP), Ngozi Onadeko made efforts to allay the fear that Wakili was still with them, nobody believed her.
At a point, Governor Seyi Makinde had to issue a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, urging residents of the state to remain calm and refrain from ethnic profiling.
He also pleaded with the people to have trust in government, as it will continue to work in the interest of the people of the state, to ensure that there is no abuse of justice.
Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode was so distressed with the entire development that he had to publish a public warning that: “Under no circumstances should Wakili be set free”, just as he argued that “If that were to happen for any reason it would threaten and jeopardize the peace process that has been put in place very badly and it would cause many to lose faith and hope in what we are trying to achieve”
Iba Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland and OPC the leader said that the tacit commitment to rid the Southwest of bandits, kidnappers, ritualists, etc have just begun and that his group will not rest until they subdue all vendors of atrocities within the region.
He said in a statement that “it is a good development and a positive signal to other criminal elements that the Southwest is no longer an abode for bandits, kidnappers, and criminal herders.
“With this development, I think the whole world will agree with me that the fight against insurgency, kidnapping, and banditry needs native intelligence, information gathering, and grassroots support from local securities and operatives.”
Keen observers of the incident say Nigeria will go nowhere with a security network that shuns federalism.
Commentators who spoke with Sunday Sun were unanimous in their views as they called on the police to charge Wakili to court as soon as possible and ensure that justice prevailed by either setting him free if not found guilty or his facing the penalty for his alleged horrendous crimes against the people of Ibarapa, Oyo State, and the Southwest.
The case of Wakili, many believe, should serve as a serious wake-up call for the Federal Government to rise to the serious challenge posed by the state of insecurity that abounds all over the country.
To continue to play the ostrich and to tackle the hydra-headed problem with a kid-glove will not serve Nigerians any good rather what is needed, analysts suggest, is to have a security network where the community, and by extension the state, will take charge of their security network as they have the full knowledge of the bad eggs within their community.
Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, told Sunday Sun that: “No outsider can keep the house better than the owner of the house, no matter how powerful you are. When we talk of state police, the people of the area know their locality well, but Buhari says you cannot have state police. That is why I said that the governors should be given control over their areas because the constitution says they are chief security officers of their states.”