From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
the recent killings of 10 persons in Akure, Ondo State, during a cult clash by members of the Eiye and Aiye confraternities and the alleged killing of Olumide Odimayo in the hands of kidnappers may have gingered the state Police Command to renew its fight against crime, especially kidnapping and cultism.
Akure has lately been notorious for cultism, kidnapping and rituals. The level of kidnapping in the state has equally increased in recent time, making it a haven for kidnappers. Major kidnapping activities are carried out especially in the riverine areas of the state.
In a space of one week, no fewer than four persons were kidnapped. The victims included a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Olumide Odimayo, who was kidnapped in his residence at Igbotu in Ese-Odo Local Government Area and later found dead near a river in the town. Others were former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, the Onipaya of Ipaya Akoko and the former regent of Akungba Akoko.
However, the abduction and killing of Odimayo opened the eyes of both government and police to step up the fight against kidnapping and other crimes. Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Hilda Harrisson, stressed the readiness of the police to ensure that kidnapping becomes a thing of the past in the state.
To make true her words, she paraded suspected killers of Odimayo, many of who confessed to be the brains behind his abduction and killing. One of the suspects was a palm winner tapper, Francis and his son, David. Six other suspects were also said to be involved in complicity.
She said the suspects were arrested with 10 mobile phones, one Ak 49 rifle and 21 rounds of live ammunition by detectives with the support of local vigilantes in Igbotu.
David who was found with the AK49 said they collectively planned the kidnap for ransom and expressed regrets that Odimayo died in the river they dropped him while being chased by local vigilante. He said he was made to join the kidnapping gang by of one of his friends now at large.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, said police are determined to ensuring that the state is free from kidnapping and other illicit acts. He added that police authorities have mapped out strategies to carry out the exercise in a way that would yield positive results.
He said the efforts of the police also led to the discovery of kidnappers and ritualists’ hideout in Alagbaka, Akure, where some domestic materials were found. He said police have already commenced the prosecution of those allegedly traced to the building reportedly owned by a judge. The building has been put under surveillance by the police.
Joseph disclosed that police traced to the uncompleted building three suspects said to be ex-convicts who recently regained freedom. He said the suspects were initially arrested in different parts of the state following a tip-off by members of the public:
“We want to give this state a new name. We want to change the security status of this state. We are determined to ensure that peace reigns in this state because everybody is embarrassed with the security situation in Ondo State. We shall not allow this to continue.”