Ibadan city un­der siege, begs for se­cu­rity

Weekly Trust - - News - Jeremiah Oke, Ibadan -

In spite of ef­forts of the present ad­min­is­tra­tion in Oyo State on se­cu­rity, Ibadan, the state cap­i­tal, still has se­ri­ous se­cu­rity prob­lems. Barely a month af­ter gun­men at­tacked the Popoye­moja palace of the paramount ruler of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Ade­tunji, another group last week­end stole and de­stroyed prop­erty es­ti­mated at mil­lions of naira in the same palace. Isa­le­osi, Gi­darami, Born Photo, Akala road, Iyana Asuni/Popo, Beere, Oja-Oba were among other places in the city that were at­tacked.

Though such prob­lems are com­mon in Ibadan, es­pe­cially dur­ing po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns, the re­cent one caught the res­i­dents un­aware as most were asleep when the at­tack­ers struck.

No po­lice­man was on ground in the trou­bled com­mu­nity on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day when our cor­re­spon­dent vis­ited, even as many res­i­dents had fled. Many, in­clud­ing aged men and women who have no other place to go only re­mained to keep their in­her­i­tance. Oth­ers were ten­ants who had es­tab­lished busi­nesses in the area. The com­mon busi­nesses in the area in­clude tailor­ing, sell­ing of food­stuff, pro­vi­sions and com­mer­cial mo­tor­cy­cle op­er­a­tion (Okada).

Ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses, the lat­est fra­cas came when a gang leader from Popoye­moja and Born Photo was killed at a party. His gang mem­bers al­leged that their leader was killed by a ri­val group and went to avenge his death. They went on Sun­day night but it was not a se­ri­ous fight. But on Mon­day, they re­turned and fight a broke out be­tween the two groups. They started burn­ing shops and de­stroy­ing ve­hi­cles and houses. They used guns, knives, ma­chetes, bro­ken bot­tles and other dan­ger­ous ob­jects in the fight. Sev­eral mem­bers of the two gangs were in­jured. They tar­geted houses where any mem­ber of the ri­val gang was sus­pected to be liv­ing. A res­i­dent of Gi­darami who pleaded anonymity said it was not strange to him, as such should be ex­pected in an area in­hab­ited by thugs and mis­cre­ants who are al­ways busy drink­ing and idling away.

“Those guys are mis­cre­ants, they have no jobs, they hang around all the time. If you want to prove me wrong, you can come around here by 6a.m in about a week when the cri­sis must have sub­sided. They will come back. The cri­sis started on Sun­day when some of the boys at­tended a birthday party at Popo area. I heard some guys here at­tacked them and as usual, those guys came for reprisal and also used the op­por­tu­nity to loot.

“Be­fore they burnt down the houses and shops, they stole many items in the shops. As we are here now, we are work­ing in fear. Many of the res­i­dents come around dur­ing the day but leave in the evening while many have left this com­mu­nity,” he said.

An 80-year-old woman, Mrs. Adekanbi who was res­cued dur­ing the at­tack, said the thugs ar­rived the com­mu­nity around 2.am. She said a shop in front of her house was de­stroyed and the goods in­side were taken away. The state gov­ern­ment re­cently launched a joint se­cu­rity task force co­de­named ‘Op­er­a­tion Burst’ to main­tain law and or­der but it ap­pears that has not checked ac­tiv­i­ties of crim­i­nals in the state cap­i­tal.

Though the po­lice com­mis­sioner, Bio­dun Odude, told news­men that some ar­rests had been made, some res­i­dents of Popo said those ar­rested were not the thugs who in­vaded the com­mu­nity.

The po­lice spokesman, Adekunle Ajise­butu, did not re­spond to sev­eral calls and a text mes­sage sent to him by our re­porter. Sim­i­larly, there was no word from the state Com­mis­sioner for In­for­ma­tion, Toye Aru­lo­gun on the sub­ject.

Be­fore they burnt down the houses and shops, they stole many items in the shops. As we are here now, we are work­ing in fear

The ugly face of in­se­cu­rity in Ibadan

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