Following the arrest of some members of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, loyal to Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, Vanguard gathered that the OPC members have been transferred to Force Headquarters, Abuja, allegedly on the orders of a top presidential aide.
The OPC members were part of a joint security team that apprehended an alleged notorious Fulani herder, Abdullah Wakilu, at Ayete in Oyo State.
Wakilu has been variously accused by indigenes of Ibarapa area of masterminding kidnappings and killings of innocent people in the area.
They were said to have been rounded up by Oyo State Police Command.
But a source told Vanguard that the OPC members involved in the arrest were first transferred from Oyo Police Command to Force CID in Alagbon, Lagos, from where they were taken to Abuja.
The source, who was privy to Wakili’s arrest, said a top presidential aide had warned some traditional rulers in Ayete and Ibarapaland not to touch Wakilu.
Wakili declared untouchable —Source
The source said: “I told the OPC guys not to arrest Wakilu because the Oba of Ayete told me that there is a presidential order on Wakili and that he should not be touched.
“When the team that went to arrest Wakili got there, I was called and I told them that members of our group should back down from the operation and that those going there to apprehend Wakilu would be arrested.
“Oba Ayete said a top presidential aide called him and warned him that nothing must happen to Wakilu. All the steps taken by the OPC guys and the team were already known by the Presidency. All the OPC guys arrested are on their way to Abuja. Wakili has foot soldiers doing the work for him.
“If you observed well, Wakilu pretended that he was not well. They burnt the man’s house but the police are now claiming that they burnt Wakili’s wife in it. That is the case the police will use against the OPC boys.
“It was a trap set for the OPC boys and they will be jailed for it. Wakilu was used as bait for a trap. I was reliably informed that they have been moved from Eleyele and they are currently at Force CID at Alagbon in Lagos.
“From there, they have been taken to Abuja. Sunday Igboho would have also been arrested but he withdrew at the last minute.”
The arrest of the OPC members came as Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, yesterday, vowed to prevent a miscarriage of justice on the recent arrests of some OPC members.
Similarly, the arrest also elicited angry reactions from the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba, Iba Gani Adams; the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere; Pa Ayo Adebanjo, the Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF; the Middle Belt Forum, MBF and the Mzough U Tiv Worldwide.
We won’t condone miscarriage of justice — Makinde
Meanwhile, Governor Makinde in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, urged residents of the state to remain calm and refrain from ethnic profiling.
He also urged 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 miscarriage of justice.
The statement read: “Let me also talk about the issue of security, which is also germane. I am aware of what is going on at Kajola in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.
“I will like to use this opportunity to tell our people that the government is doing everything within its powers to ensure that there is no miscarriage of justice. Anyone that is found wanting or has broken the law, irrespective of their ethnic background or religion, would be dealt with by the law of the land.
“People should not go into overdrive. I have asked the Commissioner of Police to see me today (yesterday) and I have been given the assurance that they will do a thorough investigation into the security situation in the area.
“I also want to appeal to our people to be calm and refrain from ethnic profiling. Let us have trust in the ability and capacity of the people saddled with the responsibility of maintaining law and order within our state.
“It is the government that we have put in place and it will continue to work in the interest of the people of the state.”
Wakili still with us — Oyo CP
However, Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Ngozi Onadeko, Monday, insisted that the arrested suspected Fulani warlord, Iskilu Wakili is still in police custody at the state Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
While speaking with journalists at the headquarters of the state Police command in Eleyele, Onadeko said any residents with proven evidence of atrocities against the suspects should come forward for proper investigation.
The commissioner of police also disclosed that some members of the OPC are also being interrogated by the command.
Speaking with journalists, the suspect, Wakili said he was away to Cotonou about a week ago and retuned about same day, adding that his house was attacked by some members of the OPC who took him to Ayete Police station.
Wakili, however, denied all allegations leveled against him, adding that two of his children had been kidnapped on two occasions during which he paid ransom.
In another development, Onadeko said the seven suspects arrested in connection with the recent mayhem at Shasha market, were handed over to the police for prosecution by officers of the Nigerian army.
Onadeko confirmed that the suspects have been charged to court, adding that residents should desist from ethnic profiling of crimes in the state.
Police frustrating efforts of people — Aare Adams
Expressing anger over the arrest, leader of the OPC, Aare Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, alleged that four men were killed in the most gruesome manner, adding that the audio and pictorial evidence at his disposal indicated that the killers have been terrorising the village and its environs, engaging in untold kidnapping and killing.
He said: “Wakili’s men have displaced more than a million residents in over 10 villages in Oke-Ogun. They have raped and killed residents at will. The late Alhaja Sherifat, and the late Dr. Fatai Aborode and several others were killed, and they are still on a rampage till today.
“They have been terrorising our people for more than six years. Wakili is a comedian, pretending to avoid being investigated. He was hale and hearty but started pretending shortly after he was captured.
“Sadly, kidnappings and killings 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 unfortunate that the police have not been able to unravel the killers till the present time.”
While reacting to the arrest of four OPC members, he said it was an admittance of failure for the police to arrest “our gallant men that assisted them in nabbing the notorious kidnapper, Wakili, and three of his men.”
He said: “With the detention of the OPC members, it shows that the police are ready to frustrate the efforts of the people. The police that is 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, and up till now, the police have failed to unravel the killers of the four men.
“People are beginning to lose confidence in the police; it will be disastrous for the police to lose the respect of the people.”
It’s injustice under Buhari — Afenifere
Also faulting the arrest, Afenifere alleged that the arrest was the mark of injustice under the Buhari administration.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said: “This is the mark of injustice under the Buhari regime. If Wakilu had been a nuisance to the Yoruba community for a long period and has been terrorizing the people and the Nigerian security forces have done nothing to him, the people have been courageous to arrest Wakili peacefully.
“In a normal society, the law should take over and ensure he is prosecuted but criminals and bandits are favourites under the Buhari regime and that is why we are not surprised that instead of prosecuting Wakilu, they have arrested the OPC people who have done a great job.
“We are not surprised and we know that is the next agenda of the Buhari regime. We cannot go on like this.”
Also reacting, Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, said: “I am not surprised. 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.”
Time is ripe for state police — Agbekoya
On its part, the Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olatunji Bandele, said: “The position of Agbekoya in respect of the arrest of the Fulani warlord Wakilu, by the combined team of other security stakeholders in Oyo State, is an indication that there is need for collaboration among government security agencies like the Police force.
“The time is also ripe for the establishment of state police because the Nigeria Police Force, as it is now, is not all that effective in the rural areas, especially around our land borders and forests.
“Another very glaring factor is that men of the Nigeria Police Force are not loyal to the people they are set up to serve and as a result, they compromise the interests of the people and the nation at large.
“There is an urgent need to restructure the Nigeria Police Force and the country’s security architecture to be able to fight insecurity in our society.”
Presidency must shun nepotism, says PANDEF
PANDEF, however, urged the Presidency to shun acts of nepotism which it said was capable of causing chaos in the country.
PANDEF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ken Robinson, said: “That is the reality of living in Nigeria, that those who perpetrate crimes are protected, why the victim is being victimised.
“We see it in the South-South, in the South-West, Middle-Belt, everywhere. We see the activities of these killer herdsmen being tolerated and protected and the victims are the ones arrested by the security agencies.
“This informed why we had cautioned that the presidential order to the military to shoot-on-sight anyone seen in the bushes carrying an AK-47 rifle, could also be jeopardized by the biased behaviour of the military and it is drawing from the body language of the presidency.
“So we could have a situation where hunters in the Southern part of the country could be killed in the forest where they go hunting and the killer herdsmen and bandits would be carrying AK-47 and molesting and killing innocent people.
“This situation can cause crises in the country. People cannot continue to accept the behaviour by security agencies, who are meant to be protecting lives and property dispassionately. It is not good for the unity and progress of Nigeria.”
We’re living in a banana republic, says M-Belt Forum
Decrying the arrest of OPC members, the National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said: “The arrest of the OPC members by the police is an indication that we are living in a banana republic.
“In the first place, Amotekun wouldn’t have been there if there isn’t a failure in the policing of the state.
“If all is well with Nigeria, there wouldn’t have been any need for all these vigilantes around. So it all has to do, first and foremost, with the failure of policing of the state.
“Since Amotekun has been given legal backing in the South-West and recognized as such in the country, it is, therefore, unacceptable for the federal police to intervene in that manner over the arrest of alleged wanted bandits and kidnap kingpins.
“In the first place, OPC didn’t just arrest them for doing nothing. It is a total failure of the state.
“It is unfortunate that we are operating something more of a banana republic where laws and rules are not obeyed and it is sad that we have degenerated to this level.
“If care is not taken, because we are already at the precipice, we may be going down the drain, that is the unfortunate situation we are in.”
Another show of shame—MUT
The President-General of Mzough U Tiv Worldwide, Mr. Iorbee Ihagh, described the development as another show of shame and act of turning the law on its head.
Ihagh said: “That order of arrest must have come from the Federal Government which is a sad development.
“It is certainly not right. If one arrests a criminal and hands him over to the police, the next thing is investigation and then a trial of the suspected criminal.
“You do not go-ahead to arrest those who worked so hard to arrest the suspects. It is an act of turning our law on its head. It is shameful and condemnable.”
This is a controversial issue — ACF
On its part, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) declined to comment on the issue.
ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said: “Sorry, we don’t have enough information on this rather controversial issue to comment.”
One more suspect arrested as hunters, OPC, Police search for kidnap suspects
Meanwhile, as the pursuit for gunmen who kidnapped two travellers along Ife-Ibadan expressway continues, local hunters and the OPC have arrested a suspect involved in the kidnap.
Police personnel, the Hunters Group of Nigeria and the OPC, yesterday, engaged the kidnapper in a gun battle before he was eventually arrested.
Sources confided inVanguard that the arrested suspect, identified as Muhammadu, was on an errand to fetch water for others when he was trailed by hunters and OPC but on noticing their presence, shot at them which attracted attention.
Coordinator of the Hunters Group of Nigeria, Nurein Hammed, said the suspect was arrested, adding that they secured the release of a victim.
While corroborating Nurein’s position, the OPC coordinator in Osun State, Mr. Deji Aladesawe, said: “It is true we have arrested one other suspect, apart from the three arrested by the police. The fourth suspect engaged our men in a gun duel before he was overpowered and handed over to the police.
“We are not leaving the forest. As I am talking to you, our men have gone deep into the forest to close in on the other perpetrators.”
Also, the police spokesperson in the state, Yemisi Opalola, confirmed the arrest of one other suspect and rescue of one of the kidnapped victims.
Opalola said: “One of the kidnapped victims has been released, while another suspect was arrested by the joint efforts of security operatives sweeping the forest since Sunday morning.
“The operatives will not back down; they have proceeded into the forest with the search and rescue operation and we are hopeful that the abductors will be apprehended.”