Ekiti state: Examining insecurity challenges in recent times

Ekiti state has had its ugly experiences about insecurity challenges in the recent past. OJO OLADELE reports.

Less than few weeks to the conduct of the much awaited gubernatorial poll in Ekiti state sheduled for June 18, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said there is need to ensure that the exercise is not affected by the prevailing insecurity situation in the state.

Without mincing words, this untoward development had been raging for quite some time now thereby creating fears in the residents with the hope that government would swing into action to tame the ugly trend, but all to no avail.

Various accounts

Hardly a day passes in the recent time that kidnapping would not be recorded in some routes across the state with particular reference to Ilumoba -Ijesa-Isu-Ikole road, Ilasa-Ikole
road, Ayetoro-Otun road, Ado-Akure road, amongst others.

Incidences of herdsmen attacks is almost becoming a daily occurrence in towns and villages of the state.

These developments had discouraged investors and largely contributed to the socio-economic retrogression of the state.
Aside this, more worrisome security challenge is being experienced in some of Ekiti towns, palaces where gunmen attack monarchs with reckless abandon.
For instance, a first class monarch, the Attah of Ayede-Ekiti, Oba Adeleye Orisagbemi narrowly escaped death recently after he was attacked by unknown gunmen.

The incident according to witnesses happened between Isan and Ayede Ekiti around 9pm when the monarch was said to be returning from a meeting.
Witnesses said the bandits attempted to kidnap him, but perhaps met some resistance, a situation that led him to being shot several times.

Police confirm

The spokesperson for Ekiti State Police Command, ASP Sunday Abutu confirmed the incident.
Abutu however said the monarch was coming from Ijero-Ekiti when the incident occurred as against speculations in some quarters that he was returning from Isan-Ekiti.

Abutu said efforts were on top gear to track down the perpetrators.
However, the former chairman, Ilejemeje local goverment area, Prince Bamgboye Adegoroye and four others were also abducted by gunmen recently.

More confirmation

Revealing this, the chairman, Ifesowapo local council development area Mr Kayode Akerele said Adegoroye and one other were kidnapped along Isan-Iludun road.
“We learnt that the former local government chairman and one other occupant of of his car were driving along that route when his car was shot suddenly by gunmen who hid inside the bush.
“They had to stop because the gunshot hit their car and it was at that spot that they were abducted and we have not heard whether the family had been contacted.”
Also speaking on another abduction, the chairman of Ero LCDA, Mr. Akin Alebiosu, said three charcoal burners, were also kidnapped at Ikun- Ekiti around 6.30pm same day.

Alebiosu revealed that the leader of the charcoal burners identified as Olu, who is an indigene of Ikun-Ekiti and other victims were at the Ero River Basin for their business when the incident happended.
Alebiosu and Akerele appealed to the Police Commissioner, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, to beef up security along Ayede-Isan-Iludun- Ikun axis that is gradually becoming a residence for criminals in recent times.

Amotekun speaks

When contacted, the Commandant of Amotekun Corps in Ekiti, Brig Gen Joe Akomolafe (rtd) said the outfit is working with other security agencies to rescue the victims.

“That axis seems to be unsafe because of our boundaries with Kogi and Kwara states; so, immediately the kidnappers grab their victims, within 15 minutes, they would have driven them out of Ekiti and to a terrain that is hilly and difficult to navigate.

“Another crisis we are facing is that the kidnappers have informants among the locals, who give them information about our movements. But whatever happens, we are mapping out strategies to checkmate their activities in the areas.
“My men and other security agencies are inside the forests working hard to rescue the victims. We are after them and we won’t rest until they are freed.”

More arrests

In the meantime, the police command said it arrested seven suspects over their alleged membership of Black Axe (Aiye) and Eiye Secret Cults at Aramoko Ekiti in the Ekiti west local government area of the state.

PPRO Abutu said the suspects were arrested following the receipt of credible intelligence that the two rival cult groups were on rampage in Aramoko Ekiti.

Abutu, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, titled, ‘Ekiti State Command Arrests Seven Suspected Cultists’ stated that, “Investigation revealed that the two cult groups were fighting for supremacy and have been terrorising innocent citizens and causing nuisance in Aramoko-Ekiti.
“Upon receiving the information, the command operatives raided the scene and arrested seven suspects.”

Worriwd by these disturbing incidents, residents of Ikole-Ekiti in Ikole local government area have appealed to the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi to propose an amendment bill that would pronounce a death sentence on kidnappers.
According to residents, it is time for the state government to take drastic actions against perpetrators of kidnapping in the community.

They noted that the death penalty should be pronounced on anybody caught indulging in such a crime to serve as deterrent to others who plan to carry out the evil act.

One of the residents, Mr Bayo Ayeni, a civil servant, noted that Ekiti was no longer safe for both the children and adults because of the fear of kidnappers.

The police acting on tip off from members of the public, arrested nine suspected kidnappers that were allegedly terrorising the state in recent times.
The Commissioner of police, Mr Moronkeji Adesina said this in a statement.
The police chief said some members of the criminal gang were bolted during the operation, even as he assured that the police were on their trail.

Recounting how the operation was undertaken, the CP said following intelligence gathering and surveillance activities on April 29, 2022 at about 1 pm, they bombarded the sprawling forest at Ago Aduloju along Ijan road in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital where the hoodlums attacked the operatives with dangerous weapons.

He said, “As part of the ongoing strategic effort of the Ekiti State Police Command to rid the state of criminal elements with the aim of ensuring the security of lives and properties of the good people, the command operatives bombarded the vast forest known to be harbouring bandits in the state.

“One of the operatives sustained serious injury in an attempt to arrest the suspects.
“Those arrested were rounded up and we are on the search of those that ran away. The long arm of the law shall catch up with them,” the CP vowed.

Adesina, while assuring residents that the command would not relent in its fight against crimes and criminalities in the state sought the support and cooperation of all and sundry through the provision of timely and useful information to the police.
He added that the suspects arrested would be arraigned in court soon.
Also, a 75-year-old farmer in the state, Pa Adesoye Oguntayo was attacked and injured on his farm by herdsmen in Oke Ako-Ekiti in Ikole local government on Monday, March 28.

The police paraded seven suspects in connection with various crimes ranging from cultism, murder, burglary, kidnapping and impersonation. The arrest came barely few days after the new Commissioner of Police assumed office.

The CP, on assumption of office, promised to continue to partner with the military, intelligence agencies and communities to enhance knowledge sharing,deeper mutual understanding and develop a tight security architecture in the state.

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