How arrest of Olowofela, others punctured ethnic profiling of crimes in Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara

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Other suspected members of Olowofela's gang

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*We didn’t say killers of 2 Obas are Fulani – Ekiti PPRO

*Allegation of kidnap mastermind to tarnish my name – Olowofela

*Investigations ongoing – Kwara PPRO

*Girl arrested wish him victim of kidnap – Report

*Go after perpetrators ‘whoever they are’ – Sultan

*Not moving agaibst criminals allows ethnic orifiling – Sarkin Fulani of Lagos 

*Kilings of monarch unacceotable – Atayero

By KEMI KASUMU and OUR REPORTERS

Attempt to portray insecurity in the Yoruba Land of South West, particularly Ekiti State and, by extension to some Yoruba speaking neighbouring North Central states of Kwara and Kogi, as an extention of a purported Fulani jihadist movement to capture the land,  has again suffered a setback with latest information puncturing the divisive narratives going on.

Olowofela after arrest by police.

Major Nigerian media had, following the killing of two traditional rulers in Ekiti State, reported arrest of one Fulani man by name Baboga Alhaji, allegedly said to have confessed to being part of the killers of the takings, promising to cooperate with security agents in locating and apprehending the others.

The DEFENDER can comfortably report that there is mile apart between what has been fed to the public over the development and what the truth of the matter really is.

This is coming as the real perpetrators, suspected to be culpable in the acts of banditry against Yoruba Land are largely Yoruba people, themselves, some of who are now in custody and those arrested are helping security agencies to locate and apprehend the others.

It will be recalled that two Ekiti traditional rulers were killed on Monday January 29, 2024 by yet to be identified assailants but among the Yoruba people of South West where Ekiti is located, a quick judgment was concluded to name even the unknown gunmen as Fulani people.

The Alara of Ara-Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, third of three Obas in the car before before the attack, further compounded the worrisome widespread misgivings as he impressed in his media interview that their attackers are Fulani people, who killed his colleagues namely; the Onimojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba (Professor) Olatunde Samuel Olushola, and Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, Oba David Ogunsakin, on the day he said he escaped from the scene of crime not by magical powers but by running.

But when The DEFENDER called the Ekiti State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Sunday Abutu, for clarifications on the reported arrest of the Fulani man, he debunked and dismissed the media reports as untrue.

Abutu said his command never told anybody that it arrested any Fulani person, who confessed to be one of killers of the Yoruba Obas.

In The DEFENDER’s report titled, “We didn’t say killers of two monarchs are Fulani”, the Ekiti PPRO in a telephone conversation Tuesday afternoon was, however, said to have confirmed arrest of nine suspects following the killing of the two monarchs and abduction of school children along with their teachers but did not confirm they are Fulani people.

“I cannot say they are Fulani but we arrested them in the bushes. What we found out is that videos and photos of arrests made in the past are now being circulated around by some people to create impression they are fresh arrests,” he said.

In another development, an Ekiti indigenous business man alleged to be leader of kidnap syndicate terrorising Ekiti, Kogi and Kwara states, Chief Oyebanji Olowofela, was reportedly arrested, according to media reports on Monday.

Olowofela, an octogenarian, is based in Igbara Odo, Ekiti State with a chain of business enterprises cutting across the state, including a sawmill in Irele, the axis where the nefarious activities of the abductors is most pronounced, we gathered.

He was said to have been arrested by a combined team of security apparatus from Kwara State, who stormed Ijowa Ekiti, in Ajoni Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Monday morning and dispatched a team to effect his arrest from his Igbara-Odo abode.

It was joy mixed with shock when Olowofela was brought to Ijowa by the detached team in cuffs as villagers expressed surprise that he could be linked with the dreaded activities that have formed the nightmare of the people overtime.

Olowofela and his gang are believed to be responsible for recent killings of the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin, the Olumojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Samuel Olatunde Olusola and the Olukoro of Ikoro, Kwara State, Oba Olusegun Aremu-Cole.

Although Ekiti State Police Command said it knew nothing about the arrest of Olowofela but promised to make its findings and get back to The DEFENDER, an impeccable source in the state confirmed arrest of the Yoruba man alleged to have masterminded the killings of the kings in both Ekiti and Kwara states.

Since police headquarters in Ilorin was said to have effected the arrest, The DEFENDER went a step further getting in touch with PPRO of the Kwara State Police Command, DSP Ejire Adetoun Adeyemi, for her comment but she promised Tuesday to respond as she claimed to be in a meeting.

“Good afternoon sir. I will get back to you please,” DSP Adeyemi said on Tuesday in a WhatsApp message responding to The DEFENDER’s enquiry.

Meanwhile, it was gathered Thursday the actihities that culminated into the arrest of Olowofela, an octogenarian businessman indigene of Ekiti State.

Two suspects of Yoruba background were allegedly arrested in Omuaran, Kwara State and have been suspected to be among those responsible for the Kwara, Kogi and Ekiti kidnapping incidents and killing of traditional rulers.

“These are the faces of the real killers of Koro-Egbe’s king last week, 2 of them were arrested at Omuaran and they led group of Soldiers and Vigilantes from Kwara State to Ekiti and another 2 were arrested at Igbara-Odo and Ilawe precisely.

“Though the Military did not allow recording them on video or taking their pictures, this clip was managed to be sneaked in and they have been taken to Ilorin yesterday (shared on Thursday). These are all purely Yorubas, no single Fulani! Just imagine!” An impeccable source told The DEFENDER on Thursday.

The Kwara State PPRO, DSP Ejire Adrtoun Adeyemi, who finally replied to The DEFENDER’s enquiry on the arrests, simply said, “Good afternoon sir. Investigation is still on please.”

The statement suggested that there were arrests of some suspects but details of the suspects were not provided in the comment of the Kwara State Police Command spokesperson.

Another area of The DEFENDER investigations revealed that the lack of information from officials of state about how and who are involved in the insecurity had left the information cyberspace with rumours that had tended to shift blames of killings particularly in the South West and hurl them on Fulani people.

Cases happened in the past, when kidnappers, who abducted Ekiti oil magnate, Alhaji Sulaiman Akinbami, and killed others turned out to be same indigenes of Ekiti, with a particular one of them watched and heard on a viral video shot while answering journalists’ questions at the time to be son of a high chief in Ado-Ekiti.

Questions now flying around are, “Does it mean there are no longer Yoruba bad eggs who are criminals doing all the kidnappings and killings that are happening? Many Yoruba people now hide under the garb of Fulani to commit crimes and tag it on Fulani. Why? Even when Fulani is responsible for any crime in Yoruba Land, how do you have strangers perpetrating crimes in your land without internal collaborators from among Yoruba, themselves?

“Some of the traditional rulers, like the one in Ekiti, who after escaping being killed by the criminals gave a press interview and said those that killed his colleagues were Fulani, what was his motif? What was his comment in the past, when after they had profiled the abduction of Sulaiman Akinbami against the Fulani people in the state, those arrested by the police were seen to not only be Yoruba but Ekiti State indigenes?

“Have they forgotten how they made Fulani in Ondo State suffer unjustifiable arrest and detainment by Department of State Services (DSS) when they made hasty judgment to say bombers of Catholic Church in Owo were Fulani but, in the end, when the bombers were arrested by the military they were found to be Ebira. Have they forgotten? Why are our people always quick to rush to judgment blaming members of other tribes for the crimes of their own tribesmen against themselves?”

They want to tarnish my image – Olowofela

Chief Oyebanji Olowofela has denied being a criminal or sponsor of one. He said all allegations against him were in effort to tarnish his image.

Girl arrested with him is kidnap victim – Media

More facts have emerged that Pa Olowofela, the octogenarian arrested by Kwara State Joint Security Team, is leader of a kidnapping gang that killed the Kwara monarch in Koro, Oba Olusegun Aremu-Cole.

The monarch was killed on resisting orders from the abductors while his wife and other two indigenes were whisked away.

The niigeriancurrent.com broke the story on Monday, following the arrest of Pa Olowofela with a lady.

The said lady, we learnt, is also a victim earlier kidnapped by Olowofela and his gang, but turned to sex slave as she could not meet ransom demands.

The lady who was said to have been abducted about a month ago, was converted to sex slave and was also attending to house shores at Olowofela’s residence in Igbara Odo.

 

Olowofela is said to be leader of a kidnap syndicate terrorising Ekiti, Kogi and Kwara states.

The Kwara security joint force had first arrested two suspects in connection with the king’s assassination in Omu Aran, leading to further arrests of another two in Igbara Odo and Ilawe Ekiti, to effect the freedom of the monarch’s wife and those abducted with her.

Olowofela is based in Igbara Odo, Ekiti State with a chain of business enterprise cutting across the state, including a sawmill in Irele, the Ekiti State, axis where the nefarious activities of the abductors is most pronounced..

It was joy mixed with shock when Olowofela was brought to Irele, Ajoni Local Council Development Area (LCDA), by the detached team from Kwara State, in cuffs alongside the lady in his dustody, following a tip off by one of the gang members arrested in the course of combing the forests

It was gathered that Olowofela and his gang may have also been responsible for the recent killings of the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin and the Olumojo of Imojo Ekiti, Oba Samuel Olatunde Olusola, two monarchs mowed down recently by kidnappers bullet .

Facts emerged that the killers of the Olukoro of Koro in the Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State, Oba Aremu-Cole, perfected his murder plot in a pub, popularly called beer parlour, in Koro.

The monarch, a retired Army General, was shot dead on Thursday night by the assailants, who invaded his palace, killed him, and abducted his wife and two others who live near the palace.

It was gathered that the killers lured the salesgirl at the pub to lead them to the palace, which is located in the area.

The monarch had just returned from a journey to a neighboring town and was relaxing when the gunmen attacked him.

Following the killing, a team of soldiers were dispatched to comb the forests in Kwara and neighbouring Kogi and Ekiti states to smoke out the assailants.

Olowofela’s arrest came after the apprehension of one Baboga Alhaji, one,of the suspected kidnappers responsible for the killing of the two traditional rulers in Ekiti State, recently.

Also arrested alongside Olowofela, was the person who wanted to receive ransom for the kidnappers and thirteen other suspects.

It was gathered that the gunmen had reached out to the monarch’s family over the weekend for payment of N100m ransom, which was later reduced to N40m for the release of the three captives.

In the meantime, several eminent Nigerians including the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, His Royal Highness Alhaji Muhammed Abubakar Bambado II; and Atayero of Aramoko Kingdom and the Nigeria Regional President Occupational Safety and Health UK, His Royal Highness Amb. Olusegun Aderemi JP, had condemned the killings of the traditional rulers and called for action.

Go after the killers – Sultan charges security agencies

Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar, in a statement by his Media Team on Friday February 2, 2024, said the gut by which traditional rulers are ambushed and taken down, like life no longer matters in the land, makes perpetrators of such heinous, wicked and condemnable act unfit to remain amidst human community, if found.

The Sultan, who is President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), expressed his deep concern about the murder of two Ekiti traditional rulers, saying the development is one that must be condemned by all.

Sultan Abubakar recalled the late Onimojo as an important monarch on the entourage of Attah of Aiyede, Oba AbdulMumini Adebayo Orishagbemi, when he paid him a visit in Sokoto and who was conspicously on ground to be part of his rousing reception during his return visit to Aiyede Kingdom, Ekiti State in the past.

Describing murder of the two Ekiti Obas as “extremely painful and very unfortunate”, the Sultan, who is also Chairman National Traditional Rulers Council of Nigeria, called on the Inspector General of Police and heads of other relevant security agencies in the country to go after the killers and present them before the law of the land for justice to be done.

He added that, “the police should take its anti-crime battle to these criminals now, wherever they are, whoever they are and ensure that no matter their status and stature in the society, they should not be spared and must be brought to justice, while efforts must be made to henceforth prevent repeat of such dastardly act before it happens in the future,” he said.

Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar extended his condolences to the government of Ekiti State, the Attah of Aiyede Kingdom, the immediate families of the slain Onimojo, Elesun and the entire people of their reespective towns while praying that Allah would grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable losses.

Killings condemnable – Sarkin Fulani of Lagos

The South West Fulani Chiefs expressed their deep concern over the tragic killings of Ekiti traditional leaders. They urged immediate action to address these acts of violence.

Reacting to the unfortunate development, Chairman of the South West Council of Fulani Chiefs and Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado II, said, “It is worrisome to see criminal acts escalate to the point of causing ethnic tensions. We are calling on the government, security, and intelligence agencies to proactively address crime, to prevent it from leading to ethnic and religious conflicts. It’s crucial to act decisively against criminality to foster a sense of unity among our people.”

Details of these were contained in a statement dated Friday February 8, 2024 and released to the Nigerian Press by the Media Team of Sarkin Fulani of Lagos.

Through the statement, Alhaji Bambado II said, “We also want to address the quick judgment some may have towards other ethnic groups based on media reports of criminal activities. It is important to remember that crime does not belong to any particular group. Just as there have been criminals identified as members from other tribes, it is unfair to single out the Fulani community in cases of crimes in a way that suggests profiling them as if they are good for nothing than criminality. Ethnic profiling is not the solution to our security challenges; it’s the responsibility of the authorities to enforce the law impartially.

“We also wish to clarify that the Fulani community, like any other, is committed to the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria despite the challenges we face. We stand against any form of crime, regardless of the perpetrator’s ethnic or religious background. Our stance remains firm: If a Fulani individual commits a crime, they should face the consequences as dictated by law.

“The recent accusations and media portrayal of the Fulani community in the wake of crimes in the South West are concerning. We urge everyone to refrain from jumping to conclusions without evidence and to work towards unity rather than division.

“In the light of the recent killings of two Ekiti traditional rulers, we express our condolences and condemn these acts in the strongest terms. We appreciate the efforts of the Ekiti State Police Command in clarifying the situation and preventing further ethnic tensions.”

“Let’s remember that crime is a societal issue, not tied to any particular group. By working together, respecting the law and avoiding unjust accusations, we can overcome the challenges we face. Let’s unite in our efforts to make Nigeria a peaceful and prosperous nation for all,” the South West Fulani Chiefs said according to their Chairman and Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Bambado.

Killing of Ekiti monarchs unacceptable, says Atayero

The Atayero of Aramoko Ekiti, Amb. Olusegun Aderemi JP, condemned the dastardly act of some unknown gunmen that led to gruesome murder of two Ekiti traditional rulers, Oba David Babatunde Ogunsakin, the Elesun of Esun Ekiti, Ikole Local Government Area, and Oba (Professor) Olatunde Samuel Olusola, the Onimojo of Imojo Ekiti, in Oye Local Government.

The third traditional ruler, the Alara of Ara –Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, escaped from the attack during the attack that occured on Monday January 29, 2024.

Atayero, who described the incident as ‘sad and unfortunate’, called on government and security agencies to double their efforts and ensure safety of lives and properties.

“The situation calls for declaration of emergency on security and safety matters, it is worrisome that revered monarchs can be assaulted and terribly murdered .

“it is disheartening if our traditional rulers are not safe in their communities again, which is an indication that no one is safe.

“The security agency must be well equipped to be able to live up to their responsibilities in securing lives and properties.”

He, therefore, tasked the government and relevant agencies to ensure that the perpetrators, if truly arrested, are made to face the wrath of law.

Atayero commiserated with the Traditional council ,the entire people of the state and particularly Governor Biodun Oyebanji with the urge on the governor to take heart while praying for peace and safety to reign in the state and God to repose the soul of the departed.


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