Insecurity in Ibadan as criminal gangs return in full force



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Residents of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, are said to be losing sleep as some hoodlums involved in criminal activities resurfaced, threatening the peace of the area.

According to Oyo Insight report, the hoodlums, whose acts were believed to have once been checked in the state, appeared to have returned in full force.

It was gathered from the media report that the cause of the gang’s frequent clashes is supremacy battle which often leaves in its wake tears, sorrow and blood.

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Although there used to be street clashes among rival groups in Ibadan, the frequency increased after the #EndSARS protests which rocked many states in Southern Nigeria.

The hoodlums freely used dangerous weapons during a clash between Shogoye/Akobi areas with some people reportedly injured. But a 60-year-old woman, Modupe Daramola, who was hit by a pellet from a locally-made gun fired by one of the hoodlums, died.

The sexagenarian was said to have been caught in the violent attack by the hoodlums whose activities are linked by residents to hard drugs, unemployment and cultism among other vices.

On December 1, 2020, one person was reportedly killed in the violent clash between the hoodlums at the Wesley area of Ibadan, where areas such as Labo, Orita Aperin, Kosodo, Elekuro and Oranyan were taken over by the criminal gangs who brandished weapons and unleashed terror on innocent residents.

The National President, Soludero Hunters Association, Nureni Ajijolaanobi, in an interview with the reporter, said that he was surprised to see teenagers wielding dangerous weapons during the clash.

Ajijolaanobi said a 12-year-old boy was arrested, adding that he was among those who burgled shops and residential buildings.

Ajijolaanobi said, “The hoodlums were armed with broken bottles, tiles, and stones. What was shocking about the whole thing was that they are mostly teenagers. But residents of Iyana Asanke rose up to support their people against them. The crisis started when the hoodlums started breaking into shops and homes, injuring people and stealing their goods. But we thank God that peace has returned to the affected areas.”

On January 28, the police arrested two notorious gang leaders at Odo-Osun area of Mapo. But other hoodlums frustrated the arrest by confronting the police and freeing the suspects. The confrontation was said to have led to the death of two persons.

At around 11:30pm the same night, some youths who residents said were over 100 invaded the Aderogba area off Labiran in the Bere area of Ibadan and attacked residents including elderly ones.

They set fire to shops and looted the goods in others. They broke into shops, residential buildings and carted away valuables. Some of the occupants of the burnt property said they narrowly escaped death as the arson happened while they were asleep.

A retired soldier residing at the area, Alhaji Mojeed Aderogba, told Sunday PUNCH that the hoodlums invaded the area at almost 12 midnight and started destroying and looting property.

He said, “You can see evidence of the hoodlums’ invasion everywhere. They torched the shop and house opposite us. They looted everything there and moved from house to house, stealing valuables and causing great destruction to people’s means of livelihoods.”

Aderogba appealed to the government and security agencies to tackle insecurity in the area and other parts of Ibadan so that residents could stop living in fear.

The invasion of the area by hoodlums forced some residents and shop owners to flee. A resident of the area where the house she lived was burnt by the hoodlums told our correspondent that occupants of the house ran out to squat with neighbours till the next morning.

The resident who identified herself as Mistura said one of her neighbours packed her belongings, adding that her husband refused to let her leave since they didn’t know how safe was where they wanted to move to. Mistura said, “The woman’s husband told her she couldn’t say how safe their new area would be.”

The coordinator of Mogaji (family heads)  Mogaji Adanla, Abduljelil Kareem, who led Mogaji Itagbigbo Badmus; Mogaji Modale, Alhaji Adeyemo Rasaki; Mogaji Daada; Chief Musibawu Raji, Mogaji Olasomi; Ademola Olasomi and Mogaji Oloko; Alhaji Abbas Oloko, to sympathise with the victims of the violence, advised residents to work closely with security agents to tackle the issue.

They met with the youth on Aderogba Street and pleaded with them not to retaliate but they refused. The Mogaji Kobomoje family, Ademola Balogun, while speaking on the crisis during a radio programme monitored by our correspondent in the state stated that the teenage hoodlums were influenced by drugs.

He said the problem was beyond local government, urging the state government to curb the menace threatening the peace and development of the state.

The Comptroller of Customs, Oyo/Osun Area Command, Adamu Abduladir, while speaking with journalists, displayed cannabis sativa (Indian hemp) seized by the command from smugglers. He also identified hard drugs as fuelling violence in the country.

On his part, the state Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency while reviewing its activities for 2020 said it seized 4,739.195 kilogrammes of cannabis and other illicit substances.

The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mrs Mutiat Okuwobi, said 133 persons were arrested for various drug-related offences during the year while 44 convictions were secured.

Okuwobi said, “There is hope for people who use drugs, so parents and loved ones should never give up on them. Stakeholders must work together to get useful information on drug abuse to win the fight against trafficking in our communities.”

To fight gang wars in the state, the police said constant routine patrols had been intensified especially in areas prone to crises.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, said the police would no longer tolerate such acts in the state.

Fadeyi said the police were on the trail of some hoodlums causing upheaval in the city, advising parents and guardians not to allow their children to be used to foment trouble.

He said, “Sequel to the arrest of two notorious miscreants in handcuffs, one miscreant popularly known as Packaging led some thugs numbering about 30 to attack the police team and forcefully took the two miscreants from them. The policemen, in a bid to escape being lynched, shot into the air. But at about 1220hrs, one Akeem ‘m’ in company with some angry miscreants invaded the police station to report that his younger brother was shot and the miscreants attempted to attack Mapo Police Station. Some cars at the junction leading to the street were damaged.

“The mob was thereafter repelled by the policemen who positioned strategically to prevent the station from being attacked. Not too long, at about 1350hrs, the corpse of one Badmus Rasheed ‘m’ 20 years was brought to the police station by the angry mob that was earlier repealed from attacking the station.

“The Commissioner of Police (Ngozi Onadeko) wishes to appeal to parents/guardians in the two areas to warn their wards to desist from acts capable of causing breakdown of law and order as massive deployment of police and that of sisters security agencies have been emplaced to forestall further crises.”

The governor, Seyi Makinde, also recognised the need to check gang wars in the state. He stated that commercial motorcycle riders would be registered so that criminals would not use motorcycles to perpetrate crimes and people would link such to genuine motorcycle riders. The governor added that activities of motorcycle riders might be regulated if they failed to comply.

The state government organised a security meeting where stakeholders deliberated on the worsening insecurity in Ibadan especially in the Ibadan North East Local Government Area of the state.

Speaking at the meeting, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Bayo Lawal, urged the youth to desist from violence and restiveness, saying the governor was working to ensure the fulfilment of his electoral promises.

He also noted that the security agencies and the state government would not allow anyone to turn the state into a no-go area.

Lawal said, “As claimed by the stakeholders, hard drug is one of the major causes of the violence. If parents give their children proper orientation, counselling and care for them, they would not be on the street.”

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