…Police arrest 11 suspects
…Olubadan summons meeting of family heads of affected areas
Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
At least 20 houses and 30 shops were razed by hoodlums who clashed in the early hours of Sunday in some areas of Ibadan metropolis and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
The incident was said to have been fallout of rivalries among various gangs of young boys at Idi-Arere, Sakapena, Oke-Ado, Kosodo, Oranyan, Asaka, and Ita Saku.
The troublemakers were said to have stormed the areas with dangerous weapons such as guns, cutlasses, axes and knives. They reportedly shot sporadically into the air to announce their arrival.
Our correspondent gathered that the yet-to-be identified hoodlums had engaged in the violent attacks for the past few days in the affected areas, and the attacks were one form of reprisal to the other. It was further gathered that the hoodlums who perpetrated the arson also used the occasion to loot many of the shops in the area.
Investigations revealed that some of the young boys living within Idi-Arere and Sakapena area had a protracted disagreement with another gang of boys from other locations in the city, which led to the attacks.
A visit to the scene of the incident on Sunday revealed that the hoodlums wreaked the havocs on both sides of the road from Idi-Arere axis to Sakapena.
Some of the affected structures in the areas included clothing retail outlet, pharmacy, soft drink sellers, electronic shops, ware houses, frozen foods retailer shop, tailoring shops and hairdressers’ shop.
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One of the residents of the area, who preferred anonymity told journalist that the hoodlums “burnt houses and shops too. So, it was very late, though it happened at midnight. It was when we woke up this morning that we saw everything. It is not up to Popoyemoja; it stopped at Idi-Arere, from that junction to Bode Road.
“Though, I can’t count the number of shops, but, it was a stretch from that junction up to Hallelujah Petrol Station. But, we are talking of about ten to fifteen shops on this side and ten to fifteen shops on the other side.
“The state government said that there was security, but you can see this. None of the CCTVs installed by government is at Idi-Arere is working. The one at Beere cannot capture up to Oja-Oba, and the one at Molete cannot capture up to Idi-Arere.”
The Police Public Relations Officers of Oyo State [olice command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the incident, saying 11 suspects had been arrested and they would be charged to court at the end of the ongoing investigation into the incident.
According to him, “normalcy has been restored in the affected area. The state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, has directed the policemen drafted to the area to carry out intensive patrol as well as 24 hours surveillance to avoid further breakdown of law and order.
“While directing that the 11 suspects including their ring leaders arrested be charged to court immediately after conclusion of investigation, the CP warned hoodlums and other criminal elements against wanton destruction of lives and property. Investigation to determine the cause and motive behind the incident is ongoing.”
Meanwhile, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has summoned an emergency meeting of all family heads in the areas concerned to his palace at Popoyemoja, Ibadan at noon on tomorrow.
Personal Assistant/Director of Media and Public Affairs to Olubadan, Mr. Adeola Oloko, in statement he issued on Sunday, said the monarch was worried by persistent cases of arson and looting in some areas in Ibadan.
According to the statement, the Mogajis (Compound Heads) and Baale (Village Heads) summoned to the meeting included those whose family compounds fall within Oja’gbo, Beyerunka, Labiran, Idi Arere/Asuni, Asaka, Isale Osi, Oopo Yeosa and Olorisa Oko areas of Ibadan.
According to the first class monarch, the nefarious activities of the street urchins in some areas in Ibadan were becoming worrisome in recent times and the need to contain them through collective effort had become imperative.
Oba Adetunji, who sympathised with the victims of arson and looting noted that the security of lives and property was not only the responsibility of law enforcement agents but all and sundry.
Olubadan also reasoned that as the 2019 general elections were fast approaching, it was important for all family heads in Ibadan who notice anything strange to promptly report the matter to the police for appropriate action, particularly those who have formed the habit of tearing other candidates’ posters and banners to prevent breakdown of law and order.