More than 20 people have been allegedly killed in Igangan, one of the towns in Ibarapa North local government, as gunmen opened fire last night.
The Palace of the Asigangan as well as a popular petroleum station were not spared. They were razed by the suspected bandits numbering 50, who were said to have invaded the town around 11 pm in more than 20 motorcycles.
This is coming few days after the chairman Oyo State Security Network codenamed Amotekun Corps, General Kunle Togun (rtd) alleged that foreign Fulanis have encamped the entire Southwest region and may strike if nothing is done urgently.
A former caretaker chairman of the council, Tunji Omolewu, who confirmed last night’s incident to OYOINSIGHT.COM said he had to rush down around 5 am this morning.
”People had barely retired to bed when they said they sighted motorcycles entering the town. Before our people could know what was going on, they had started killing people. I got the call around 11 pm. We were on our way from Ekiti where we had gone to do the Yoruba nation rally. I got to Ibadan around 12 am and when the calls did not stop coming, I decided to come home. I have counted more than 20 dead bodies. The palace of our monarch was torched. Adolak filling station too was burnt. We are assembled here…” he said, almost breaking down in tears.
A former caretaker chairman of neighbouring Ibarapa Central, Yemi Akinlabi, who is holidaying in the United States, said his phone was bombarded with calls.
”It is so sad. Only few days ago, our people got intelligence report and forwarded it to the appropriate quarters for actions but here we are today. Are we going to continue to live in fear in our land? I have spoken to General Toogun about last night’s incident and we would want him and his team to do something. Our people must not be allowed to resort to self-help,” he added.
Only last Wednesday, during the tour of project to mark his two years in office, Governor Seyi Makinde had disclosed that insecurity in Ibarapaland has been the most challenging and that his government has put in place several measures, including the creation of a Base for Operation Burst in the area and deployment of more Amotekun corps, among others.
He said that these measures have yielded positive results in the last few months.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Makinde as saying that in order to tackle the security challenge, the government is about to recruit more Amotekun corps, adding that it would also take a decision on what to do with the uncompleted 60-bed health facility in Igangan, which has become a hideout for criminals.
He said: “The issue of insecurity brought me here the last time and I remember that I made a comment that we needed to tackle those challenges because it is the only way it can affect our economic prosperity. Farmers in Ibarapa could not freely go to their farms because cows are invading their farms.
“It is a problem that has been existing even before we came into government, and one of the promises I made then was to tackle security challenges. And the question to take home is – can anybody here imagine Oyo State without Amotekun? It is one of the initiatives we brought forward. Before we came, there was nothing like that. Yes, there may still be few areas we need to improve on but we all should work together with Amotekun.
“Well, since the last time we came here and now, we have taken various steps to ensure that the people of Ibarapaland and, indeed, the whole of Oyo State sleep with their two eyes closed.
“Ibarapaland is the most challenging zone as far as security is concerned. Since the last time I came here and now, there has been relative progress but we will do more. We will strengthen security. Between the last time I came and now, we have set up Operation Burst base and we are in the process of recruiting more Amotekun personnel.
“But I want to appeal to you not to leave the government alone to face the issue of insecurity, as we all need to join hands to make things work. That is the only way; we have to keep moving together, because the government alone cannot do it. We expect you to work with us and the security agencies.”
Igangan, a-177 kilometer town away from Ibadan, the state capital, had come to limelight, though for bad reason, following last December’s murder of politician and large-scale farmer, Dr. Fatai Aborode, a large-scale farmer, by persons whom his farm manager told PREMIUM TIMES he could identify as Fulani.
It took the intervention of Sunday Adeyemo, before normalcy could return to the town. But that was after he issued eviction notice to the head of the Fulani community, the Sarkin Fulani, Abdulkadir Salihu, and his kinsmen.
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