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Afenifere angry with security agencies over Lagos, Ogun killings

By Seye Olumide, Abiola Shittu and Odita Sunday
27 June 2016   |   2:50 am
The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has expressed lack of confidence in the security agents as it said the Nigerian state is shamelessly failing the Yoruba nation in the area of capacity to guarantee its safety.
Mr. Yinka Odumakin

Mr. Yinka Odumakin

The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has expressed lack of confidence in the security agents as it said the Nigerian state is shamelessly failing the Yoruba nation in the area of capacity to guarantee its safety.

The reaction is coming on the heels of the failure of security agents to make any arrest in respect to the spate of killings of innocent people by suspected militants in Ishawo, Elepete and Igbo Olomu, the border line communities in Ogun and Lagos states, which occurred on Thursday night.

The group, while reacting to the recent attack in which over 50 people were feared dead when militants swooped on Elepete and Igbo Olomu, said it was a course for concern because same militants, about a week ago killed 15 people in Imushin community in Ogijo area of Ogun State.

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), yesterday disassociated the Ijaw ethnic nationality and any of its groups from the attacks and killing of innocent Nigerians in riverine communities of Lagos and Ogun states by criminal elements, describing the killings as “purely criminal and deserve the strongest condemnation irrespective of who was responsible.”

This is as the President of the Ijaw youths, worldwide, Udengs Eradiri, apologise to the management of Silverbird group, owners of Rhythm 94.7 FM in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, over the ugly incident that occurred at the station last week.

Following the killings, the Lagos State Police Command has confirmed that six people were killed in the attacks even as the command has commenced a manhunt for suspected militants who invaded Igbo Olomu and Elepete in Ikorodu last Thursday and unleashed mayhem on residents.

The gunmen were said to have come in through the waterways close to the communities and started shooting sporadically, a development, which led to the death of some people while others sustained various degree of injuries.

In a statement yesterday, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said it was reported that a large number of the victims were landlords in the area, who were keeping security watch over the communities, due to incessant armed robbery attacks when the marauders struck.

According to him: “Just like in the first attack, the police has failed to make any arrest and instead has engaged only in feeble denial of the casualty figures by ridiculously insisting that only two people were killed.”

Odumakin also dismissed the latest claim by the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Abdumajid Ali that only two people were killed as “frivolous, misleading and ridiculous,” saying: “Empty lamentations, absurd denials and shambolic accusations with no suspect held to prove the top cop is doing what he is being paid for.”

According to him: “We are deeply troubled that all accounts from the communities show that the security forces have not been of any assistance to them. Our fears are now heightened that these nibbling attacks may be precursors to organised campaign of violent attacks to seize a piece of Yoruba land and destabilise the peaceful region.”

He added that while Afenifere sympathises with families that have lost their loved ones in the mindless and beastly attacks “we want to appeal to our people to be more vigilant than ever about movements around their communities as the Nigerian state is daily showing them that it cannot protect them and yet would not accede to our quest for state police.

“We must also let them know that we have embarked on top level consultations with our neighbours whom police sources have pointed fingers at without any arrest to get to the bottom of these needless, unprovoked and unwarranted attacks and investigations are going on all sides and our findings will be made public in the next few days. This is important to know the source of these attacks less we fall into a possible trap to set off war between us and our neighbours by fifth columnists.”

He continued: “To the Nigerian state we say you are shamelessly failing the Yoruba nation in this decisive moment and we are losing confidence in your capacity to guarantee our safety. Act now!’’

A statement signed by spokesman for Ijaw, Eric Omare on the killings in Lagos and Ogun communities, stated that the persons carrying out the criminal attacks were not Ijaw people and it is absolutely wrong for the media to refer to them as Ijaw militants.

“The sensational headlines and impression been created is that it is Ijaw people or groups that are carrying out organised attacks and killing of people in some Lagos and Ogun communities.

The Ijaw people indigenous to and living in the south western part of Nigeria are peaceful and law abiding people and can never be involved in attacking communities and killing people.

We call on the media to accurately report events so as to avoid unnecessary inter-ethnic crisis between ethnic groups whose people were killed and the Ijaw people indigenous to and living in the south west.’’

The crisis rocking the Ijaw youth body took a dangerous turn on Thursday as armed Ijaw youths invaded Rhythm FM studio owned by Senator Ben Bruce in Yenagoa.

The angry youths who stormed the studio in buses and other vehicles were after two executive members of IYC who went on air to announce the sack of the President and the spokesman of the IYC.

Commenting on the incident at the weekend, Eradiri, said the members erred and needed to be taught a lesson but regretted the attacked on the station and some of its staff.

He said the members who are trying to tear the youth body apart were being sponsored by politicians but vowed that the body will deal ruthlessly with any one of them who tries to violate the laid down laws of the youth body.

Addressing newsmen on Saturday, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said an aggressive and massive manhunt had already commenced against the suspected militants, adding that the investigation was going on smoothly.

“I can confirm that the causality is six and no family till now has come out even while I was there to say that they have extra corpses apart from the ones that were recovered by the police in Owutu,” Owoseni said.”

The police boss, who was personally at the scene of the incident moments after the attack, also denied conflicting media reports on the actual number of people that were killed by the attackers.

The CP disclosed that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Owutu responded with his men almost immediately after he was alerted, adding that Mobile policemen were swiftly deployed to be patrolling the affected areas constantly.

“The DPO in Owutu went to Igbolomu and the surrounding communities and as of the time he got there, he saw everybody running in panic and it could be because of that immediate response the militants had fled the place and while moving round, he later found six corpses of the people that were killed and the police took over those corpses out of which two were immediately released to their families who said they want to go and burry according to Islamic rights, while we took the remaining four to the morgue. “That was how we covered that place until we got support and reinforcement from the Nigerian Army who came to stay with us.”