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Suspected gunmen invade Olubadan’s palace

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Former Governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja (left) and Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, during the installation of Baales at the palace in Ibadan… yesterday. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Ajimobi condemns attack, police deny action
There was pandemonium in the Popoyemoja palace of Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, yesterday, as gunmen invaded the place forcing people that came for the installation of some Baales to run for their lives.

The gunmen were said to have arrived at the palace around 12 p.m. in a white Sienna Toyota utility car shooting sporadically into the air to disperse people at the event before shooting into the vehicle of the former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sharafadeen Alli, who is the current Asaaju Balogun of Ibadanland.

Palace sources said they saw the assailants dressed in black T- shirt and tied red clothes around their heads armed with pump action rifles and A-K47 rifles.

However, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who condemned the attack on Olubadan’s palace, has directed security agencies to ensure that the masterminds are swiftly arrested, interrogated and brought to justice.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka, he said “the governor has vowed not to brook anyone or group of people desirous of bringing back the regime of violence and brigandage to the state.

Alli, said to be in the bullet-ridden car at the time of shooting, escaped by whiskers, so also some journalists that were outside the palace who had to escape into the filthy drainage in front of the Popoyemoja residence of the monarch.

Though the identity of the assailants was yet to be known, but their motive was believed not to be far from the controversy trailing the review of the Olubadan declaration by the state government, which had caused a sharp disagreement between the monarch and majority of the members of Olubadan in Council.

Eight out of nine surviving members of the Olubadan in Council, who had accepted the crown from Governor Abiola Ajimobi, had in paid advert yesterday kicked against the installation of the new Baales by the Olubadan.

A statement signed by the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, urged the monarch not to go ahead with the installation because such development had not been discussed at the council and the monarch could not unitarily installed a Baale without being discussed at the council.

However, few minutes after the incident, men of a joint security task force in the state, Operations Burst, arrived at the palace and restored normalcy.

Some chief of the ancient town, Asiwaju Babatunde Yusuff and Adedokun Ayobami, who were with Alli in the vehicle at the time of the attack, said the vehicle was already less than 15 metres to the gate of the palace.

Yusuff said Alli escaped being shot because he did not sit at the owner’s corner but sat beside the driver in the front.

When contacted, the Director of Media and Public Affairs to the Olubadan, Mr. Adeola Oloko, simply said: “The police will do their job.”

Meanwhile, while the Police Public Relations Officer for Oyo State Command, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, could not be reached on his phone for comment at the time of filing this report, the state police boss, Abiodun Odude, has debunked speculations that Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, was attacked by unknown gunmen at his palace.

Odude, who stated there was nothing like gunshots at the palace, said: “There was a coronation ceremony conducted by the Olubadan today and everything went well. I don’t know where people got the information that there was gun firing.”



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