Tension in Oyo as OPC apprehends notorious kidnapper, Iskilu Wakili, 3 others

*His arrest unacceptable, says Miyetti Allah

*Maiduguri-Damaturu road blocked as Boko Haram invade military base

By Emma Okereh and Williams Orji

There was joy in the South-West as news of the arrest of a notorious kidnapper, alleged to be responsible for a series of kidnappings and killings in Ibarapa area of Oyo State, Iskilu Wakili, hit the public sphere.

Wakili was arrested on Sunday by operatives of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and other local vigilante groups. The arrest was carried out after a gun battle on Sunday morning.

Our correspondents reports that Wakili and his gang have been fingered in various kidnappings and killings in the past.

Confirming the arrest, the OPC leader, Gani Adams, said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, that the kidnap kingpin has been handed to the police in Igbo Ora, Oyo State for appropriate action.

He said: “I am happy that the notorious kidnapper had been captured alongside three others.

“It is a good development and a positive signal to other criminal elements that the South-West is no longer an abode for bandits, kidnappers, and criminal herders.

“I commend all the members of the joint security team that has made this possible because with the video at my disposal, it was purely a neat job.

“With this development, I think the whole world will agree with me that the fight against insurgency, kidnapping, and banditry needs native intelligence, information gathering, and grassroots support from local securities and operatives.

“As I have said earlier that the effort to rid the South-West of bandits and kidnappers was to complement the efforts of the police and in doing that, it is also very important for the police to support the local security operatives because they are always at the grassroots and they have their ears to the ground on local security matters.”

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olugbenga Fadeyi, has confirmed the arrest of the suspect, adding that Wakili has been handed over to the police.

Also reacting, Afenifere, a socio-political group, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Yinka Odumakin, commended the OPC for the arrest of Iskilu Wakili, who is said to be a Fulani bandit, and spreading terror at the Igboho area, saying the police and other security agencies have been unable to do anything about him.

“We were not shocked that but for the intervention by the leadership in Oyo state, the police would have gone after the OPC boys instead of taking the criminal from them and do the needful. Nigeria is going nowhere with a security network that shuns federalism,” Odumakin said.

*His arrest unacceptable – Miyetti Allah

Reacting to the development, the coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Kwara State, Aliyu Mohammed, described it “as unacceptable.”

He wondered whether Sunday Igboho had now become a security operative that would be allowed to operate illegally without being checked by the authorities.

Mohammed, told an online medium, Daily Post, in Ilorin, that “if unchecked, the situation could be dangerous for the Fulani and would be interpreted as a ploy to wipe them out of the area,” demanding the arrest of Sunday Igboho.

“If the Fulani go against the law, charge them to court rather than the jungle justice meted out to them on trumped up charges,” he said.

*Suspected herders kill farmers in Ekiti

Meanwhile, two farmers were reportedly killed in Isaba Ekiti, in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State on Friday by suspected herders.

This was even as two herdsmen were sent to prison in Ondo State for killing another farmer.

The Ekiti victims were killed by armed men after an encounter with herders at the farm on Friday evening.

Speaking further on the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti Command, Sunday Abutu, said the crisis between the farmers and herders led to the death of the two persons.

Abutu said, “it was a confrontation between the farmers and people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen called Bororo, who were alleged to have been terrorising the Ipao-Oke Ako-Irele axis of the council area.”

Meanwhile, the Commander of Amotekun Corps in Ekiti State, Joe Komolafe, said the victims were declared missing on Friday, “having gone to the farm and failed to return home.”

Akomolafe, a retired Brigadier-General, said the incident was reported to the police and to the Amotekun, “who assembled their operatives and went to their farm where the victims were found dead”.

“Upon inquiry, we learnt that the victims fought with the Bororo herders for coming to harvest bee’s honey in their farms on Wednesday, which degenerated to an exchange of fisticuffs,” the Amotekun boss said.

*Travellers stranded on Maiduguri-Damaturu highway as Boko Haram attacks military base

In another development, the Military on Sunday morning halted traffic along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway for three hours as they engaged Boko Haram terrorists in a shootout.

After the shootout, the military said soldiers escorted a long convoy of stranded travelers to Damaturu.

Security sources said the shoot-out took place at Lawan-Mainari village, about two kilometers from Jakana town. The terrorists had reportedly targeted a military base but were repelled.

Jakana is about 41km from Maiduguri, Borno State capital. The town has been attacked several times in the last 10 years.

 “The Boko Haram gunmen came out through the Lawan-Mainari axis of the highway to probably attack the military base there. They had engaged one another in a shootout for some hour,” locals said.

Senior military personnel who spoke to a PREMIUM TIMES reporter on condition of anonymity also confirmed the incident but declined to give details.

“All I know is that our soldiers are engaging the terrorists who were out to cause mayhem on the highway,” he said.

The Borno State commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Abioye Babalola, also confirmed the development.

He said the attack had been repelled and travelers have been escorted in a long convoy down to Damaturu, the Yobe state capital.

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