Residents Flee As Kidnappers Take Over Ogun Communities
Residents of Oke-Ata, Soyoye, Ibara Orile, Rounder and other communities in Abeokuta North Local Government Area of Ogun State are currently under the ‘siege’ of kidnappers, Daily Post reports.
The affected communities, including those situated around the Alamala Army Barracks, appear to have resorted to faith as they sleep and wake under the fear that they could be abducted by kidnappers anytime.
Some of the residents, while speaking with DP correspondent, expressed worries that the abductors, many of whom are armed with sophisticated rifles, have been so emboldened that they no longer fear security agents, as they kill or maim those who try to resist them.
Findings by the news medium revealed that the abductors are always dressed in military camouflage to disguise and deceive their targets, whom they capture for the sake of ransom.
It was also gathered that some residents have started relocating from the affected communities to other parts of Abeokuta.
“Some of our people in these communities have started relocating. The tenants here are no longer willing to stay. We can’t blame them, why will anybody continue to live in an area where he could be abducted anytime?
“Those of us who are tenants don’t know where to go or what to do. We have called on the police, the Amotekun Corps, the So-Safe Corps, vigilantes and all of them. They have been doing their best though, but it seems they are overwhelmed. I’m afraid some landlords may abandon their houses to become tenants outside there,” a homeowner in the area spoke anonymously.
A message circulating on the social media read that, “The rate at which kidnappers are perpetrating their evil act by kidnapping innocent residents of Oke-Ata, Ibara Orile, Soyoye and environs is increasing everyday.
“The kidnappers are now taking it as business to kidnap and collect huge ransoms from their innocent victims who are resident in Oke-Ata, Ibara Orile, Soyoye and environs.
“Meanwhile, families of the kidnapped victim, whom God saved after payment of huge ransom to the kidnappers, said the kidnappers usually put on military uniform. They are up to 15 in number. It also shows that they operate with AK-47 and AK-49 guns.
“It has also been confirmed that the kidnappers perpetrate those evil acts where there are bushes, which they use as hideouts, escape route and as negotiating place by calling the families of their victims from the bush for ransom before the victims could be released.”
As a result, a resident of Oke-Ata has called the attention of Baales and Chairmen of all Community Development Association in all areas where there are bushes to alert owners of the abandoned lands and uncompleted buildings to come and start work on their land within one week, urging the local and State governments to take actions.
DP reported earlier that a vigilante leader, Muhammed Oke, was killed by the kidnappers at Isaga/Ilewo-Orile.
The vigilante boss was shot dead Thursday evening after he reportedly received a distress call from some residents that gunmen were sighted inside a bush around the area.
On Friday, some unknown gunmen kidnapped a woman from the vehicle of a lawyer at Soyoye.
The incident, it was gathered, happened at the entrance of the lawyer’s house.
The Soyoye community has a road that links Ayetoro to Isaga, Ibara-Orile and Sokoto road. Within the last one year, policemen, medical practitioners, teachers, traders, religious leaders and many travellers were kidnapped and released after the payment of millions of Naira as ransom.
We are aware – Ogun police reacts
In an interview with Daily Post, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the police are not unaware of happenings in Abeokuta North.
“We are not oblivious of what is happening in Abeokuta North and we are working assiduously to arrest the situation. As I am talking to you, some of the kidnappers are in our custody and we are working hard to smash the other gang; you know they operate in gangs.
“We have smashed some of them, while the other gangs are still operating and we are working assiduously to smash those gangs,” Oyeyemi said.
On the claim that the cases of kidnapping are on the increase despite police intervention, Oyeyemi stated: “People will not appreciate what you’re doing until they start seeing results. When we achieve the desired results, many will appreciate what we are doing. It is not everything that we’ll be making public, but when we get to the root of the whole matter, people will appreciate our efforts.”
To residents of the area, Oyeyemi charged them to be vigilant, asking them to constitute security awareness groups within their areas and engage the services of local vigilantes to alert police when needs be.
Situation not out of control – Amotekun Corps
While speaking with DAILY POST, the Commander of the Amotekun Corps in Ogun State, David Akinremi, said the situation is challenging, but not out of control.
Akinremi, a retired Commissioner of Police, told our correspondent that the corps is doing its best to “checkmate the activities of the bad guys.”
“We are working on serious intelligence and we are taking the battle to their doorstep,” Akinremi assured.
He said the kidnappers are operating in the areas mentioned because most houses are still inside the bush as many lands are yet to be developed.
“The places are just developing, houses are within bushes and distanced from one another. The roads are also not accessible. If you see one house, you will go 200, 300 or 500 metres before you see another one. Even when they are in crisis, there will be little or no response from their neighbours who will alert security agents.
“We are working with other security agents and we have written to the people to be more alert and security conscious. It is not possible for security agents to be everywhere. We are working on intel and very soon, we’ll get at them,” he said.