By Evelyn Usman
Residents of Havanna estate in Arepo area of Ibafo, Ogun state have been going through untold robbery attacks, some of which were sometimes foiled by policemen from Ogun state command . However in their bid to check the alarming trend, the residents employed the services of local guards, some of which were reported to be members of the outlawed Oduua Peoples Congress(OPC).
Their decision seem to have yieldedÂ positive result as a suspected member of the notorious robbery gang was shot dead by the guards recently. Surprisingly, the deceased was discovered to be one of the cattle rearers around the area.
Rather than given a pat on their back for, at least, using the cattle rearer as a warning signal to other criminals who specialized in attacking the residents and others in neighboring estates, the guards were subsequently arrested , following claims that the deceased identified as Muhamed Maimoto was not a robber but one of theÂ Fulani herdsmen.
Presently , the duo of Adewale Adunola and Jamiu Mukaila areÂ being detained by detectives at the Homicide section of theÂ the Ogun State Criminal Investigations Department(SCID), Elewe-Eran, Abeokuta, from where they would be charged to court after investigation.
The Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Musa Daura, while parading the suspects alongside other arrested suspected members of separate robbery gangs that had been terrorizing the state, explained that the suspects were arrested following a complain by one Umaru , a resident of Ishara Kia via Ibafo, at the Ibafo divisional police station.
According to him, â€œUmaruÂ Â alleged that about 2:00p.m on Sunday,Â himself and the deceased MuhamedÂ Maimoto were rearing their cows when they were accosted by the two men suspected to be members of Oodua Peoplesâ€™ Congress (OPC), who accused them of being responsible for the constant raids on the Estate.
â€œHe further alleged that during the ensuing argument, one of the suspects,Â Jamiu Mukaila pulled the trigger of his Pump Action Rifle (PAR) and shot at Muhammed, who gave up the ghost instantly.Â A magnum pump action gun, three live cartridges and a toy pistol were recovered from the suspectsâ€, Daura stated.
But when approached the suspects maintained that the deceased and his colleagues, who areÂ Nigerien nationals, wereÂ behind incessant raids on the Estate.
The herdsmen, according to Adewale Adunola â€œ all hail from Niger . They have been responsible for several raids in the estate .
They have raided the estate about six times and when the residents could not take it any longer, they decided to employ our services. We were employed by the landlord Association of the estateâ€, statedÂ 25_year_old Adewale.
Continuing, he said, â€œ upon resumption, we placed surveillance on the Fulani herdsmen who cashed in on the opportunity of rearing their cows to launch raids onÂ residents of the Estate for sometime, during which theyÂ inflicted machete wounds on them and also cart away their valuables.
About three weeks ago, on a Friday, they struck again when they knew we were not on duty . As if that was not enough, they came again two days later ,being Sunday.Â They gained entry into the community through a broken wall behind the Estate.
The deceased was the first person to enter and immediately I sighted him, I handed my pump action riffle to Jamiu while I chargedÂ at the intruder and asked where he was coming from but he could not utter a word.Â Instead, he pulled out a pistol and shot Jamiu in his left arm.Â At the sound of the gun, others who were with him bolted away.
SensingÂ danger , Jamiu released a shot at the intruder.Â But he did not die at the spot. Rather, he took to his heels while we pursuedÂ him. We later caught up with him in a bush path, on the ground bleeding .Â We immediatelyÂ searched him and found the pistol which he used and collected itâ€,Â narrated the Oyo State_born suspect.
On hisÂ part, Jamiu Mukaila admitted to have pulled the trigger that snuffed life out of the Muhammed Maimoto whom he maintained was a robber. The 20_year_old suspect said he pulled the trigger in self defense, stating that their intention was not to shoot at any of them but to arrest them alive with a view to making them confess to their various activities in the area. â€œ But I had to do what I did because he shotÂ me first. Perhaps, I would have died if the bullet had hit me in the head.
Rather than explain what he was doing as asked, heÂ surged forward to wriggle the gun from my hands but when he sensed it was not possible, he shot at me.
It was when I sensed my life was in danger thatÂ I pulled the trigger.Â Â The gun in question does not belong to either of us.
It was given to us by the landlord association that employed us and the association has risen to our defense. It had also on several occasions reported cases of the attacks at the Ibafo division .
â€œTo our shock, when we got to the station after it was certified the man had died, we were detained and later brought here .Â For anyone to claim the deceased was not a robber is unjustifiable or how do you explain the gun that he used on Jamiu?â€, he said without directing his question to anyone in particular.