BEFUDDLEMENT douses the recent police raid of Soka area of Oyo State on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where, by police’s account a den of kidnappers was uncovered. The graphic images of the discoveries are causes for concern.
Whose decaying body parts littered the place? Can the 20 decomposing bodies be identified? Who are the 23 people – 18 men and five women – found in the place? The poor state of their health and the fact that their legs were manacled suggests that they could have been held captive.
Neighbours have testified of possible unwholesome activities in the area, including child trafficking, sale of human parts, and newly born babies. They said their complaints to the police were untreated.
Among the women rescued was one who was said to have had a baby on the day of the arrest, the baby was missing. Skeletons were found in nearby bushes.
Police confirmed arresting seven persons in connection with the discovery of human parts in the bush, about a kilometre off the busy expressway. The arrested were two persons found in the uncompletedbuilding and five security personnel working for a company close by. Three dane guns, three single barrel guns, one bow, 16 arrows, 22 cutlasses, 40 live cartridges, seven knives, an axe, two iron files
and a phone were found in the building.
We are worried about the police’s handling of the matter. Why should the place be demolished when more searches could produce more evidence? Why the hurry in crushing the place? Why are the police fighting people suggesting excavations to search for more bodies? Why were the police unable to apprehend those behind Soka?
The much we know would not have become public if a group of about 100 area boys had not invaded the area in search of two missing cyclists, possibly their colleagues. They went in such numbers because they heard of the activities in the area. Cases like this are not new. Their predictable end is that the police mismanages the evidence, the suspects are set free. In other instances, the cases do not get to the court, one of the most famous ones being Clifford Orji.
He was arrested in February 1999 under a bridge in Lagos, where he had lived for years, terrorising people. Some human parts were found on him. He confessed he had clients for the parts and that their names and telephone numbers were in a diary that was with him. Clifford was taken to a magistrate court once in 1999 and died in Kirikiri Prison in 2012. Police did not prosecute him, claiming he was mentally unstable.
The Soka case should not get the Clifford treatment.