LAST year, the police raided 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. Public expectations were high that the police would act swiftly on the matter – the issue died quickly.
Neither the decaying body parts that littered the place nor the 20 decomposing bodies found in the place elicited adequate action from the police. There were also 23 people – 18 men and five women who were rescued from their fleeing captors.
The poor state of their health and their manacled legs told another story. Neighbours had testified of possible unwholesome activities in the area, including child trafficking, sale of human parts, and newly born babies. The police ignored their complaints.
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 uncompleted building and five security personnel working for a nearby company. 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 were worried then about the police’s handling of the matter. The building was demolished without searches that could have produced more evidence. Why the hurry in crushing the place? The police fought people suggesting excavations to search for more bodies. The police did not apprehend those behind Soka.
The much we know would not have become public if a group of about 100 area boys had not invaded Soka searching for two missing cyclists. They went in such numbers because they heard of the activities in the area.
Soka was not new. It was bound to happen again, and in Oyo State, which was the case last week. The predictable end is that the police mismanage evidence, the suspects are set free.
We remember Clifford Orji who was arrested in February 1999 under a Lagos bridge, where he had lived for years, terrorising people. He confessed he had clients for the parts and that their names and telephone numbers were in a diary he kept. 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.
Soka got the Clifford treatment, and so have many cases of kidnappers’ dens nationwide.