By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA — Ogun State Deputy Governor, Chief Yetunde Onanuga, yesterday, escaped death in Ibafo in Obafemi-Owode when suspected Niger Delta militants engaged the security teams accompanying her to some borderline communities between Ogun and Lagos states, which were sacked by militants. The deputy governor accompanied by the service chiefs in the state had embarked on an inspection visit to Imushin, Elepete and Igbo-Olomu where some people were killed by suspected militants when the incident happened.
Onanuga was said to have been asked by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to visit the place to reassure residents of the commitment of the authorities towards providing adequate security for lives and property.
But the situation changed at Akoka Ebute area of Ibafo, in Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area when suspected militants opened fire on the security operatives that accompanied the deputy governor.
However, there was no casualty during the gun battle which lasted for about 20 minutes.
Scores of people last Friday lost their lives when the militants launched violent attacks on some communities in the state.
Worried by the militants attacks, traditional rulers from the affected communities went on a “save our souls” mission yesterday and held a meeting with the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Taiwo Adeoluwa, in Abeokuta.
After the meeting, a state delegation led by the deputy governor visited the affected communities.
As an advance security team was approaching the Ibafo creeks where the suspected militants were believed to be hiding, a barrage of gunfire ensued, forcing the law enforcement agents to take cover.
Vanguard gathered that the security operatives, comprising soldiers and policemen , responded swiftly and repelled the suspected militants, who later retreated deeper into the creeks and escaped in the process.
The state delegation later made a detour from the troubled area after the deputy governor had assured the residents of commitment to their safety.
Reacting to the gun battle, the SSG expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the affected communities and called for urgent Federal Government’s assistance.
He said the exchange of gunfire between the security operatives and the daredevil criminals in broad daylight was regrettable.
Adeoluwa said, “It is a thing of regret that things have gone so bad in our country; at this level, the teams led by the deputy governor of the state were not able to have access to a part of our state. It means that without mincing words, the Federal Government needs to get involved in this.
“This is something that is beyond the capacity of the police. We need military task force like the one we have in Niger Delta; It’s necessary and desirable. As we can see in Elepete, Igbo-Olomu and Imagbon, nothing can be compared with the violence here in Ibafo.”