By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—VIOLENCE is gradually becoming a daily occurrence in Ibadan metropolis as youths, under the guise of organizing street carnivals, unleash terror on residents and rival groups.
Their restiveness has almost rubbished the peace that Governor Abiola Ajimobi led administration has been touting as one of his achievements since he assumed the mantle of leadership in the Pacesetter State in 2007.
It initially started between two notorious groups, One Million Boys and Idi Igi Boys at Born Photo and Popopyemoja areas of the city. Despite the efforts of the security agencies to quell it, it has been spreading from one place to another.
Just recently, at Iso Pako in Sango area of the metropolis, hell was let loose as rival youths engaged in a bloody clash. In the morning, broken bottles, blood stains and cluster of people in the area were tell-tale signs that they had a turbulent night. Though, no life was lost, residents said, gunshots and use of other dangerous weapons robbed them of rest after the day’s work.
As if that was not enough, youths in places like Oja’gbo, Beyerunka, Labiran, Idi Arere/Asuni, Asaka, Isale Osi, Oopo Yeosa and Olorisa Oko areas, on Sunday also ruptured the peace of the city.
About 30 shops and houses were razed when the arsonists swooped on the areas. Shops belonging to fashion designers, soft drinks sellers, houses, electronics shops, frozen foods’ shops and cooking materials were burnt down.
A source told Vanguard that hoodlums stormed the areas at midnight when many of the residents of the affected areas were fast asleep.
He said, “It is not up to Popoyemoja, it was only at Idi-Arere, Bode up to Alleluyah Petrol station. It is a case of arson. They burnt houses and shops too. So, it was very late, though it happened in the midnight. It was when we woke up this morning that we saw everything. It is not up to Popoyemoja, it stopped at Idi-Arere. From that junction to Bode road.
“Though, I can’t count the number of shops, but, it was a stretch from that junction up to Alleluyah petrol station. But, we are talking of about ten to fifteen shops on this side and ten to fifteen shops on the other side. It’s about 30 shops that were burnt.”
Fish out perpetrators—Oyo gov, Olubadan
In the same vein, Governor Ajimobi has directed the Oyo State Police Command to fish out the perpetrators of mayhem at different locations in the state, saying that anyone arrested should be treated like a hardened criminal.
The enormity of the destruction compelled the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji to summon an emergency meeting of all family heads in the affected areas to his palace at Popoyemoja, Ibadan on Tuesday.
The Mogaji and Baale who attended the meeting include those whose family compounds fall within Oja’gbo, Beyerunka, Labiran, Idi Arere/Asuni, Asaka, Isale Osi, Oopo Yeosa and Olorisa Oko areas of Ibadan.
The community leaders, in a statement by the Director of Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Adeola Oloko, were reacting to recent civil disobedience and arson which some hoodlums carried out in some parts of the city.
Oloko said over 250 Mogaji, Baale and Chiefs whose areas were recently affected by the mayhem converged on the Popoyemoja, Ibadan palace of Oba Adetunji for two and a half hours to take the unanimous stand. The sitting which identified unemployment, drug abuse, idleness, inadequate synergy between the law enforcement agents and the grassroots reasoned that the time had come for family heads to conduct regular weekly family meetings through which family ties could be strengthened and existing gaps closed for family safety and solidarity.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, SP Adekunle Ajisebutu, 11 suspects have been arrested in connection with the arson.
Ajisebutu said, Mr Abiodun Odude has directed that security be beefed up in the areas to prevent further breakdown of law and order.
Ajisebutu said the CP,”while directing that the 11 suspects including their ring leaders arrested be charged to court immediately after conclusion of investigation, also warned hoodlums and other criminal elements against wanton destruction of lives and property.”
Vanguard further gathered that the youths at Sango area especially where the government constructed a link road to ease traffic congestion always force motorists to part with money to organize the carnivals.
Further investigation also revealed that cultism is rampant among the youths. According to a source, there are so many rival cult groups in places like Apete, Agbowo, Sango and other places. It is the usual battle for the control of the areas that causes problems.