•We’re checking our flight log, says NAMA
•We’ve deployed soldiers to community — Ondo govt
•Chopper didn’t supply weapons — Police
By Dayo Johnson & Lawani Mikairu
AKURE— RESIDENTS of Arimogija community in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State, yesterday, raised an alarm of how a helicopter supplied weapons to herdsmen to unleash terror on them.
The helicopter was alleged to have landed in the bush where the weapons were said to have been supplied to the herdsmen.
A rice farmer, Jacob Oduche, his son, Adura and one Victor Ejeh were murdered in their farm by suspected herdsmen last week.
Consequently, residents of the community have fled their houses following the attack by the herdsmen and the alleged nonchalant attitude of the Ondo Police Command.
A leader in the town, who spoke in confidence alleged that the helicopter that came that same day that the family members were killed came to airlift substances suspected to be Indian hemp and
“not to supply weapons to herdsmen.”
Also, the Olumoru of Imoru, Oba Oluwarotimi Obamuwagun, said though the chopper came to the area that same day, it was not true that it came to drop weapons.
Obamuwagun said: “It is an allegation that was yet to be proven. I learned that the helicopter came and was seen at the boundary between Ondo and Edo States.
“There is a river that is a boundary between the two states close to the forest reserve in Ondo State.
“This is the second time this year that residents of the community would be killed, some residents have equally been killed in Ijagba, Ute and others kidnapped in Arimogija by suspected herdsmen.
“We have been having problems with the herdsmen in the forest and we have always reported them to the appropriate authorities and you know it is a national problem but the state government has been doing its best to protect our people.
“We appeal to the state government to still keep the soldiers and policemen in Arimogija community so as to stem the activities of these marauders.
But the chairman of Ose council area, Dennis Adekunle appealed to “the relevant security agencies to urgently look into the report of a series of coordinated attacks on residents of Arimogija by the herdsmen.”
Adekunle, in a statement, said: “We want them to especially look into the allegation of a helicopter that reportedly landed in the bush to drop sophisticated weapons to the herders to further unleash terror on the people.
“This has led to apprehension and mass exodus of traders and farmers from the once peaceful Arimogija community.”
The council chairman commended the timely intervention of the state government on the latest crisis aimed at returning normalcy to the community.
He, however, urged residents of Arimogija to remain law-abiding, peaceful, and more vigilant and beef up their internal security to ward off any external aggression.
We’ve deployed soldiers to the community— Ondo govt
When contacted, the Ondo State Government said it has waded into the matter by deploying military personnel to the community.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, said some security agents have been deployed to maintain law and order in the community.
Dojumo said: “I have been to Arimogija with some people; the people are so embittered about the man and his son that were killed. As they saw us, they started protesting but I was able to calm them down.
“They were apprehensive of the fact that they said they saw a particular helicopter that came to the bush and they were suspecting that the helicopter brought some herdsmen to the place to come and attack them probably at night.
“But Mr. Governor has sent some soldiers there, as I am talking to you, soldiers were patrolling the community.”
Chopper didn’t supply weapons—Ondo Police
In its response, the Ondo Police Command dismissed the allegations by the community.
Spokesperson of the Command, Mr. Leo Tee Ikoro said: “It is not true. The helicopter they saw that day was that of the family members that were murdered and on their way to Edo State not Arimigija in Ondo State.
“The helicopter didn’t drop or supplied weapons to anyone or anywhere as they are speculating. Both the police and soldiers were promptly deployed to the community after unknown gunmen
killed a father and his son.
“The report that weapons were dropped to unleash terror on the residents of that community is baseless and untrue. We are still on the trail of the killers and would soon get them.”
We’re checking our flight clearance—NAMA
Also when contacted, a top official of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, yesterday said it was checking flight clearance and control for last week to enable the agency to know if any helicopter was cleared to go to Ondo State.
Responding to Vanguard inquiry if any Helicopter was cleared to go to Ondo State by the Air Traffic controllers, a senior official for NAMA, sought time from Vanguard for the agency to go through the flight logbook for the week
The official said: “I have contacted the Air Traffic controllers and they are going through their books to know if any Helicopter flight was cleared to go to Ondo State on the said date.
“We have to also ascertain from the control tower in Akure to know if there was any Helicopter flight in Ondo State on the said date.”
As at the time of filing this report, the agency was yet to send its official response.