- Sporadic gunshots pervades community in last 12 hours
Dayo Johnson Akure
The annual lkare day celebration in Akoko North-East council area of Ondo State turned bloody leaving many persons killed and injured.
Reports had it that the closure of the market for celebration aggravated the tension in the town over the age-long chieftaincy tussle between two traditional rulers within the town, the Owa Ale and Olukare of Ikare Akoko.
An undisclosed number of persons were reportedly killed during clashes in the community following sporadic gunshots that have pervaded the town.
Sources alleged that While the faction loyal to Owa Ale claimed that commercial activities were disrupted because of the Ikare day celebration, those loyal to Olukare said that the celebration was disrupted by sponsored thugs by the other faction.
Speaking with newsmen, a resident said that a popular commercial market in the town, Osele market, situated in the Okorun area of the town was ordered to be closed last Saturday during the celebration of Ikare day.
“Some leaders of the market and community leaders resisted the move to close down the market which falls on the same day with Ikare day, saying the market is not within the jurisdiction of Olukare of Ikare but under Owa Ale.
“Some people came to the market with canes to drive the marketers away because of the Ikare day celebration but the market resisted the move.
“They returned and regrouped but our men resisted them that the celebration of Ikare day should not disturb the weekly market. But we are surprised to learn that our people have been warned not to come to other markets in the town”
“This move was resisted by those who were turned back from the market and leading to friction between the two sides. We have resolved not to disturb the peace being enjoyed in the town”
However, another resident claimed that some sponsored thugs from the Owa Ale side, invaded the venue of the celebration with cutlass and other dangerous weapons, disrupting the celebration
He said some people were injured during the melee and they were rushed to the hospital while the incident was reported at the police station.
“We were preparing for annual Ikare day when we heard people from Okorun quarters used cutlass on somebody from Okoja. The Olukare and his chiefs realised it was a plan to disrupt the celebration.
“They took the injured person to the hospital. On Sunday we heard Owa Ale people were preparing for another fight. Some Police operatives were invited and they were able to pacify the leaders.
“Yesterday we heard the Okorun quarters started shooting at people. One person has died so far.”
In a swift response, the state governor Rotimi Akeredolu has ordered the imposition of a twenty-four-hour curfew on the community.
The imposing of the curfew, according to the information and Orientation Commissioner, Donald Ojogo was coming on the heels of security reports arising from the bloody clashes in Ikare.
Ojogo in the statement said the curfew was with immediate effect.
He said that ” some deaths have been recorded as a result of sporadic gunshots that have pervaded the ancient town in the last 12 hours.
“Security agencies, especially the Police and Amotekun have already been directed to ensure full compliance and enforcement of the curfew imposed.
“All Traditional Rulers, Opinion and Religious Leaders are enjoined to give maximum support to this order just as they are to rein in their subjects and wards. The statement added.
Meanwhile, the state government has lifted the curfew imposed on Igbara-Oke.
A statement by the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Donald Ojogo said that “The State Security Council reviewed the situation and concluded that while efforts are not spared to sustain the relative peace, it was only appropriate to lift the curfew, for now.
Ojogo added that “This notwithstanding, all those arrested in connection with the crisis shall be prosecuted accordingly”