By Dayo Johnson – Akure
In a bid to register their anger over the spate of insecurity in the Northern senatorial district of Ondo State, aged women in their hundreds from four council areas of Akokoland, protested half-naked and rained curses on perpetrators of unending criminal activities in their communities.
Some monarchs and other stakeholders in the district had recently raised the alarm over the invasion of criminals from border towns to perpetrate crimes in their communities.
The monarchs include the Owa of Ogbagi, Oba Victor Adetona; the Oluyani of Akoko, Oba Joel Daudu and Akala of Ikaramu, Oba Andrew Momoh. However, the unending insecurity in the senatorial district of the state prompted the aged women to go half-naked to call the state government’s attention and security agencies in the state and to sound a note of warning to perpetrators of the evil acts.
They trooped to the streets in the early hours of the Saturday and converged on the Akungba Akoko junction and walked peacefully to Oka Akoko, Akungba, Ikare Akoko and some other communities.
Armed with placards of various inscriptions and brooms, the protesters, chanted various solidarity songs along the streets and cursed those disturbing the peace in the communities.
They urged relevant security agencies to save them from the rampaging herdsmen, robbers and people of criminal tendencies that have turned the areas into their abode to commit crimes.
They frowned at the rate at which crimes such as kidnapping and armed robberies were been committed in the areas without checks by the security agencies in the state.
The protesters listed several crimes perpetrated in the senatorial district within the last three months and urged the state government and the security agencies to wake from their slumber and tackle the menace.
Amongst the crimes include the kidnap of the school Principal, the vice-principal, three teachers by bandits in Auga Akoko and the demand N35m ransomA secondary school Principal, Joshua Adeyemi, his Vice, Ifedayo Yesufu and three other teachers, Oloyede Bukola, Adagunodo Funmilayo and Blessing Okeke were abducted while they were travelling in a blue Toyota Corolla car belonging to the school along the Auga-Ise road in Akoko North-East council area and whisked into the forest.
The protesters also expressed worries over the murder of a police sergeant while on duty in Oka, Akoko South West council area.
The women also frowned at the gruesome murder of a 78-year-old woman, Veronica Dare, at Iwaro Oka, in the Akoko Southwest council area by suspected ritual killers.
The victim, who was a member of Deeper Life Bible Church in the community, was killed in the early hours on Sunday after cleaning the church.
The killers dumped her corpse in front of the church and fled.
The protesting women also lamented the kidnap of three construction workers rehabilitating the Ikaramu/Akunnu Akoko highway in Akoko North West council area of Ondo state by gunmen. They also kicked against the kidnap of a graduate, Ade Gbodi and one other resident of the lkaramu Akoko, who were abducted by gunmen at two separate spots in the community.
Vanguard gathered that the families and relations of victims of kidnapping paid millions of naira as ransom to secure their release.
Akoko communities not haven of kidnappers — Monarchs
Similarly, the monarchs from the senatorial districts warned the bandits to stop giving the senatorial district a bad name, noting that “enough is enough on the nefarious activities of the criminals in the Akoko areas of Ondo state.”
The traditional rulers said: “Akoko land has borders with three states to be specific: Ekiti, Kogi and Edo states and by the time the criminals come from those states, they would come into our area in Akoko without notice, strike and move back to their base and security agencies seem not to have the power to pursue them to their states.
“We have registered these complaints to the appropriate authority and security agencies for them to strengthen their collaboration with the neighbouring states.“Akoko communities are no longer the hideout for criminals. They should relocate and that’s our decision in the senatorial districts.
“We want a situation where our people can drive safely on the highways and our farmers can go to the farm without fear of being kidnapped.”
Speaking during the protest by the women, the Olubaka of Oka-Akoko, Oba Yusuf Adeleye, maintained that communal efforts and divine efforts will be applied as parts of solutions to the problems.
He lamented that the security situation has affected business activities in Akoko land as investors have refused to invest in the communities.
Also, the Akungba-Akoko monarch, Oba Sunday Adeyeye, said that efforts are in top gear on the part of royal fathers to bring the perpetrators to book.
He noted that the wanton killings portend an ominous sign of danger, maintaining that traditional institutions in the zone will not foot-drag in ensuring that peace and tranquillity return to the communities as soon as possible.Meanwhile, the regent of Akunnu Akoko, Princess Tolani Orogun, who led a protest in her domain over the development, said the situation calls for urgent measures.
She also urged the federal government and security agencies to rise to the task and fight insecurity with more vigour.
It wasn’t a protest but spiritual prayers — Amotekun Commander
Speaking on the protest, the state commander of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye said: “What those old women did wasn’t a protest against insecurity in their communities but they were raining curses on perpetrators of those criminal activities and praising Amotekun for rescuing all those abducted by the bandits.
“It was a coordinated spiritual prayer against perpetrators of evil in their communities. If you hear what they were saying and the placards they displayed, you see that they were cursing indigenes of the communities who connive with outsiders to perpetrate crime in the communities and those who invaded their communities to commit crimes.”
We’re on top of the situation — Police
Also, the state police command image maker, Funmi Odunlami said that it was an annual spiritual activity by the old women to cleanse the communities of all the wrongs of previous years, adding that the command was on top of the situation.