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Monday, May 16, 2022

Kidnappers in Ekiti target traditional rulers, farmers desert farmland

People of Ekiti State have cried out to the federal government to take urgent steps to arrest the dangerous trend of kidnapping, killing and maiming by suspected herdsmen on rampage in the state.

They said men of the underworld no longer operate on lonely or deserted roads, neither do they limit their scope to those who walk in dark alleys or stay late out from the safety of their homes.

According to the people, the criminals now go after their victims, anyway, anyhow with reckless abandon.

People are being kidnapped from their homes and taken to unknown destinations, traditional rulers and their hallowed palaces have been desecrated.

On the 14th of April, 2021, unknown gunmen stormed the palace of Obadun of Ilemeso-Ekiti, Oba David Oyewumi and without any respect for the traditional ruler, dragged him out of his throne into a waiting car.

Barely 23 days after the abduction of Obadun of Ilemeso-Ekiti; the Elewu of Ewu-Ekiti, Oba Adetutu Ajayi, in Ilejemeje Local Government Area of the state, was shot by suspected gunmen while returning from a journey to his hometown.

The monarch escaped by the whiskers from the scene but had gunshot injuries and was hospitalised in a private hospital in Ado-Ekiti for two weeks before being flown out of the state by members of his family for further medical attention.

Traditional rulers in the state are fast becoming a soft target of kidnappers in recent times as gunmen again abducted the Eleda of Eda-Ile in Ekiti East Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Oba Benjamin Adeniran Osho.

Oba Osho was said to have been kidnapped in the presence of his only wife while returning from their farm at Eda-Ile, after a heavy downpour in the area.

Barely 24 hours after the abduction of the monarch, a source who craved anonymity told journalists in Ado Ekiti that the monarch and the wife would have been kidnapped, but for pleading made by the traditional ruler.

“The Oba and his wife went to a farm and were accosted by these gunmen on their way back home. The two would have been kidnapped, but the monarch begged the bandits to free his wife, which they did.

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“N2 million ransom was raised by the family to secure the release of the monarch after spending several days at the kidnappers’ den.”

Shortly after the release of the monarch was secured, the chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Olabanji Alabi, the Alawe of Ilawe issued a release to lament on the level of insecurity in Ekiti State and the country at large.

The first-class monarch who lamented over the situation, however, charged the government to redouble its effort by improving on the security architecture in the state.

The traditional ruler also led some of his colleagues to the office of the Deputy Governor of the state in company of the chairman of Oye Local Government, Foluso Ojo, to seek the government’s support for improved security in their domains.

The monarch particularly made mention of his members who were recently abducted by kidnappers in their palaces and those accosted on the road as worrisome and called on the federal and state governments to intensify effort in ensuring the security of lives and property in the state.

The Onisan of Isan Ekiti, Oba Ayodele Adejuwon, said there is need for deployment of more security personnel to carry out a sustained and coordinated show of force in communities in the state.

Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, expressed the readiness of the Ekiti State Government to collaborate with security agencies to comb forests and other dark spots in a renewed bid to tackle kidnapping and other criminal activities in the state.

While sympathising with the royal fathers on the kidnap of their colleagues, the Deputy Governor emphasized that the government, security agencies and residents have much to do with intelligence gathering and consciousness on the movement of strange people in their localities.

While speaking on the matter, the Ekiti State Police Command, regretted the various incidents, despite the rigorous joint patrol, raiding of black spots and combing of forests by its men to dislodge criminals.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Babatunde Mobayo said he had issued a directive that the combined forces of Police, Amotekun Corps, Vigilante groups, local hunters, chiefs, drivers union, motorcycle riders, farmers and other stakeholders should carry out a joint operation being diligently observed simultaneously across the 16 local government areas before the gunmen struck.

“Some unknown gunmen mischievously defied the operation, came out and attacked the Elewu of Ewu, Oba Adetutu Ajayi while he was on transit between Ewu-Ekiti and Ayetoro-Ekiti at about 1900hrs,” Mobayo said.

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