Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers on Monday killed two Ekiti State monarchs on the Ipao-Oke Ako Road.
This was as civil society groups, under the aegis of the Civil Society Joint Action Group, said 17,469 Nigerians were abducted under the Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu administrations from 2019 to date.
The gunmen killed the Onimojo of Imojo in the Oye Local Government Area, Oba Olatunde Olusola, and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti in the Ikole Local Government Area, Oba Babatunde Ogunsakin, while the Alara of Ara Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Fatoba in the Ikole Local Government Area, escaped.
Sources said the traditional rulers were returning from a function in Kogi State when their vehicles ran into the suspected kidnappers, who had laid an ambush on the road.
According to sources, while the bandits chased the Alara in a bid to kidnap him, the two other monarchs also attempted to escape but were shot by the gunmen.
A source explained, “I called my father to inform him that I was coming to the village tomorrow (Tuesday) but he said I should not come because our monarch was killed by some unknown gunmen.
“He told me the Alara of Ara-Ekiti, the Olumojo of Imojo-Ekiti and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti were coming from a function when their vehicle was accosted by the gunmen who shot at them.
“He told me that Elesun and Olumojo were hit by the bullets fired by the gunmen and they died instantly while Alara escaped.”
The Chairman of the Ajoni Local Council Development Area, Micheal Ogungbemi, in whose domain the incident took place, said that the dead bodies of the two obas had been recovered from the scene and taken to a mortuary.
The council boss explained that information indicated that the traditional rulers, who were coming from Kogi State, were attacked in the Oke Ako area.
LG chairman speaks
Ogungbemi said, “I have mobilised the Divisional Police Officer, the Rapid Respond Squad, and Amotekun Corps to the place. We have recovered the corpses of the kabiyesis to the hospital. The perpetrators are bandits because Kabiyesi Alara saw them.
“Those killed were Kabiyesi Elesun and Kabiyesi Onimojo. They were shot at and they died instantly. Kabiyesi Alara escaped.
“They were travelling in a car; Kabiyesi Alara drove the car. When they ran into them, they chased Kabiyesi Alara to the forest. Kabiyesi Elesun and Kabiyesi Onimojo were trying to escape from the scene when the bandits coming from behind shot at them.
“The monarchs had driven past the checkpoint of the local security outfit when the incident happened. The Alara, upon escape, informed the local security of the development. The bandits were carrying sophisticated arms.”
The Onikun of Ikun Ekiti and Secretary of Majority Obas of Ekiti Land, Oba Olatunde David Olusola, who described the incident as unfortunate, said the two deceased monarchs were active members of the association.
Oba Olusola said, “There is a need for government to rise, we have been paying lip service to the issue of security. We need to localise the security system and involve traditional rulers. The government must sit down immediately with traditional rulers to fashion out ways to secure our communities. We know what to do.”
When contacted about the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, Sunday Abutu, said it was a case of suspected murder.
“It’s a suspected case of murder but details will be communicated as soon as it’s available. Necessary action is underway as the tactical and intelligence teams have been deployed in that axis,” he stated.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the Civil Society Joint Action Group, revealed that 2,423 persons had been killed, while 1,872 others had been abducted since the inauguration of President Tinubu.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said insecurity had persisted over the last three administrations, with 24,816 Nigerians killed and 15,597 persons abducted in the last administration of President Buhari, between 2019 and 2023.
Out of the total number of 17, 469 kidnapped from 2019 and to date, 90 per cent of the cases were recorded under Buhari, while 10 per cent have been recorded under Tinubu.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has condemned the dastardly attack on the monarch, which led to the gruesome killing of the two traditional rulers, and ordered security agencies in the state to fish out the killers.
Oyebanji, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, said security agents had been dispatched to the area to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
The governor, who presided over the state security council meeting in Ado Ekiti, barely an hour before the incident occurred, said that “no stone will be left unturned in the bid to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
He expressed the condolences of the government and people of Ekiti State to the people of Imojo Ekiti and Esun Ekiti over the sad incident.
The governor also urged the people of the two towns to remain calm and refrain from taking the laws into their own hands, saying, “Government would ensure that justice is served.
Oyebanji charged security agencies in the state “to remain vigilant and resolute in the efforts to stamp out crime and criminality from the state.”
Restating the commitment of his government to the security of lives and properties of citizens in the state, the governor said his administration would continue to deploy technology for crime detection and prevention, as well as provide necessary support for security agencies in the state.
Also, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba, Gami Adams, in an interview with The PUNCH, condemned the attacks and described the insecurity situation in the country as unfortunate.
According to him, the South-West governors have failed to partner with local security outfits to tackle insecurity in the southwest region.
He said, “It is very unfortunate that the security situation has gotten to this level in the country. Nigeria is in an absolute state of insecurity. The government knows what to do to solve this. I have pulled more than 13 different organisations together on security, but the government refused to partner with us to flush out the criminal elements in the South-West.
“Instead of politicians working with the principal, they will be working with the organisations individually, it won’t work. If the governors are ready to work with us, within six months, insecurity in Yoruba land will reduce drastically. There are a lot of ways to reduce insecurity. We have been facing a lot of embarrassment in this country.
“We have been having insecurity in other regions in the country, but not in the South-West which is the economic nerve centre of this country. If they reach out to me because I am not sure that I can reach the security agencies directly without the instruction of the governors calling them to work with me because I have written letters to them for partnership but they refuse. The excuse they give to you is that they want to get security clearance from the IG (Inspector-General of Police ) while the DSS (Department of State Services) will say the same. But with the governor, I am so convenient.
“Right now, we are in Osun with about 150 delegates from the Diaspora, but as I am talking to you, it is only the OPC that is arranging security for them. No single policeman to provide cover for the past five days that we have been in Osogbo.
On his part, the Osun State Commander, Amotekun Corps, Bashir Adewinbi (retd.) called on the South-West governors to strengthen the Amotekun Corps to prevent the kidnappers from having a field day.
He also advocated stiffer punishment for arrested kidnappers.
Adewinbi said, “We must be very hard on apprehended kidnappers. The absence of stiffer punishment has emboldened them and because it’s now a business they are increasing in numbers.
The epidemic is increasing in the South West as a result of the spillover of the insecurity we are having in the Northern parts of the country. I will advise governors of the region to invest more in community policing and recruit more personnel into the Amotekun corps. “
The Head of Transparency International Nigeria, Awaul Rafesajani, said, “The government should declare a state of emergency on insecurity. The earlier this is done the better. They may feel they are protected but criminals get emboldened with the crime they commit and get away with it.”
Expressing anger over the attack, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, called on the President to be more proactive in tackling insecurity in the country.
The Organising Secretary of the group, Chief Kole Omololu, in an interview with The PUNCH, condemned the attack on the royal fathers. He said there was a need for the security agencies to be up and doing in the discharge of their duty of protecting the lives and properties of the people of the country.
He said, “It is with a heavy heart and deep concern we learn of the gruesome kidnapping of four Royal fathers in Ekiti State. We note that two of them were killed, one escaped and one in the custody of the terrorists. This is too worrisome to bear.
“We call on the president to assert on the security forces for undivided attention. They must be sweep and decisive in curbing this menace. The audacity of these enemy of the nation is becoming unimaginable reality, striking fear in the hearts of our people.
“The secret police of our nation where are you, how can evil be roaming majestically in our roads and environment undetected, why? The DSS has questions to answer.”
The Afenifere chieftain reiterated the call for the creation of the state and proper arming of South-West Nigeria Security Network Agency also known as Amotekun with ammunition, saying this would go a long way in tackling the menace.
“The time our state governments in the South-West to draft the OPC boys in conjunction with Amotekun to our bushes is now. We foretold this that the terrorists would retreat for about six months after the swearing-in of President Bola Tinubu to launch back now.
President should never allow evil, to intimidate or defeat us, “ Omololu warned.
Meanwhile, netizens have taken to social media to express outrage over the killing of two Obas in the Oke-Ako/Ipao area of Ekiti.
While mourning the monarchs, Facebook and X users also expressed dismay over the worsening security situation in the country.
A Facebook user, Adedibu Ekiti, wrote, “This is typically bad news. Elesun of Esun Ekiti And two other Obas in Ikole Local Government Area have been attacked by kidnappers along Ipao-Oke Ako Road.”
“Rest in peace Your Majesty, the Elesun of Esun Ekiti,” Prince Olokesusi Julius AdeKunle also wrote on Facebook.
Àlàbí Michael wrote in pidgin English, “All these happened within 24 hours. Sunday Igboho don talk am before, but we say Igboho na terrorist. Now e don dey happen.”
Nelson Babatunde Olasehinde said, “Too sad,” while Babayemi Segunbabs wrote, “This is very sad news o, OLODUMARE!”
Expressing shock, Mike Bobade wrote “For real?”
“You can’t defend the APC and not sound stupid,” Idoma Elejo said on Facebook.
Many X users who posted about the incident captioned it “Sad news”, “Disturbing news”, and “Disturbing news from Ekiti” among others.