Afenifere, national coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the International Alliance for Justice and Peace (IAJP), yesterday condemned the Nigeria police for allegedly arresting members of the OPC after they handed over a dreaded Fulani warlord, Isikilu Wakiku, alleged to be terrorising the people in of Ibarpaa North Local Government Area of Oyo State and other areas in Ibarapaland.
OPC had apprehended and handed over the alleged terrorist to men of the police on Sunday. The Aare Gani Adams-led faction of the OPC had a week earlier nabbed Wakilu’s deputy and some other members of his gang.
Some videos posted by the OPC online on Sunday showed Wakilu, who is dressed in a green outfit at the back of a vehicle being driven to Ayete, the headquarters of the local government area.
Wakilu was said to have been arrested with four of his children who were accused of shooting at the OPC men when they were sighted. Wakilu had been in the news since activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, stormed Ibarapaland and chased away people suspected to be kidnap kingpins in the area.
Some people alleged that Wakilu was one of the Fulani residents that had become untouchable in the Oke-Ogun However, in a turn of event, the OPC members were allegedly arrested by men of the Oyo State Police command yesterday when they went to hand Wakilu over to the police.
Confirming the development, the National Coordinator of the OPC and Aareonakakanfo of Yoruba, Aare Gani Adams, said that it is true that his men were arrested by men of the police and taken to the state CID, Iyanganku.
Adams bemoans the development, describing it as one of the frustrations that bedeviled the land.
Also reacting to the alleged arrest, the spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said, “Well, that is Buhari’s Nigeria, a criminal has been harassing the land, tormenting our people, the police could not arrest him, now our homeland security have arrested him, what they now do is to arrest them for the bandits.
“It is the glorification of banditry that is now happening in Nigeria, but the arrest by the OPC is a good one for us, it shows that our people can manage our security, which they have one and we commend them.”
Adams had earlier applauded the joint efforts of all the security operatives in Ibarapa on the arrest of the man he described as the most dreaded and notorious Kidnap kingpin, Abdullah Wakilu in a joint operation.
He said the joint team of Ibarapa security operatives, including OPC, Vigilante and other groups had arrested Wakilu and three others after several attempts culminating in a gun battle.
Wakilu was nabbed barely seven days after his second-in-command, Isiaka Muhammadu, was arrested alongside four others, by the Oyo State chapter of the OPC. He was arrested around 7am on Sunday, and had been handed over to the Divisional police office, Igbo Ora, Oyo State.
Speaking on the development, Iba Gani Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, hailed the joint security team, saying the efforts paid off, coming at a time when Wakilu and his gang had made life unbearable to the people of Ibarapa and its environs in Oyo state.
“I am happy that the notorious kidnapper had been captured alongside three others. It is a good development and a positive signal to other criminal elements that the Southwest is no longer an abode for bandits, kidnappers and criminal herders.
“I commend all the members of the joint security team that have made this possible because with the video at my disposal, it was purely a neat job.
“With this development, I think the whole world will agree with me that the fight against insurgency, kidnapping and banditry needs native intelligence, information gathering and grassroots support from local securities and operatives.
“As I have said earlier that the effort to rid the Southwest of bandits and kidnappers was to complement the efforts of the police and in doing that, it is also very important for the police to support the local security operatives because they are always at the grassroots and they have their ears to the ground on local security matters” Iba Adams pointed out that the success recorded so far will help in advancing the call for community policing and further enhance police operations in information gathering, adding that the joint security team that arrested Wakilu did their job without taking laws into their hands.”
Meanwhile, Afenifere, the Yoruba social political group, has given what it calls a ‘tremendous commendation’ to the OPC for the arrest of Iskilu Wakili.
The group, in a statement by its spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin said it was relieved at the arrest of “the Fulani bandit who has been spreading terror on our people in Igboho area and the Nigerian police and other security agencies unable to do anything about him.
“The early morning peaceful arrest confirms our position on how effective local initiative can do well in homeland security.
“We were not shocked that but for the intervention by the leadership in Oyo State, the police would have gone after the OPC boys instead of taking the criminal from them and doing the needful. “Nigeria is going nowhere with a security network that shuns federalism.
Well done, OPC.” Also the International Alliance for Justice and Peace (IAJP) has congratulated the OPC for their exceptional courage “matched only by great discipline in their latest intervention in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.”
The group in a release signed by Dr Seun Kolade noted that “the men of OPC effected the arrest of one Wakili, a notorious leader of a violent gang that has unleashed terror on the people of Ibarapa for many months, paralysing economic activities and leaving many residents maimed and dead, and billions of property destroyed in his wake.
“The OPC completed this operation without any bloodshed to the alleged gang leader and members, even in the face of utmost provocation in which gang members shot several times at the OPC members.
“In carrying out this operation with such rare discipline, the OPC has not only inspired hope among the long suffering residents of the beleaguered community, it has also laid down a high standard for cooperation between citizens and police and security forces in the collect effort to tackle the menace of gang violence terrorism across Yorubaland.
“Tragically however, we are horrified to hear reports that men of the Nigerian police have arrested four members of the heroic OPC team that commendably and impeccably effected the apprehension of the deadly Wakilu and his men.
“This alleged act is an outrageous assault on the sensibilities of all men and women of good will, not only across Yorubaland but anywhere in the world!
It is an established and acceptable principle of law that citizens have the right to, and are in fact encouraged to apprehend individual or individuals who have committed or are in the process of committing indictable or felonious acts, the likes of those Wakilu and his men have been accused.
“We call on the police high command to investigate this reported incident, as it undermines the working synergy that should exist between the police and neighbourhoods’ security stakeholders.
“It also validates the perception that the Buhari-led Nigerian security forces are outdoing themselves to confirm long held suspicions that it is complicit in the campaign of terror currently ravaging Yorubaland.
“If not convincingly rebutted, it would essentially further set a dangerous message that restraint and cooperation with security agencies is not a viable option for law abiding citizens who only want to live their lives in peace,” the group said.
When contacted however, the Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), neither denied nor confirm the arrest of the OPC members, he only confirmed that the said Wakilu was in their custody.