Last week, news broke of the shooting spree on the corps of the Western Nigerian Security Network (WNSN) codenamed Amotekun, embarked upon by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Orile-Igbon Police Station, headquarters of Surulere North LCDA in which an operative of Amotekun was severely wounded.
Investigations by ogbomosoinsightonline.com revealed that the Orile-Igbon DPO, Ayodeji Adepoju, had shown disdain to the Amotekun corps right from the first day the agency berthed at the local government in on November 18, 2020, to the extent of threatening them with arrest.
“The first day Amotekun corps visited him at the station he displayed hostility towards us, he told us pointblank that we were not wanted and warned us he would send us to prison like he did the members of the Nigerian legion in the past,” a member of the security outfit who however spoke under condition of anonymity informed ogbomosoinsightonline.com.
It was further learnt that the three familiarization visits made to his office were rebuffed by Officer Ayodeji Adepoju for reasons that were unclear then.
“Despite the first visit ordered by our coordinator in Surulere local government, Chief Olu Elebe in which the DPO showed enmity, our coordinator still led us on another visit but this time around the DPO did not even come out of his office not to talk of our being ushered into his office.
“We left that day but when we got to the office of the Surulere North LCDA chairman, Barrister Sarafadeen Olatunji Muhammed, we intimated him of our shabby treatment in the hand of the DPO and he requested us to go back that same day which our coordinator hearkened to but again the DPO turned us down,” the source disclosed.
Meanwhile, this wasn’t the situation with other DPOs in Ogbomoso zone who all welcomed the Amotekun corps warmly at least on the surface. “But this particular one remained unfriendly.”
The shooting incident – What led to it!
Before the incident that broke the camel’s back, the Amotekun operatives, whose purpose is to protect Yorubaland from unwarranted invasions by marauders who destroy farms, kidnap, kill farmers and embark on orgies of rape, it was learnt had made a number of interventions in the council area on matters involving destruction of farmlands by Fulani herdsmen.
However the DPO of Orile-Igbon Police Station, Ayodeji Adepoju, without abatement thwarted the efforts of Amotekun, it was alleged.
Another source revealed that earlier this year, some farmers reported destruction of their farms at Abogunde by herdsmen to Amotekun corps and two operatives were detailed to investigate the matter. When found to be true the culprits were apprehended, however, DPO Adepoju was said to have hijacked the case and instead locked up the farmers and released the Fulani suspects.
“Cases like these were rampant, in which the DPO openly supported Fulani herdsmen who destroy farms,” the source alleged.
The incident of February 11 leading to the shooting saga began meanwhile when some farmers reported the invasion and destruction of their farms by another band of herdsmen at Iba-Iyaoje also in Surulere local government to the office of Amotekun.
Two officers of Amotekun were deployed to effect the arrest of the suspects, which was accomplished.
But as they got to Iwofin, kilometers away policemen sent by DPO Adepoju accosted the Amotekun operatives who were holding the Fulani suspects and arrested the two Amotekun operatives, took them to the station at Igbon and detained them. The two operatives spent the night at the cell.
In fact it was learnt that if not for the appeal by the Amotekun operatives the police could have been lynched by the people of Iwofin who were angered by the bias brazenly displayed by the police.
The second day, the Surulere local government coordinator of Amotekun sent seven of his men to Orile-Igbon to check on their operatives in detention and facilitate their release, aside that, to retrieve the motorcycle of the agency taken into custody by the police.
“Before the seven officers left,” another source began, “the council coordinator, Chief Elebe, made strong appeals to his men not to be provoked and to restrain from using their guns when they get to the station. This is because he sensed what could happen in view of the repulsive attitude of the DPO in the past.
“He ordered, cajoled and begged them not to engage the police in any altercation or return fire if attacked. The officers took this to heart as on three occasions before they got to Igbon they stopped their vehicle and reminded themselves of the instruction of their boss.”
As if he knew what would happen when they arrived at the station they met the station guard; they introduced themselves and their mission but the DPO appeared from his office suddenly, allegedly snatched the gun in the possession of his station guard and started firing at the Amotekun operatives though they were unharmed.
When contacted Chief Elebe only retorted that he thanked God that he did not include certain of his men in the team that went to the station “because they are so fortified that instead of being harmed by the bullets the one firing would have been harmed instead and we would have played into the hand of the DPO and his cohorts.
“It is however unfortunate that Adewale Job the Amotekun officer who was harmed was standing outside and was hit by stray bullet in the leg, I don’t know, he shouldn’t have been affected by the bullets. But we thank God it was not fatal.”
Continuing, Elebe asserted, “I counted 16 shots made at my men because they called me on phone that they were being shot at and I counted 16 shots made before being told that Adewale had been hit. That was when the DPO stopped his madness.”
The injured officer was subsequently rushed to the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital for medical treatment where bullets were extracted from his leg. He is now in stable conditions.
Meanwhile, the two Amotekun officers who were in police custody at Igbon were still held and were said to have been subjected to severe beating by policemen including men of the Constabulary Police before being released.
What could have led to serious fracas was later averted as operatives of Amotekun from other council areas in Ogbomoso and from Oyo town drove to the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital where the shot Adewale was being treated, on hearing the distress call ready to storm Igbon Divisional Police Office. “But for our coordinator (Chief Elebe) who restrained the operatives, calamity could have occurred,” it was learnt.
Speaking further on the matter, our source frowned at the action of two prominent persons in Ogbomoso area including a traditional ruler whose position on the incident the source averred called for concern.
According to the source, “The traditional ruler (name withheld) on arriving at the Igbon Police Station vented his anger on the Amotekun operatives and also instructed that they be locked up. This is just as another highly placed member of a prominent socio-cultural organization in Ogbomoso took the matter personally against Chief Elebe. The angry community leader was said to have castigated Elebe suggesting he had personal issue with the DPO.”
Network of corruption
Wondering why the DPO would open fire on the men who came to his station to appeal to him for the release of their men in his custody ogbomosoinsightonline.com sought answers. Among others it was alleged that the DPO also had cattle with Fulani herdsmen, and then, here is a weighty one, “he (DPO) receives protection fee from herdsmen on a monthly basis,” he was further alleged. “That is why,” the informant continued, “he felt so threatened that the Amotekun corps could succeed in cutting off that line of income to him.”
Another Amotekun operative who also spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Since the incident what we have discovered is that the rate of crimes both destruction of crops and armed robbery, has reduced in the area just as we have been having relative peace.”
However, in his response the DPO alleged that the Amotekun operatives were planning to set ablaze the Fulani settlements in the area hence his action.
In the meantime the Oyo state governor Engr Seyi Makinde, has ordered a panel to be set up to look into the saga.