Ajaawa, headquarters of Ogo-Oluwa local government area, Ogbomoso zone of Oyo state, is currently engulfed in crisis over spate of kidnappings in recent times in the community, with the crisis climaxing in the death of one young man, identified as Dubel.
In addition, arson and destruction of properties belonging to one Prince Gideon Adeboye Oyekunle, popularly called Ade Master, a claimant to the throne of Alaajawa, and who had now fled the community, followed. He is suspected to be behind the kidnappings in the community.
This evening, the entrance to the ancient town from Ogbomoso, where a Divisional Police Office is situated, was manned by a heavy presence of mobile policemen, brought in as reinforcements to curtail the crisis that erupted last evening (June 1, 2021) and spilled into this morning.
As ogbomosoinsightonline.com entered the town this evening, over fifteen police vans were sighted with heavily armed policemen while some of them were advancing towards the town. A drive round the town also revealed palpable tension as people sat in groups in front of their houses and at corners ostensibly discussing the situation and casting wary glances at the few people moving through the streets. The streets were practically deserted. The escalating situation has caused the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Thompson Adeyeye Oyetunji Atunlute Olumole I, Alajaawa of Ajaawa, to appeal to Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde to impose a curfew.
Origin of the crisis
The coronation of Oba Thompson Adeyeye Oyetunji Atunlute Olumole I as Alajaawa of Ajaawa last year, it was learnt, was the remote cause of the crisis that has swallowed up the hitherto peaceful, agrarian community.
However, the immediate cause is the kidnapping incidents that suddenly erupted in the town, which showed no sign of abating. In the last one month or so, two successful kidnap cases had been recorded with one victim killed. The third attempt was foiled by youths of the town who confronted the suspected kidnappers last week.
The first kidnap case it would be recalled affected a family of nine who were kidnapped at their hotel in Ajaawa and only regained freedom after an alleged sum of N4.8m was paid as ransom. But in the second incident, the sole victim was not so lucky, as he was murdered and his corpse only found after five days, already decomposing in a bush near the town.
The unfortunate young man, a popular butcher in the community and son of Chief Imam of Ajaawa, was said to have been called on phone in the evening of the day he went missing when he was about breaking his fast (the last day of the just concluded Ramadan fast by Muslims).
The call reportedly came through inviting him to come and look over a cow for possible purchase. He left his food but he never returned alive. This was a strange occurrence in the farming community. People were aghast, devastated and got piqued.
So, when last week gunshots repeatedly rent the air in the community, and an elderly man, an Ifa priest popularly called Babanifa, was bundled into a vehicle headed towards the exit of the town, the youths mobilized themselves believing it was another kidnap case; they barricaded the road amid firing of gunshots by the suspected kidnappers.
An eyewitness told ogbomosoinsightonline.com, “The men in the vehicle shot repeatedly at the youths but the resilient youths were not harmed perhaps they were fortified against bullets.” And so, the suspected kidnappers were overpowered. But they still managed to escape into the Ajaawa police station. About four of them were reportedly caught by the angry youths while the rest ran into the station.
The angry youths began to beat these men, with policemen at the station remaining helpless. A large crowd quickly formed.
It was at this point that a twist was introduced into the matter. The police claimed the suspects caught by the youths were not kidnappers but policemen from the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT unit), headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Aba Kyari.
The people were not impressed positing that if truly they were from Abuja, they would not operate in such manner. “How can you come and arrest a man all the way from Abuja without you being accompanied by policemen from the area? Moreover, the way they were shooting did not reflect professionalism,” some people averred.
The angry youths remained adamant and were spoiling to mete out jungle justice on the suspects, it was at this point that the said Prince Gideon Oyekunle a.k.a. Ade Master, appeared and made strenuous efforts to rescue the suspects.
According to the people, that singular action shifted attention on him that he might after all be behind the increasing waves of kidnapping in the community.
Area Commander asked me to rescue the suspects – Ade Master
ogbomosoinsightonline.com spoke with Ade Master on phone this evening as he had fled the town and he concluded that he was set up by his opponents that he did nothing wrong, insisting that his only crime was aspiring to mount the throne of Ajaawa.
According to him, when he saw the suspects being rough handled by the youths, he quickly called the Area Commander in Ogbomoso to intimate him about the development, “I was scared that the youths were in the process of meting out jungle justice on the men and I hysterically told the Area Commander so that such heinous crime would not be committed in Ajaawa. We shouldn’t cause problem that would snowball into indiscriminate arrests thereafter. I was only moved by patriotism for Ajaawa.”
Continuing, Ade Master said, “So, the Area Commander begged me to help rescue the men that they were policemen. It was then I called the DPO of Opete police station, who sent his men down with a patrol vehicle to evacuate the men.”
But this frantic effort to rescue the suspected kidnappers brought him on the spot and people began to suspect him as being the brain behind the kidnappings in the town.
People put one and two together and Ade Master became the prime suspect more so when he bitterly contested the throne with the reigning Alajaawa, Oba Oyetunji and had not relented.
His other popular nickname is “Anjannu Ajaawa,” owing to his engagement in traditional medicine, believably fiery and fierce in character and so extremely feared.
He runs a hotel in Ajaawa, which he named “Prince Ade Master Hotel,” at Oke-Ola. His residence also in Oke-Ola is said to house over six exotic cars including a Venza, which he allegedly bought this year. He is also said to have many wives and over sixty children. More chilling is his possession of a shrine in a nearby secluded bush in Ajaawa, more like a den of ritual killings.
A resident, who pleaded anonymity, revealed the shrine was a place often thronged by strange exotic cars at night, “and nobody dared venture into the fenced, scary den.”
But Ade Master debunked this claim, saying he was only being called a bad dog so as to hang him. He disclosed he is an onisegun (medicine man) and that the mentioned shrine is where he practiced his traditional medicine and received clients.
“They are only making up all that. There is nothing like ritual killing. It is my farm and where I practiced my traditional medicine and received clients,” he explained.
He insisted that his only offence was showing interest in Alajaawa chieftaincy, adding, “His (Oba Oyetunji) brother took him to court after he was purportedly installed and the court removed him, I have not done him or Ajaawa any evil, I put up all my businesses in Ajaawa. See what they had done to me, they burnt about ten of my houses including that of my son, my wives’ and hotel and one uncompleted building.”
Day of rage
June 1 and 2, 2021 would not be forgotten so quickly in Ajaawa because of the carnage that was unleashed on the town by the youths.
According to findings, about eighty Ajaawa youths from Ibadan and Lagos stormed the town on Okada, to come and express solidarity to Oba Oyetunji and make known their displeasure over the unpalatable happenings in the community in recent times.
But when they arrived, the monarch wasn’t in the town; he was at Ogunlola Hall in Ogbomoso to receive, along with others, the Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, who was visiting Ogbomoso zone for a town hall meeting as part of activities marking his second year in office.
When the Oba returned to Ajaawa late in the evening he met the youths at his residence, Oba Oyetunji disclosed, but that he appealed to them to be law-abiding, that they were doing everything possible to get on top of the situation mentioning the observance of a three-day prayer and fasting programme in the town recently as part of the efforts to overcome the problem.
The youths were reportedly pacified but youthful exuberance took the better part of them and so, they were riding round the town in show of solidarity.
“However,” an eyewitness began, “as they got near the residence of Ade Master, his security men opened fire on the young men and a young man, Dubel, who was in his 30s, was hit in the chest. He fell and died at the spot.”
For the youths, that was an unambiguous act of provocation. It was late in the evening on Tuesday, June 1. The youths thus mobilized all through the night spoiling for “war.” So, in the morning of June 2, they stormed Ade Master’s residence and hotel, both at Oke-Ola area of the town.
But Anjannu Ajaawa had escaped the town before dawn along with his large harem and children. His property were razed to the ground including all the furniture and other items in the places.
That was not all, his shrine believed to be a den of evil was attacked, vandalized and razed down. It is a scary place. A house belonging to one of his sons at Oke-Poat was also torched and other property belonging to him which he said numbered ten.
The dreadful Anjannu Ajaawa’s shrine
Anjannu Ajaawa is a name he reportedly gave himself in self-adulation of his powers. He is a powerful jujuman who nobody dares. His shrine is fiendish and dreadful. Leading to the den tucked in a bush not far from the town is a narrow path with tall, slender trees lining the path to give ominous environment. The approach is fenced with barbed wire and cement blocks. There is a gate and gate house said to be occupied by his security men who mounted sentry 24 hours to prevent unwanted visitors and intruders.
Inside the frightful den were different huts and buildings. One particular house has the name “Iledi Agbaaye” written conspicuously outside its wall and here coffins were said to have been discovered. More frightening is a dug pit like a well said to be bottomless but contained no water and blood was said to have been dripping at its edge when the place was stormed early this morning. There is a giant ose tree with clothes tied round its girth with an adjoining secret room containing a small door. There are terrifying, charmed, graven images of varying types. White clothes also littered the place.
The angry youths spared nothing here too; they burned down the place including the said coffins and demolished several structures.
Alajaawa called for curfew
Exasperated by happenings in his domain, the Alajaawa of Ajaawa, Oba Oyetunji has appealed to the Oyo state governor, Makinde to impose a curfew on the community from 7pm to 6am pending when peace would return.
He added, “This has become imperative to secure life and property in Ajaawa.”
In the meantime, people await the step to be taken by the police whom many believed are his close friends even as the Area Commander led a team of policemen to the town after the ugly incident in the morning. No arrest has been made as at the time of filing this report meanwhile, just as peace of the graveyard pervaded the town.