Demonstrators on Monday called on Seyi Makinde, Oyo State Governor, Southwest Nigeria, to stop the spate of insecurity ravaging some parts of the state.
The protesters, mostly youth and farmers from Ibarapaland and Oke-Ogun areas of the state, besieged the state Secretariat complex in Ibadan, the state’s capital, chanting protest slogans and displaying placards with inscriptions like “free the OPC 3 now” and “End insecurity in Igangan.”
The Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa in the Northwest and Southwest parts of Oyo State respectively, have experienced a spate of kidnappings and killings as herder-farmer clashes deepen distrust in the communities hosting herders.
In January, Sunday Adeyemo, a separatist, led some youth to evict a Fulani community in Ibarapa, alleging that they were behind the insecurity in the area.
Condemning the action, Governor Makinde spoke on the ethnic profiling of suspects, pledging that his administration was capable of containing the security menace in the state.
But on Monday, demonstrators asked the Governor to go by his words by taming the tide of insecurity in the state.
They also demanded his intervention by securing the release of some members of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) —a vigilante group— who were remanded in prison following a court order.
The three OPC members were among the group that arrested Iskilu Wakili, a 72-year-old herder, suspected to be the mastermind behind killings and kidnappings in the two areas.
The OPC members arrested by the police while handing over the alleged kidnapper were later charged with murder and arson, and remanded in prison.
Oladiran Oladokun, the Convener of Igangan Development Advocates, said that the arraignment of the OPC members indicated a deficit in the handling of security situations by security operatives and how non-state actors’ efforts to curtail security foes were being frustrated.
“We are here to protest the arrest and remand of the three OPC members in prison. These men are heroes, they risked their lives to arrest Wakili who has terrorised the people of Kajola, Ayete and other villages,” Oladokun told The Punch.
“They went to Wakili’s place and arrested him but the police turned against them and detained them. This is a bad signal to Nigerians on security issues.”
Taiwo Adisa, spokesman to the Oyo State Governor, did not respond to calls and text messages seeking comments on the protest by HumAngle as of the time of filing this report.
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