Editor's note: Generally, the high rate of insecurity in Nigeria recently has become a cause for concern among Nigerians.
In this features article, Legit.ng's regional reporter in Akure, Oluwadamilare Moriyeke, writes on how tackling insecurity in Ondo state is becoming more difficult for the security agencies.
Despite all the efforts to nip crime and nefarious activities of the underworld in the bud across the 18 local government areas of Ondo state, they keep rearing their ugly heads like monsters.
Just like the persistence and never relenting spirit in Wole Soyinka's African poem titled: "Abiku," insecurity is defiling every effort put in place to allow residents of the state to sleep with their eyes closed.
Proverbially, in Yoruba people's situation, it is often said that "Abiku so oloogun d'eke," - meaning it frustrates the herbalist and make him impotent. This is the demoralising situation of many security outfits in the state, especially the Nigeria police.
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To the police, daringly, the situation reeled the lines of Soyinka's work to their efforts to nip in the bud, "In vain your bangles cast, charmed circles at my feet; I am Abiku, calling for the first and the repeated time."
The tide shifted from armed robbery to herdsmen menace and kidnapping in recent times, especially in communities bordering Kogi and Edo states, though some bandits still struck First Bank at Ido-ani, Ose local government area, killing seven people and carting away undisclosed amount of money.
But now, it is more pronounced in gruesome murder, arson and abduction for ritual purposes as the state records nothing less than five incidents within the past five weeks.
In Ondo city, the headquarters of Ondo west local government, a 62-year old woman with hunchback, Ibironke Abodunde, was reportedly abducted by some gunmen and all efforts to find her were to no avail.
There were rumours that her son sold the mother to ritualists for N7 million but there arose a heated argument between the ritualists and the said son, who was asked to return the money after the purpose for her hunchback failed.
According to report, they threatened to kill him if he did not refund their money and he too insisted that they should return his mother, who was kidnapped while selling fish, before they could get their money.
However, the first child of the woman out of two, Monsurat, refuted the report and revealed that their mother did not have any son, adding that the only male child by the woman died at infancy some months after birth.
Nonetheless, a source within the family pointed out that the son might be mistaken for one of her tenant, who is a herbalist and had disappeared since the incident happened.
Without leaving the vulnerable group, a septuagenarian mother of five, Medinat Ala, was killed at her residence by suspected ritualists, who removed her womb, vag.ina and brea.sts at Okeagbe area of Ikare, the headquarters of Akoko north east council.
The landlady, Ala, was attacked in the wee hours of the day and clubbed to death with pestle before they removed those vital organs from her body. It was learnt that a neighbour who wanted to rescue her was attacked too and later died in the hospital.
According to sources, one of the tenants, Moses Olaniyi, is now in the police net as prime suspect to the crime, while the youths and community leaders are on the watch to stop a re-occurrence as there were two cases of such incidents in recent past.
Similarly, a 80-year old Mrs. Kajosla Mogaji, was also killed under same gruesome circumstance as her head was battered and found dead in a pool of blood the next morning.
Most heartless of the heinous crimes was an arson carried out by a 45 year old car wash operator, Deji Adenuga, at Igbodigo, a town in Okitipupa LGA of the state, killing eight members of a family on Tuesday April 23.
Adenuga, who was popularly called "Eruobodo," attacked the family by 2:00am when they were sleeping by pouring petrol in the room and set it on fire.
Though he was later arrested by police while on the run few days after the household was set on fire for harbouring his estranged lover, Titi Sanumi, who left his house to stay with her sister.
He explained that his main target was to kill his lover and her sister, Jumoke Sanumi, whom he accused of conspiring with the lover to abort his pregnancy after extorting him severally.
Recounting her experience, Jumoke who lost her six children, husband and niece in the fire incident, said: "It is still a mystery to me. My sister came to me and she didn't tell me anything about her disagreement with the man.
"She slept in my house and the man came to pour petrol on us. That was the first day my sister would sleep in my house. She always came to greet and play with me after which she would leave.
"It is true she was befriending the man. I was not aware of the money he said he gave to my sister. He told lies against me. I didn't go to their house. I was not aware they had any disagreement.
"My sister didn't tell me about it. She just came to my house. My sister didn't bring her properties to my house. I had gone to sleep by the time my sister came. I always came back from the market late in the evening and tired."
The victim narrated her ordeals contrary to report that she died in the inferno, while her sister, Titi, who suffers first degree burn, is still receiving treatment at the hospital.
Adenuga, who was arrested earlier for killing his first wife, Abiye Akinola in 2000 but escaped from prison in 2013, was arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Akure immediately and the case has been adjourned till June 10, 2019.
J.P Clark's persuasive appeal to Abiku: "Coming and going these several seasons, do stay out on the baobab tree, follow where you please your kindred spirits, if indoor is not enough for you..." expresses the frustration of the Ondo state citizenry.
In a swift move to curtail insecurity, the state government after its last State Executive Council (SEC) meeting on Monday placed embargo on building of new hotels, clubs and beer parlour joints in Ijapo and Alagbaka estates.
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The commissioner for information and orientation, Yemi Olowolabi, said it was part of the measures put in place by the administration to forestall any breach of public peace, particularly, in Government Reserved Areas (GRAs) exclusively planned for residence.
He explained that the two estates are full residential areas and henceforth government will no longer approve the construction of new hotels or night clubs.
"For those who have secured approvals for the building of hotels in the past two years but have not commenced construction, such approvals are no longer valid."
While the commissioner for police, Undie Adie, reiterated the commitment of the police to clamp on crime across the 18 local government areas of the state.
Adie disclosed that the police is building on the existing relationship with other security agencies to form stronger synergy to wage war against insecurity, thereby soliciting for the cooperation of the members of the public.
According to him, the intelligence department of the state command has deployed officers to carry out mopping of criminals, assuring that those who were arrested would be prosecuted and those at large arrested soon.
Whereas, a retired commissioner for police, Barrister Samuel Adetuyi, who have been clamouring for police reforms and efficiency, lamented that the force could not do much with its present situation.
Adetuyi noted that the institution needs proper orientation, organization and technological innovations so as to enhance its performance efficiently as required in the 21st century.
Referring to the Yoruba proverbial adage that, "Aja iwoyi lo ma n le emo iwoyi," meaning "it is the dog of the contemporary world that can effectively hunt the present day rabbit," he expressed worries over the archaic means of policing in Nigeria.
The former police boss, Adetuyi, warned that if the Federal Government and police authority do not take prompt actions to correct the situation instead of blaming the few available personnel, it would get worse.
"Some people have even talked of state police, orientation of policemen, end SARS, etc. I can tell you, and note this for records. Nothing will change and it will even grow worse unless government by actions show that Nigerians want efficient policing.
"Let me tell you, we are in a digital world where even little things get done efficiently, effectively , easily and faster via technology. In Nigeria today, the police still have to use the stop and search method of crime control as it was even in pre-colonial times in the twenty-first century.
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"It's a shame. Where in the USA, UK,France etc do you find such. And with the level of indiscipline, lawlessness and impunity, I can tell you, not hazarding a guess, that we have not seen anything yet. Nothing will change, the situation will only grow worse," he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the general overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday, May 12, submitted that bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, killer herdsmen and looters had become the commander-in-chief of Nigeria.
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