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The brazen nature of crimes, chief among which is kidnapping has continued to generate serious anxiety among residents, especially the business community in Ijebu Ode, the heartbeat of Ijebuland.
Investigation has it that every citizens, now go about their daily needs with such suspicion, as innocent citizens could no longer sleep with their two eyes close, while kidnappers keep operating at will.
A middle-age man who spoke on this pressing issue on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fall victim narrated that hardly will a month pass-by without cases of kidnap been reported.
The source added that cases of kidnap which is now the most discussed issue at the moment in Ijebuland has become so scary in the last few years, worsening still, the kidnappers go scot free.
Another sources added that without going political, the alarming rate of kidnapping seems to have overshadowed the achievement of Gov Dapo Abiodun in the ancient as kidnappers now found a new haven, and a thriving virgin land in Ijebu-Ode.
Further investigation revealed that over 25 people with different background have been kidnapped so far in Ijebu-Ode, with huge sum of money running to several millions of naira paid as ransom to the kidnappers.
It was reported that ransoms were paid before some of the victims were released by their abductors. Although the police and the state government refused to admit payment of ransom to abductors, findings revealed that families, friends and associates of the kidnapped victims paid a certain amount of money as ransom to secure the release of their loved ones.
Findings revealed that the Ijebu axis in Ogun East has suffered what appears to be high profile kidnapping on a daily basis.
Some of the kidnapped victims in Ijebu Ode in the last few years are, Alhaji Araba Aranse, a building materials merchant; Tunde Cool Penny, another building material merchant; Dr Adegoke, owner of POGIL school of health technology; Mrs Tokunbo Oshin, wife of former Deputy Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly; Mr Segun Oyebolu, CEO Citi Hotels Ijebu Ode; Mrs Olaitan Daodu, owner of Dallat Stores Ijebu Ode; Mrs Adegoke, wife of Dr Adegoke, founder of Pogil School of Health Technology and Mrs Bolanle Latifat Abimbola, A senior lecturer at Tai Solarin University of Education Ijebu Ode.
It was gathered that Otunba Yomi Smith, Owner of Rolaks Hotels, was kidnapped, ransom collected and never found till date.
Other victims are, Alhaji Abdulgafar Ojo, a tricycle seller on Bonojo road, Ijebu Ode; Iyalode Laide Sofiat Haruna, a sawmiller; Mrs Azeezat Balogun-Rabiu, daughter of Mrs balogun, Thermocool products merchant; Mr Gbenro, haulage merchant and Alhaja Mojisola Salam, a businesswoman. Mr Muyiwa and wife, CEOs, Multilinks business venture and plumbing materials merchant were kidnapped separately within Ijebu Ode.
Mrs Adetutu Alatishe, wife of Ade Alatishe, a PDP Chieftain and car dealer in Imowo area of Ijebu Ode is also a kidnap victim.
However, kidnap attempts were made on Mr Kazeem Sansa, CEO Choice Phones ; Alhaji Imam Atoyegbe, cement merchant ; Azeez Sansa, Manager, LG Stores Ibadan Road, Ijebu Ode and Alhaji Anifowoshe, building materials merchant along Ejinrin road and very recent Mr Kazeem Biodun MD Fastlink Phones. He was trailed after closing from work and attacked at Elebute Street just 100meter away from Police Area Command Igbeba. Information has it he escaped by thin hair after 4 gunshots were fired at his vehicle. Also one Iya Miliki, cement distributor at Imepe, reportedly escaped the assailant, but her pregnant daughter in-law was kidnapped.
Those familiar with kidnapping cases in the area said “there are numerous undocumented and unknown cases.”
Additional information has it that, some suspected kidnappers were arrested by the local vigilantes in Ijebu Ode and handed over to the Area Command, of the Nigerian Police early this year. Sources said they were subsequently transferred to the State Police Command in Eleweeran Abeokuta. But to the dismay of Ijebu Ode residents, nothing has been heard about the case again.
Similarly, the Divisional Police in Ilese area of Ijebu North East local government, few weeks ago arrested four occupants of a Toyota Camry car in the early hours of the day. On suspicion, they were later found out to be suspected kidnappers and were thereafter transferred to Eleweeran.
The names of the suspects were given as EFUWAPE DADA, who claimed to be a Police Inspector from SWART office, Adeniji Adele, Lagos but reside at 24, Onirugba street, Ijebu Ode, ADEKOLA TOBILOLA, 24 years old, resident of 20 Bonojo, opposite The Blooms Pharmacy, Ijebu-Ode, ANIFOWOSE SULEIMAN, 32 years old, who lives at 30, Onirugba street, Ijebu Ode and KUKU ABIMBOLA OLUWAKEMI, 28 years old and resident of 27, Onirugba street, Ijebu Ode.
As at the time of arrest of arrest, one AK 47 rifle, with No 62767 loaded with 21 life ammunition, four empty AK 47 magazines concealed in a black polythene bag, a cutlass, one life AK 47 found in Glove box of the car, a Jack knife, Tramadour drug, two Police fez caps with inscription SWART, a life barrel cartridge, SWART uniforms and five different charms pot were found with them.
To the surprise of the people of Ijebu Ode, the suspects were allegedly never paraded before journalists in the usual police culture or charge to court till date, which fuelled speculation of alleged police complicity in the kidnap cases.
Notwithstanding, the people of the ancient town have once again sent a save-our-soul message to Gov Dapo Abiodun, the paramount ruler and Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona and other well-meaning people of Ijebuland to return the town to its old glory of a peaceful community to avoid the continued trend of daily kidnap without arrest.
Reacting, the police spokesperson in Ogun State, Abimbola Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) assured residents of Ijebu and the state of adequate security, disclosing a number of the suspected kidnappers have been arrested and standing trial in court.
“Those who gave you catalogue of people who have been kidnapped over the years, did they also give you the catalogue of how many of the suspected kidnappers that we have arrested in that Ijebu axis and facing prosecution? Those people who gave you the catalogue supposed to tell you how many kidnappers that were arrested in that axis as well.
“As I speak, a number of them have been arrested and have confessed on their involvement in the numbers of victims they have kidnapped. Many of them are undergoing prosecution in court as we speak. With the special squad we have on ground now, residents and business are safe. We have our tactical team on ground not only in Ijebu axis but also in every part of the state to secure lives and properties,” Oyeyemi said.