Oro-ago community accuses police of bias in crisis with Fulani herdsmen

Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase

Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase

MEMBERS of Oro-Ago Development Union (ODU), Ifelodun Local Council of Kwara State, have accused the police high Command of taking side with the Fulani herdsmen to allegedly attack its members and also destroy their farmlands.

ODU also fingered an unknown police officer from the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Abuja for allegedly killing one woman and arresting five members of the community on May 12, this year.

The deceased whose name was given as Bolatito Balogun was said to have been shot by the police while women in the community were protesting the arrests of their men.

The community specifically alleged that the police headquarters in Abuja is taking sides with the Fulani herdsmen to attack its members and also destroy farmlands.

About two months ago, a bloody clash ensued between some Fulani herdsmen and members of the community at the community’s market square leading to the death of two people.

Addressing reporters in Ilorin the state capital yesterday, President of Oro-Ago Development Union Chief Richard Olushola said another woman named Tope Ologemo, who hit by the police bullet, is still recuperating in the hospital.

He added that six of the community members arrested and whisked to Abuja in connection with the April 30 bloody fracas are still in police custody.

He urged the IGP, Solomon Arase, to fish out the policeman who pulled the trigger that killed the late Mrs. Ologemo.

He said: “A more nauseating, provoking and pathetic incident occurred on Friday June 12, 2015. Another set of police officers, just like that of April from IGP’s office, Abuja, fully armed, stormed the community as early as 7:00am and started shooting indiscriminately and arrested our people.”

“The action was contrary to what they told our monarch Oba Johnson O. Dada the previous day that they were in the community on a peace mission and to visit places where the incident occurred as well as the place where one Seriki Bamo, who was the complainant to the office of IG on the first incident was killed about a week ago.”

“The indiscriminate shooting led to our people running helter-skelter and scampering for safety. The police went away with at least five of our men. We say five because some people are still missing after the incident and their whereabouts still unknown. The names of the five we can identify are Oladele Ponle, Chief Asanlu Salawu, Karimu Aremu, Rasaki Illa and Tunde Abolaji.”

He also added: “Unfolding developments show that the police are in cahoots with the Bororos. This is because on that Friday, two of our men were tied down on their farmlands by the Bororos; the Bororos told them that the police were coming from Abuja to arrest them and other members of the community and that they would be killed.”

“Our monarch has written two separate letters to both the state Commissioner of Police and Director of Department of State Service (DSS) for their intervention because we don’t want to take the law into our hands. But sadly, there has been no response from the duo.”

“We therefore appeal to the IGP to order the immediate release of our men in police detention in Abuja because it is trite law for our people, acting on self-defense, to be caged while the Bororos, who perpetrated the fracas, are walking freely on the streets.”

When contacted, spokesperson of the state Police Command, Ajayi Okesanmi, confirmed that the case is being investigated by the police headquarters in Abuja.

He said: “Some Fulanis and the natives had some scuffle that led to the death of some people of Oro-Ago. But eventually the Force CID of Nigeria Police Force requested for that matter to be transferred to Abuja for further investigation and we did that. Since they have taken over the case from us, they have every authority to go anywhere in this country to get to the root of the entire matter.”

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