In a wave of heart-wrenching events that have sent shockwaves through Ogun State, families mourn as kidnappers mercilessly shatter lives and leave a trail of pain. With an unprecedented surge in kidnappings, the once-peaceful state has become a battleground of sorrow, where innocent lives are turned into statistics.
A Soulful Vigil Turns Deadly
The Redeemed Christian Church of God in Abule-Ori, Ogun State, became a scene of unimaginable horror when darkness fell on a Friday evening. Pastor Kayode Oluwakemi, a 56-year-old spiritual leader, left his home with hope in his heart to lead a vigil. Little did he know, his journey would be his last. Kidnappers, their hearts cold as ice, stormed the church, leaving chaos in their wake.
As gunfire echoed through the sacred halls, the pastor’s life was cruelly extinguished, and eight of his devoted flock were stolen away, leaving families shattered and communities in grief.
A Violent Tide Sweeps Over Ogun
But Oluwakemi’s tragic fate was not an isolated incident. Ogun State has become a battleground where the ruthless forces of kidnapping run rampant. The once-thriving villages and towns are now consumed by fear, their once-peaceful lives shattered by violence. As a securityman from the So-Safe Corps fell in pursuit of the perpetrators, another chapter of sorrow was etched in the annals of the state’s history.
Villages Under Siege
The terror has touched every corner of the state. In the heart of Ijebu-Ode, a businesswoman’s routine journey from the market turned into a nightmare as she was forcibly taken from her path. Days stretched into agonizing nights as she languished in captivity, until her release was secured at a heavy cost.
Bravery Amidst Darkness
Yet, even in the face of terror, stories of bravery emerge. In Imeko-Afon, a small village united against the darkness. When a farmer, a woman, and her daughter were abducted, the villagers’ spirit was unyielding. They rose as one, chasing the kidnappers into the wild and rescuing the farmer from the jaws of despair. But the heartache did not end there; the kidnappers extracted a heavy toll, demanding millions in ransom, turning a mother’s love into a desperate race against time.
A State in Crisis
As the days turned to weeks and weeks to months, the grim tally of victims grew. From the serene Ewekoro to the bustling Ogunwaterside, no community was immune. The sinister kidnappers prowled through the night, their greed masked by shadows, demanding ransoms that tore families apart. A General Overseer found himself ensnared, a village head’s family torn from his arms, and even a journalist, Seun Oduneye, found himself plunged into the abyss.
Hope Amidst Despair
In the face of unspeakable grief, hope flickers. The people’s representatives have raised their voices in Oke-Mosan, appealing for unconventional measures to combat the wave of kidnappings.
The battle is not lost, and Ogun’s resilience shines through the darkness. In the heart of despair, a community’s strength emerges, proving that even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, unity can light the way.
As the state remains embroiled in a heartbreaking struggle, its spirit is not defeated. The people of Ogun continue to stand strong against the tide of terror, vowing to reclaim their lives from the clutches of kidnappers.
…Survivors narrate ordeal In Kidnappers Dens
In a recent revelation, Dr. Ayodele Ajayi, former Provost of the Federal College of Education (FCE), Abeokuta, recounted his harrowing experience in the clutches of kidnappers.
Ajayi shed light on the strategy he employed to secure his wife’s release during the abduction.
Ajayi disclosed that he took the extraordinary step of pleading with his captors to release his wife.
The purpose behind this plea, as he explained, was to grant his wife the freedom to source funds for the kidnappers’ ransom demand.
This unconventional tactic, surprisingly, led to the kidnappers agreeing to his request, allowing his wife to leave their captivity.
The former provost, who, along with his driver, fell victim to a kidnapping incident in Olodo, along the Abeokuta-Ibadan road, offered insights into his experience.
He shared his initial skepticism regarding his community’s capability to raise the necessary funds for his release. However, he recognized the compelling force that arises when a loved one’s life hangs in the balance, driving people to extraordinary measures.
Ajayi articulated that solely relying on checkpoints along roadways wouldn’t effectively counteract the menace of kidnapping.
He called upon security agencies to adopt a proactive stance, urging them to prevent such incidents rather than responding after they occur.
His plea extended to the military, urging them to conduct thorough searches of forests adjacent to roads, particularly emphasizing the Olodo area.
Ajayi’s counsel underscored the need for a sweeping effort to enhance security along these routes.
Additionally, the former provost shared practical advice to mitigate risk.
He recommended deleting financial transactions from mobile phones and using codes to store contact names, especially for prominent individuals.
Ajayi also cautioned against utilizing mobile banking applications and advised keeping phones with such apps at home, while using simpler devices without banking functionalities.
As stories of resilience and survival continue to emerge from victims of kidnapping, Ajayi’s perspective offers a unique strategy that sheds light on the lengths people are willing to go to ensure the safety of their loved ones.
He said ” I never believed my people could raise what they raised but who will have somebody whose life is in danger and will not go the extra mile to look for money .
” It’s not that they had the money but they just go everywhere because they kept on phoning them, go and get more money,” he said.
” Avoid using mobile Bank Apps, try keep phones with Bank Apps at home and use small phones without mobile apps and bank transactions on it.”
Another survivor, simply identified as Samuel who is also the pastor of a church in Ewekoro, said the gunmen spent two hours with them in the church.
He said the kidnappers were so confident that they ate before taking away two women from the church and later called to demand N10 million ransom.
He said “the unexpected incident happened around 1:10 am at Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Orisun Ayo Parish opposite Owu College of Management Technology Wasimi.
“I noticed a gathering outside the church during the vigil programme and Immediately, I rushed to check the people outside. I also noticed that there were armed men. Five of the gunmen entered the church forcefully and demanded the prophet in charge.
“They later asked me to change my clothes from white garment to a black cloth which was given to me by one of them.
“They profiled church members one after the other, they asked about their occupations.
“They sat with the congregation in the church for two hours. they wined and dined, tore the holy Bible and used it to clean a stained oil in their mouth.
“They beat us with cutlasses and threatened us with guns. Three women were taken as captives,but they later released one .
“The two kidnapped women happen to be prophetess Sandra Williams and Adefulore Omolola, a student Owu College of Management Technology Wasinmi in the department of Mass Communication Department. They requested for a sum of N10 million as ransom.”
… Data On Kidnapping Cases In 2023 In Ogun
Findings showed that almost all the local government areas of the state were affected. But, a few of them such as Ewekoro, Odogboolu, Odeda, Remo-North, Ijebu-Ode, Imeko-Afon and Ogunwaterside were the worst hit with kidnapping.
Statistics showed that between January and June this year, not less than 20 reported cases of kidnapping had occured in the state and spread to all the three senatorial districts of the state.
In Ewekoro, the available data showed that, not less than 10 reported cases of kidnapping occurred with loss of lives including a General Overseer of a church.
It was also gathered that, in the last six months, these unknown gunmen have reportedly received millions of naira as ransoms on their victims.
Few weeks ago, a village head in Ewekoro, became the victim of these hoodlums who struck and kidnapped his wife and his child .
The kidnappers reportedly invaded Ibesan village and broke into the Baale’s house, kidnapping his wife and child.
The gunmen however, released the victims after collecting a ransom .
Also, a General Overseer of a church, simply identified as Adeosun, was kidnapped but lost his life in the den of kidnappers .
Two worshippers ; an assistant parish priest and Sunday School teacher of Celestial Church of Christ were kidnapped at Wasimi.
Four persons and a businessman simply identified as Osoba were kidnapped at Lugbena, Iseda Aiku village in the council.
A resident of the area, Adepeju Adedeji while sharing her experience, said two women were kidnapped at a church located in Owutedo community at Wasinmi in the council.
Further findings showed that this year alone, not less than seven reported kidnapping cases were recorded in Odeda local government which shares its border with Ibadan, Oyo state .
… Lawmakers Vote Unconventional Tactics To Defeat Kidnapping Threat
In an unprecedented move, lawmakers hailing from constituencies across Ogun state are joining forces to combat the growing menace of kidnappings that has plagued their regions. With an air of determination and concern, Oludaisi Elemide, Lawal Adekunle, Kolawole Awolaja, Segun Kaka, and Lukman Adeleye, representing Odeda, Ogun Waterside, Remo-North, Ijebu-North, and Lukman Adeleye State Constituencies respectively, are banding together to address this pressing issue.
Voices of distress and concern echo through the chambers of the Ogun State Assembly as lawmakers representing various constituencies gather to address the alarming wave of kidnappings in their regions.
Uniting to combat the rising threat, Oludaisi Elemide, Lawal Adekunle, Kolawole Awolaja, Segun Kaka, and Lukman Adeleye are taking a stand against the heinous crime that has terrorized their communities.
In a stirring display of unity and determination, lawmakers from Ogun state are rallying together to confront the shadow of kidnapping that has engulfed their communities. With a resolute call for action, Oludaisi Elemide, Lawal Adekunle, Kolawole Awolaja, Segun Kaka, and Lukman Adeleye are championing unconventional approaches to put an end to the reign of terror that has gripped their constituencies.
In an extraordinary bid to rescue their constituencies from the clutches of kidnapping, Ogun state lawmakers are breaking traditional barriers to usher in a new era of safety and security. Oludaisi Elemide, Lawal Adekunle, Kolawole Awolaja, Segun Kaka, and Lukman Adeleye are leading the charge with innovative strategies that promise to liberate their regions from the grip of fear.
As a storm of kidnappings threatens to engulf Ogun communities in darkness, a beacon of hope emerges in the form of united lawmakers who have risen to the challenge.
With unwavering resolve, Oludaisi Elemide, Lawal Adekunle, Kolawole Awolaja, Segun Kaka, and Lukman Adeleye are charting an unprecedented course to obliterate the scourge of kidnapping, vowing to restore tranquility to their regions once more.
The lawmaker from Odeda, Oludaisi Elemide, appealed to the state government to support the call for the adoption of unconventional means to combat kidnapping in the state .
He said the situation in the state demands use of those who know the terrains .
According to him, they should make use of hunters, each village has hunters and each ward has a hunters association. They know the nooks and crannies of their environment, they can help in tackling this menace.
Speaking on the need to carry firearms while fighting kidnappers, Elemide complained that the local security operatives were having many challenges which include not allowing them to carry arms and ammunition.
He said “so, if you want them to go after kidnappers or bandits with what and what? For these unconventional security outfits, there should be a legal framework and should be equipped for the job.
While proffering a solution to the menace, Elemide recommended that there should be a tripartite involvement in tackling kidnapping in the state.
He said three stakeholders ; the security agents, the communities and governments must be involved in the fight against kidnapping.
According to him, CDA and CDC are involved in tackling insecurity in their environment. We are talking about Fulani herdsmen. Yes, we have two sets of Fulani in Ogun state, if not more, we have some that are the Ilorin Fulanis.
He recommended the need for data on Fulani people that are either living or doing business in the state.
He said “they (Fulanis) built houses, has their statistical data been taken, do we have any means by which we can take their statistical data ?
“We haven’t done that, I think that should be done, then, we should use one to police the other, we have the wanderers, those are the deadliest because, they sleep wherever they find suitable and they move immediately,they work in the day and night.”
He also called for proper orientation among the youth. He also advised the governments to empower youth as part of the plans to curb kidnapping in the state.
“The one that happened in my area was like an armed robbery. They will just jump on the road, fire some shots, stop vehicles that are coming or going, they will kidnap them and go into the bush, the next thing you hear is to bring ransom.
“The sadden side of it is that, it happened twice recently at my area, lives were lost, if they took money and leave these people alone, nobody would have lost their lives, but, in cases where lives were lost and those people are just very brute, that means they acted under the influence of drug.”
The lawmaker from Odogboolu, Lukman Adeleye declared that the conventional policing strategy is failing,but quickly added that the police’s strides to curb criminal activities cannot be overemphasised .
Adeleye described what is happening in some communities as an “endemic situation that needs a multifaceted approach.”
In his suggestion, he corroborated his colleagues, saying, “these kidnappers, we discovered that it is high time we involved the local vigilantes, hunters, Amotekun, Agbekoyas and others, because we found out that they seem to understand the areas of our community, they are the closest to the people, they have access to information.
“As a matter of fact, the people in the communities approach them for any information instead of going to the police station. To them, they believe if you go to a police station, you’ll be asked to make a statement, sometimes you get implicated, you know, there is this fear that people find it difficult to give information to police men.
“So, they are free with hunters, Agbekoyas, Amotekuns, I have seen a lot of interventions from these community security outfits.”
Speaking on the kidnapping situation in Ewekoro, Yusuf Amosun described kidnapping as a major challenge in the state and Nigeria
He confirmed the kidnap cases which included the abduction of a village head’s wife and child .
He said “Beale’s wife was kidnapped, whereby we have to gather ransom to be paid for the victim, so, kidnapping or insecurity is a major challenge in our country not limited to Ewekoro which is my constituency.
“Since it’s a general thing, we all, not just my constituency, we need to encourage the local security outfit in a bid to tackle and battle all these people doing these dangerous act.
“Security is local, there is a need for a vital role to be played in that area, encouraging the local security outfit.
“We have to improve the security network within our areas. I am in support of encouraging the promotion of the local security outfit as well.”
Speaking on the challenges facing his people in Ogun Waterside, Lawal Adekunle described it as a big challenge.
In the last four years, many people including religious leaders ,school children and queens have become the victims of kidnapping.
He lamented that some traditional rulers were afraid of the menace .
Speaking on the situation in the area, the lawmaker said “some people, when they get to their houses, the kidnappers write to them that they are coming to kidnap them.”
On the factors that are fueling the menace, Adekunle said “you know Ogun waterside is the boundary between Ondo and Lagos states and we are surrounded by water. Kidnapping issues come from these water areas.
On how to end kidnapping, he suggested what he described as unconventional means should be adopted.
According to him, we should call other security operatives, such as the Agbekoya, the hunters and the VGN. They know the terrain more than the Nigeria police.
“They are the ones that’ll be the best option, we want to use the best option. We are calling the state government that the police should work with these security operatives.
Speaking on the challenges, Adekunle lamented that among the three neighbouring states ; Lagos, Ondo and Ogun states, only the latter did not have gunboats to fight the hoodlums at the riverine areas.
“If you go to Epe, there is a gunboat and this is under Lagos state, there is also a gunboat in Ondo state, it is only in Ogun state that we don’t have a gunboat.
“If we have a gunboat and a network is okay it’ll be very easy for us, even the Kabiyesi and other people are afraid because of the kidnapping.”
On the state of things in the area, the lawmaker from Ogun Waterside complained that his constituents have been facing the challenges more than four years ago, saying, “the moment the water level is high,those guys would come from their place to our area.
He said “a man called Alhaji Agba, was kidnapped in front of his building, the moment they grabbed the man, he shouted for help, they have to call the vigilantes around the area, and run after the vehicle, the call the Amotekun or hunter, to block the particular area, leading to Ondo state, before they could get to the guys, they had gone.”
“Two years ago, they kidnapped one Olori from Ogun Waterside, many cases like that in waterside, one Mr Onakoya in Iwopin, was kidnapped, and killed.”
….Top 10 Local Councils: High Kidnapping Activity in Nigeria’s North
A recent report by the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa program, Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), highlights the alarming rise of abductions in Nigeria during the first half of the year.
The data reveals that regions in the Northern part of the country have experienced significant incidents of abduction, attributed to various groups such as bandits, Boko Haram, killer Fulani herders, and ritualists.
Data consultancy firm, StatiSense, has revealed that the states with the highest reported cases of kidnappings are as follows: Niger (795), Zamfara (523), Kaduna (479), Katsina (289), Borno (115), Kebbi (103), Oyo (63), Delta (55), Taraba (55), Abuja (52), Edo (37), and Imo (33).
Notably, the top ten local governments with the highest abduction incidents are all located in the North. Specific areas such as Rafi and Shiroro in Niger State, Talata-Marafa and Maru in Zamfara State, and others like Kajuru, Chikun, Kachia, Yauri, Konduga, and Faskari have seen a distressing number of kidnappings.
Additionally, the report highlights the states with the most reported deaths over the past six months, including Borno (1,137), Zamfara (862), Kaduna (715), and others.
This data paints a grim picture of security challenges in Nigeria, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to address and mitigate these disturbing trends.
… Over 9,000 Lives Lost, Over 4,600 Abducted In Nigeria In 2022
Last year saw a grim toll in Nigeria, with 9,076 lives lost and 4,680 individuals kidnapped, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST).
While these figures show a decrease from 2021, the trend remains concerning.
The data highlights the persistence of insecurity in the country. Violent incidents included the tragic Abuja-Kaduna train attack, the St Francis Catholic Church massacre, and a custodial facility raid in Abuja.
In the North, terror gang attacks led to numerous civilian deaths, and conflicts between farming and pastoral communities escalated. Notably, separatist militias in the Southeast contributed to civilian fatalities due to the enforcement of an illegal curfew.
Borno, Zamfara, Niger, Kaduna, and Katsina experienced the highest death tolls, while Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto had the most abductions.
As Nigeria’s elections approach, security concerns will be at the forefront of voters’ minds. President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to protect lives and property while addressing the ongoing challenges posed by extremist and criminal groups.
…Abiodun Urges Alamutu To Address Security Challenges
The Governor of the State, Dapo Abiodun, has urged the state’s Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu, to develop fresh strategies for combating security issues like cultism and kidnapping in the region.
The governor’s call was made during a courtesy visit by the new CP to his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Addressing the CP, Governor Abiodun emphasized the need to tackle the persistent challenges facing the state, including cultism and sporadic incidents of kidnapping. He also mentioned the successful management of farmer/herder conflicts.
The governor expressed confidence in the CP’s ability to build on the foundation of effective law enforcement laid by his predecessors, given his extensive background and training in the field.
…. We Intensify Efforts To Combat Kidnapping, Cultism In Ogun- Abiodun
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to eliminating security challenges posed by kidnappers, cultists, and land grabbers.
The state government is set to launch surveillance drones in collaboration with Acting Inspector General of Police, IGP, Kayode Egbetokun.
During a courtesy visit by Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, Mohammed Ali, representing Zone 2 (Ogun and Lagos states), Governor Abiodun highlighted the gravity of kidnapping, cultism, and land grabbing as issues demanding immediate attention.
The governor shared plans to utilize surveillance drones to enhance crime prevention and response, particularly in areas with limited police presence.
Governor Abiodun also requested support from the AIG for the anti-cultism efforts, urging collaboration with different police units.
Addressing land grabbing concerns, the governor emphasized the need to ensure proper prosecution of culprits and requested assistance from the AIG to prevent escape from the law.
In response, AIG Mohammed Ali expressed readiness to take on land grabbers, kidnappers, and cultists disrupting the state’s peace.
He praised Governor Abiodun’s prior support and called for continued cooperation between the state government and law enforcement to enhance operational efficiency.
… New Ogun CP Issues Warning To Criminals, Pledges Action
Alamutu has issued a stern warning to criminal elements within the state.
Addressing the press upon assuming office, CP Alamutu called on criminals, including cultists, kidnappers, land grabbers, armed robbers, and ritualists, to either reform or leave the state.
Drawing on his previous experience as Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state, Alamutu affirmed his commitment to tackling the complex security challenges facing the region.
He emphasized his determination to uphold the rule of law and respect the rights of all residents.
While pledging accountability for officers’ actions, he also warned against unwarranted attacks on police personnel.
CP Alamutu sent a clear message to criminal entities, declaring that Ogun state will no longer provide refuge for their activities.
He vowed to pursue these groups vigorously, pledging to drive them out of the state entirely
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