No fewer than 20 houses and 30 shops were razed, with property worth millions of naira destroyed, when hoodlums clashed in the early hours of Sunday in some areas of Ibadan metropolis, Oyo State.
The incident was said to have been a fallout of rivalry between gangs of young boys in Idi-Arere, Sakapena, Oke-Ado, Kosodo, Oranyan, Asaka and Ita Saku.
The troublemakers were said to have stormed the areas with weapons such as guns, cutlasses, axes and knives.
They reportedly shot indiscriminately into the air to announce their arrival.
It was gathered that the yet-to-be-identified hoodlums had been engaged in violent scuffles for the past few days in the affected areas, and yesterday’s attacks were reprisals. It was further gathered that the hoodlums that perpetrated the arson also used the occasion to loot many shops in the area.
Investigation revealed that some of the youth living within Idi-Arere and Sakapena area had a protracted disagree- ment with another gang of boys from other locations in the city, which led to the attacks.
A visit to the scene yesterday showed that the hoodlums wreaked havoc on both sides of the road from Idi-Arere to Sakapena.
Some of the affected structures in the areas included clothing retail outlets, pharmacy shop, soft drink sales points, electronics shops, warehouses, frozen foods shops, tailoring shops and hairdressers’ shops, among others.
One of the residents of the area, who preferred anonymity, told journalists that the hoodlums “burnt houses and shops. “It was very late, though it happened in the midnight. It was when we woke up this morning that we saw everything. It is not up to Popoyemoja, it stopped at Idi-Arere; from that junction to Bode Road.
“Though I can’t count the number of shops, it was a stretch from that junction up to Hallelujah Petrol Station. We are talking of about 10 to 15 shops on this side and 10 to 15 shops on the other side.
“The state government said that there is security, but you can see this. None of the CCTVs installed by government is at Idi-Arere. The one at Beere cannot capture up to Oja-Oba, and the one at Molete cannot capture up to Idi-Arere,” he said.
Oyo State police public relations officer, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the incident, saying 11 suspects have been arrested and they would be charged to court at the end of investigations.
According to him, “Normalcy has been restored in the affected area. The state commissioner of police, Abiodun Odude, has directed the policemen drafted to the area to carry out intensive patrol, as well as 24-hour surveillance to avoid further breakdown of law and order.
“While directing that the 11 suspects, including their ring leaders, arrested be charged to court immediately after conclusion of investigation, the CP warned hoodlums and other criminal elements against wanton destruction of life and property. Investigation to determine the cause and motive behind the incident is ongoing.”
Meanwhile, Olubadan of Ibadanland, Mr Saliu Adetunji, has summoned an emergency meeting of all family heads in the areas concerned to his palace at Popoyemoja, Ibadan, at noon tomorrow (Tuesday).
Personal assistant/director of media and public affairs to the Olubadan, Mr. Adeola Oloko, in a statement yesterday, said the monarch was worried by persistent cases of arson and looting in some areas in Ibadan.
According to the statement, the Mogajis (compound heads) and Baale (village heads) summoned to the meeting included those whose family compounds fall within Oja’gbo, Beyerunka, Labiran, Idi Arere/Asuni, Asaka, Isale Osi, Oopo Yeosa and Olorisa Oko areas of Ibadan.
According to the first-class monarch, the nefarious activities of the street urchins in some areas in Ibadan was becoming worrisome in recent times, and the need to contain them through collective effort had become imperative.
Adetunji, who sympathised with the victims, noted that the security of life and property was not only the responsibility of law enforcement agents but that of all and sundry.
Olubadan also reasoned that as 2019 general elections are fast approaching, it is important for all family heads in Ibadan, who notice anything strange, to promptly report the matter to the police for appropriate action, particularly those who have formed the habit of tearing other candidates’ posters and banners to prevent breakdown of law and order.