How we grabbed Wakili before he entered his room of charms —OPC members

Members of Oodua People’s Congress who arrested and handed over a Fulani man, popularly called Wakili, to the police have given graphic details of how the alleged kidnap kingpin was arrested by them.

The OPC members, who were also initially detained with Wakili, over alleged arson and murder of a female member of Wakili’s household, before their release about 48 hours after, said that series of events before Wakili’s capture, made them to take him to the police station for questioning.

They stated that they were ensuring security in Ibarapa zone, consisting of seven towns which were Igboora, Eruwa, Lanlate, Ayete, Tapa, Igangan and Idere, as indigenes had become afraid of going to their farms to avoid being robbed, kidnapped or killed.

In an interview by Saturday Tribune, the OPC members, who gave their names as Dauda Kazeem (38), Hassan Ramon (39) and Awodele Adedigba (45), denied any involvement in razing of buildings or killing anyone, saying that they left Wakili’s settlement for Igboora police station with him and three other people arrested by them, to hand them over to law enforcement agents for investigation.

One of the members, Kazeem, narrated the happenings that resulted in Wakili’s capture thus:

“I am from Igboora. I’m a farmer and an OPC member. Initially, there had been crisis between Fulani and farmers, so much that people could not go to their farms again. In Kajola and Baba Gbau Villages that share boundaries, we have our indigenes living in farms there.

“On Friday  February 26, we received a call from one of our bosses that Fulanis were about kidnapping someone, and one of them ran away on sighting some OPC members. We were asked to go and assist others.

“On getting there, we caught three of them who wore masks, with the intention of abducting the child of one Baba Oodua.

“When they were taken to their settlement to search the place, a gun with ammunition was recovered from them by us. On the way out of the settlement, our members met Agro Rangers, a unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and handed the suspects over to them.

“Operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) also came, and Agro Rangers said that they would hand them over to the police at Iyaganku in Ibadan.

“On Friday, March 5, we received another call that  a woman was abducted close to Wakili’s settlement.  Before that day, there had been incessant reports of robbery at that spot. They were so many that people became afraid to go to farms.  If anyone needed to pick items from the farm, such would need about five OPC members as escorts.

“The woman went to buy cashew nuts for sale, and it was close to Wakili’s settlement.  She was abducted and released some hours later, after the abductors collected the N350,000 she had with her as ransom, as she was unable to get more money.

“When we were told, we searched everywhere but could not see anyone to apprehend.

“On Sunday, March 7, it was a market day and we got out early to secure the place and protect those coming for purchases. On getting to a dangerous zone, close to Wakili’s settlement, we were about to park the motorcycle we rode there when we heard sporadic shooting. We didn’t know they had laid an ambush.

“Not knowing what was happening, we came out and started scouting for those to arrest for such criminal act. About a minute after, we saw them at a distance, running away. We decided to pursue them.

“After about five minutes, we saw four of them who had mounted two motorcycles. The two at the back of the riders faced backwards while on the bikes, shooting sporadically.  We saw another bike on the ground and told one of us to watch over it.

“We then pursued the four as they ran to Wakili’s settlement. We grabbed two of them and another one emerging from a side.

“That was when Wakili came out of his apartment.  He was recognised by one of us.

“He attempted to return inside to where we suspected to be his room of charms, but we quickly grabbed him. We told him to call those people shooting and running away on phone that they should return.

“He told us he just returned from the Republic of Benin, boasting that nothing could be done to him.

“We decided to stop a commercial vehicle passing by to pick Wakili and three others, and take them to Igboora police station.

“We reported to the police that we brought him because of alleged atrocities being committed by his men through his directives. As we were approaching the police station, he started feigning fainting and demonstrating such in the station too.

“He was taken to Ibrahim Hospital in Igboora where he was attended to. We were writing a statement when we were told to go to Iyaganku in Ibadan with Wakili.

“We were there when a Fulani man brought by the police from Ayete said that his wife had been killed and Wakili’s settlement burnt.

“Since there was nothing like that before we took Wakili to the police station, we didn’t believe him. Also, nobody died before we left, so we thought they had done something to cook up the story against us.”

He discarded the notion that Wakili was a blind man, saying that he could see clearly.

“He’s just pretending. When we were at Iyaganku, he was speaking animatedly with his tribesmen. It was when they wanted to put us in a cell that he changed to his tactics of pretension.

We got to the place we wanted to secure in Igboora at 8am. After capturing Wakili and three others, we got to the station at about 10am. We got to Iyaganku at about 2pm, before we heard from the one that came later that there was arson and murder.

“How could we at the police station or in Ibadan have done that? Those of us who went to secure the environment did not carry any gun. We only fortified ourselves traditionally. It was Wakili’s boys that were armed with guns and started shooting sporadically,” Kazeem said.

Kazeem enjoined the police to go to Ibarapa to ask questions from victims, saying that they would be willing to narrate their experiences.

His narration was corroborated by two other OPC members, Ramon and Adedigba.

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