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Kidnappings: Ogbomoso Residents Protest, Call for More Community Vigilance

Thousands of people stormed the streets of Ogbomoso on Monday to protest against kidnapping for ransom, killing and other terrorism acts gradually becoming invasive in the zone.

The last three and a half weeks had three reported abductions in which a total of N13m was allegedly paid as ransom, all in a part of Surulere Local Government, the part that incidentally borders Kwara State, an enclave in the northern part of the country, from where the terrorists are believably pouring in.

Recall the supervisor in TDB late Alao Akala’s Farms, Taiwo Bakare, was the first to be kidnapped on July 16 in the farm located at Jabata, a N5m ransom was paid to secure his release; afterwhich a hospital owner, Abdulrasheed Oladoye, was abducted from his clinic at Gbede and N3m was demanded for him to regain freedom.

Similarly, a hotel owner, Olugbenga Owolabi, who just returned from the U.S, and one of his staff members, Rachael Opadele, a final year student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, were kidnapped and killed despite payment of N5m ransom, alongside the okada operator who conveyed the ransom bearer.

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These unfortunate events which happened in quick succession prompted the elders in the community, under the aegis of Ogbomoso Consultative Council (OCC) led by the trio of Major General Oladayo Popoola (rtd), Justice Afolabi Adeniran (rtd) and Dr Saka Balogun, in conjunctions with a leading youth group, Ogbomoso Community Youth Forum (OCYF), to come out with the bold initiative – “Ogbomoso March Against Terrorism.”

The event, which commenced at the popular Takie Square, was thronged by tens of thousands of people, who came grim-faced, to express displeasure over the developing menace. Placards bearing various inscriptions were borne, some of which read – “Ogbomoso is never conquered”, “Bandits, you can’t overrun us”; “End banditry and kidnapping in our land now”; “Ogbomoso, we need a new Soun now”; “Kidnappings and killings in Ogbomoso, enough is enough; Kidnapping, we must not continue like this; Come to our rescue before we start defending ourselves”, etc.

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After a number of speakers addressed the protesters, they moved to Ogunlola Hall at Oja’gbo (a distance of about three kilometers) for more speeches, which all bordered on insecurity – the need to be vigilant, intelligence gathering, cooperation with security agents and so on. There were also speakers who charged the people to gear up to go face to face with the terrorists if need be, reminding them that the community was never a conquered territory.

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The event also witnessed presence of large numbers of security agencies both conventional and non-conventional.
Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Sheu Babalola (rtd), who led the security committee of OCC with AIG Olasupo Ajani, stated that the rally was to restore peace and not to cause escalation of crisis, while disclosing that a joint task force comprising government and traditional security agents to engage in patrol all nooks and crannies of the zone, had been established.

“Those whose intent is to cause havoc will be exposed. See something, say something”, Ajani charged the protesters.

Meanwhile, Aale of Okelerin, Oba Samuel Babatunde Amao, who expressed his sadness over the events, stated that traditional rulers were not idle, while affirming that: “It is a wave that will be blown away.”

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