Wakili’s Return Will Ignite Fresh Attacks in Ibarapa — Residents

Residents of Ibarapa area of Oyo state have raised concerns over the alleged return of the recently arrested feared Fulani kingpin; Iskilu Wakili to the area.

The people while recounting their losses lamented that the Fulani kingpin fingered for carrying out various heinous crimes in area will come back to the area and wreak various havoc in retaliation to his arrest. Farmers who are worst hit by the menacing warlord in communities such as Ayete, Igangan, Idere, Igboora, Tapa, Lanlate and Eruwa all have traumatic stories to tell.

The arrest of the Wakili came after one Yoruba freedom fighter; Sunday Adeyemo otherwise known as Sunday Igboho issued a seven-day eviction ultimatum to Fulanis in the area which was followed up at the expiration of the ultimatum day resulting in the eviction of Seriki Fulani of Igangan, Salihu Abdulkadir who was accused by villagers of aiding and abetting several herders committing various crimes in the area.

But after chasing Abdulkadir out of the area, the battle appeared to have just begun as villagers noted that Wakili’s presence in the communities was dangerous to them. This much was affirmed by one of the children of the Seriki who reportedly posted on his Facebook page that the Fulani would return to wreak more havoc after lgboho left the communities. He was said to have added that Wakili was powerful.
After the Seriki fled, it seemed the intensity of havoc in the area increased.

The Asawo of Ayete, Oba Emmanuel Okeniyi revealed that he was informed that Wakili invited more armed Fulani to his (Wakili’s) settlement in Kajola village to continue his alleged atrocious acts.

Some farmers who spoke with newsmen said Wakili used a red cloth to isolate a point where nobody dared pass in the settlement amid claims that he didn’t buy the about 400 acres of land housing his huts and farms. The farmers said they had pleaded with the security agents to flush out Wakili but were told that no government security agent went inside his settlement to challenge him.

Some of those who owned farms at Kajola, Dagbere, Konko, Baba Pupa, Afunnije and other areas said they couldn’t access their farms. They said the bold ones among them went in groups occasionally to pick a few things and return home.

It was learnt that some men from Odomofin compound once went to Kajola to serve Wakili a notice to quit but were allegedly attacked by Wakili’s men and fled for dear lives, leaving behind motorcycles which they said were allegedly destroyed by Wakili’s armed men.

The villagers thus resigned to fate until news filtered into Ayete and other Ibarapa communities on Sunday that the members of the Aare Ona Kakanfo, Gani Adams-led Oodua Peoples’ Congress captured the dreaded warlord. Their joy was however short-lived when they learnt that the OPC members were arrested by the police for capturing Wakili. They have, however, been released.

It was gathered that during the arrest of Wakili and his two sons, the OPC men were attacked by Wakili’s men but they were able to overpower them and carried out the arrests.

But speaking with journalists in Ibadan on Monday, Wakili said he was not a kidnapper and had no criminal record anywhere. He debunked allegations against him and challenged whoever had evidence against him to come forward with it.

Wakili, who the police said was taken to a hospital immediately he was handed over to them by the OPC men, said he went to Iparaku, Benin Republic on March 1 to treat an ailment and he returned to his base five days after.

He said, “Two days after my return from the hospital, I lay down because I was ill and suddenly some women rushed in and shouted that some OPC men were searching for me. I told them to run but I could not run because I was sick. Two men later came and picked me from where I lay. They threw me into their vehicle in my naked state. I fainted many times before they drove me to the police station in Igbo Ora. From there, they took me to Ibadan.

“I am not a criminal. My children are not criminals. I don’t know anything about kidnapping or any crime. I have many cows and I know they stray into farms at times but I don’t have a criminal record anywhere and this can be investigated. After they took me away from my home, a woman was killed. Sometimes last year, two of my children were kidnapped and I paid millions of naira as ransom before they were released. I am not a kidnapper.”

However, residents of Ayete and other villages in the area told our correspondent during a visit to Ayete on Wednesday that some of Wakili’s armed men who escaped the OPC raid had allegedly started attacking villages and farms, killing innocent people and destroying farms and other property to retaliate their leader’s arrest.

Though Wakili is in police custody, some of the farmers still live in awe of him and his men as many of them recounted how their farms were destroyed. They spoke on condition of anonymity, expressing fears that Wakili might be released and would return to the area to continue what they described as his ‘criminal activities.’

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