By Solomon Odeniyi
VIOLENT activities of hoodlums and cultists in the State of Osun are gradually shattering the peaceful atmosphere of the state.
The hoodlums and cultists of various gangs and confraternities have embarked on attacks on one another since November last year.
Ever since, the attacks have continued unabated with casualties running to 12 people.
Investigations by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that members of Aiye and Eiye confraternities are involved in the frequent cult clashes that have been threatening the peace and safety of the people of Osogbo, the capital of the state.
The medium gathered that the persistent clashes between the two confraternities were traceable to a fight between the Asiri Eniba gang and Emir group cum Egbatedo boys, which occurred at Osogbo Township Stadium on December 2, 2020.
Credible sources informed OSUN DEFENDER that Asiri Eniba gang has sizeable number of Eiye fraternity as members, while the Emir group and Egbatedo boys were in alliance with Aiye confraternity.
It was gathered that a member of the Eiye fraternity in the Asiri Eniba gang was injured in the December 2 attack. He was said to have died some days afterwards.
Following the attack, a combined team of soldiers and officers of the Department of State Service raided Egbatedo, the base of the Egbatedo boys and arrested some of the thugs with dangerous weapons.
Suspected members of the Eiye cult group, while holding candlelight procession for their departed member allegedly unleashed attack on some Hausas at Sabo Area, Osogbo on the night of Thursday, December 24, 2020.
The attack, which continued the following day, December 25, 2020, left two people dead while scores were injured.
Motorcycles and wheelbarrows belonging to the Hausas were burnt by the hoodlums who later laid siege to their houses behind Abaku area of Osogbo.
The attack later snowballed into a fresh clash between the Eiye and Aiye confraternities, excluding the Asiri Eniba, Emir and Egbatedo boys gangs.
On January 2, members of the Aiye and Eiye cult groups engaged in a free-for-all, which reportedly resulted into the killing of Azeez Tajudeen at Laro Grammar School.
Tajudeen was said to have been shot three times before he was hacked.
One person was also said to have been killed on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at Kolawole Street, around Atelewo, Area, Osogbo by the cultists who reportedly fought during the night.
Pandemonium also broke out on Tuesday at Ota-Efun, Osogbo, when hoodlums attacked residents of the area, particularly the motor park in the area.
The hoodlums, who were said to be mourning the passage of their leader, Ismaila, notoriously known as Daduro, attacked the passengers and drivers at the park with broken bottles and stones.
According to sources, the hoodlums were protesting that the motor park did not honour their deceased leader, who was a friend of the park by closing the garage to honour his sudden departure.
The thugs had a free day before men of the Mobile Police Force dislodged them and restored peace.
Three people were said to have been injured, while four vehicles were destroyed in the attack.
There have been consistent attacks by hoodlums and cultists in some parts of Osogbo. Areas like Isale-Osun, Sabo, Oke-Baale, Sasa, Kolawole, Ota-Efun, Obate, among other places, are among those that were such afflicted.
Findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that another in the long list of issues causing spates of unrest among the hoodlum societies in Osogbo is usurpation and supremacy.
It was gathered that some hoodlums who were under the control of some particular gang leaders before they were sent to prison had, on regaining freedom, become lords in their own various domains, threatening the authority of their masters.
Upon return from prison, the said gang leaders wanted to reclaim their authority, a situation that resulted into attacks in some parts of the state capital.
Incidents of snatching of phone, extortion and harassment of residents by both the cultists and hoodlums have become rampant in Osogbo.
Besides, the hoodlums have consistently been extorting different people at construction sites in the state capital.
The hoodlums are in the unchecked habit of storming sites where houses are being built to demand for money from the owners of the buildings.
They harass, intimidate and sometimes attack workers at various construction sites to extort money.
The violent activities of the thugs were also recorded in Ejigbo, where three persons were reportedly killed in an attack among Oju Ilu, Isale Agoji and Big Hammer gangs who were in supremacy battle.
Among the people killed was Abeeb Abifarin, whose left hand was cut off. The crisis happened at Ori-Eru, Ejigbo on December 28, 2020. The two other persons were said to have sustained injuries in the attack and died few days later.
Also in Ile-Ife, cultists have reportedly been terrorising the people of Agbedegbede, and Igbodo, Ita-Osa, Ondo road area of the city.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that while members of Aiye and Eiye were said to be having clashes in Agbedegbede and Igbodo, members of other cult groups were said to be having free day at the Ita-Osa, Ondo road axis of the Source.
Residents of the affected areas have been living in fear as a result of incessant attacks of the cult groups.
In Ede, the Apete boys led by one Rosko and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) of the Gani Adams faction were said to be responsible for the frequent breakdown of law and order in the ancient town.
Though, the attacks have been suspended in Ede, following the arrest of the key actors in the crisis, there are fears that members of the groups could resume anytime as witnessed in the past.
Members of the Eiye confraternity were said to be responsible for the disturbance of public peace in Ilesa.
Residents Express Fear
Residents of the state have been expressing fear over the spate of attacks and other criminal activities of the hoodlums and cultists in the state.
The convener of Dialogue 360, Comrade Waheed Saka, said residents of the state capital are being terrified by the daily violent activities of the thugs and cultists.
Saka called on the State Government and security agents to rise up to the task of checkmating the activities of the hoodlums and cultists in the state, saying that the peace of the state capital is being threatened.
Also, the Chairman of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Osun Branch, Comrade Wahab Akinriande called on the police to work on mopping up arms and ammunition in ‘wrong hands’ in the state.
According to Akinrinade, in an interview with OSUN DEFENDER in Ilesa yesterday, the police and other security agencies should tame the hoodlums and cultists through a productive approach that will ensure lasting peace in the state.
Police: We’ll Pay Criminals Back In Their Coins
Reacting to the criminal activities, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Wale Olokode, said: “Policemen will be made more visible in the state through adequate protection of key and vulnerable points, intensive patrols of neighbourhoods, business districts, and roads; constant surveillance and regular raids of black-spots and criminal hideouts.
“The command will take the battle to the den of kidnappers, cultists, drug dealers, sea pirates, traffickers, indeed criminals of all hues and their sponsors, procurers, counsellors and accessories in and outside the state. Our war mantra will be “criminals, here are your own coins”. We will pay criminals back in their coins.
“Under my watch, Osun State is going to be a no-go-area for criminals as nowhere in the state will be conducive for them to fester or hibernate. We are going to roll out all in our arsenals to wage war against any form of violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, ritual killings and other sundry crimes.
“To the law-abiding citizens of the state, rest yourself assured that your safety is guaranteed all the time, as the command will do everything possible within the ambit of the law to protect you and your property.”