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Outrage Over Menace Of ‘Omo Oniles’ In Osogbo

By Ismaeel Uthman Residents of the State of Osun have called on Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the Police to stop the violent activities of touts marauding as ‘Omo-Oniles’ who have been terrorizing workers at various construction sites in Osogbo, the state capital. According to the concerned residents, it is high time the governor and the…”
Yusuf
May 8, 2021 12:46 pm

By Ismaeel Uthman

Residents of the State of Osun have called on Governor Adegboyega Oyetola and the Police to stop the violent activities of touts marauding as ‘Omo-Oniles’ who have been terrorizing workers at various construction sites in Osogbo, the state capital.

According to the concerned residents, it is high time the governor and the Police started treating the issue of the touts with seriousness, saying that they have grown to become nightmare for every body building or wanting to build houses or erect structures in any part of the state capital.

The residents said the ‘Omo-Onile’ matter has become a menace in the state, while the government and the security agents pay little or no attention to it.

Findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that the touts who started by requesting for money from owners of buildings under construction at various sites in Osogbo have now graduated to threatening, attacking and injuring workers and even the building owners who refuse to give them money.

The touts, who usually move on motorcycles to different developing areas where new structures are being built, are always armed with guns, cutlasses, axes and other weapons to instill fear into and even to attack their victims.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that a 23-year-old carpenter, Abdullah Akeem, was last week Saturday, attacked by ‘Omo-Oniles’ around Agunbelewo area of Osogbo, the state capital for reportedly ‘failing to pay (settle) them before roofing the building’ project he was handling.

Akeem, a resident of Kobongbogboe area, Osogbo, while narrating how the incident happened to OSUN DEFENDER, explained that the hoodlums came on bike and demanded money before they could start work on site.

He said, “I went with three of my colleagues to roof a house at Agunbelewo area, Osogbo. We got there around 9:00am and started work immediately.

“Two of my colleagues who are Christians went to find a food vendor from who they could have their breakfast before they started work and I can say that is what saved them that day.

“After they left, Sheriff and I began to arrange the planks we were going to use. Around 9:30am, two guys came to meet us and they introduced themselves as ‘Omo-Onile’ and demanded for money before we could start any work.

“Though I had heard about these people, I never experienced their terror. I tried to joke with them by saying ‘Oluwa l’o ni ile ati ekun re’, meaning God owns the land and everything on it. But to my greatest surprise, one of the guys came near and gave me a slap. That was when we knew what we were into.

“Sheriff, who was watching the unfolding scene from a distance took to his heels, leaving only me behind. I had no choice then than to go on my knees and started begging them to pardon me for the way I replied them.

“By this time, the two guys are in full rage and they were threatening to kill me without anyone to query them. I knew I had to do something at that stage before it boomeranged because one of the guys had already called someone on the phone to come with others as reinforcement.

“I begged them to allow me call the house owner who is supposed to pay them but they declined my request, saying they must kill me for the others to learn. At this point, all I had to do was to start praying to Almighty Allah for a miracle to happen.

“After about 10 minutes, two motorbikes came in with four guys armed with dangerous weapons. I concluded that this might be the end and started praying for afterlife.

But one of the four guys that came in happened to be someone I knew during my apprenticeship days. He was the one who pleaded on my behalf and they obliged but not without collecting the N7, 000 cash I had on me. They left after that and I took to my heels without remembering to take my shoes.

“Though the owner of the house refunded my money and bought some drugs and beverages for me, I have ceased to go and work around that area and I have been extra careful.”

Narrating his experience in the hand of the ‘Omo-Oniles’, Mr. Sunday Alo, a borehole driller, said, “The hoodlums usually come in their numbers to disturb us whenever we are at work sites. When these touts come around; they do not want to listen to us, they will just order us to stop working and settle them.

“They will even demand for some certain amounts of money which are between the range of N50,000 and N150,000, depending on the site involved. And if you fail to give them, they will begin to destroy our tools and machines or fight the workers at site.

“There was a time they machete one of our boys in the head. We had to rush him down to the hospital. The touts are growing wings and they have become a threat to us. The Police should do something about it.

Another victim of the ‘Omo-Oniles’ attack, Mr. Femi Aderibigbe, a resident of Igbonna area of Osogbo, called on the Police and the State Government to checkmate the activities of the hoodlums, saying that they had become serious threat to labourers and artisans at various construction sites in Osogbo.

Sharing his experience, Aderibigbe said: “About three weeks ago at Igbonna where construction of a shopping complex was going on, suddenly, we just saw the hoodlums in their large numbers. They came to disturb the workers on site.

“They stopped them from working. The engineer handling the work had to settle them before they left the scene. This is rampant in Osogbo. Government has to rise up and address the issue before it gets out of hand.

“A lot of people who are managing to build two-bedroom flat on their land have to pay huge amounts of money to settle these people before they could do anything.”

A bricklayer, Busola Aderibigbe, lamented the growing rate of the ‘Omo-Onile’ criminal conducts and activities; noting that they are gradually turning the peaceful atmosphere Osogbo is reputed for to ‘another thing’.

Aderibigbe stated that he and some other artisans do no ttake up jobs in some areas in Osogbo unless the owners of such projects agree to settle the ‘Omo-Oniles’ when they come around.

He said: “There are some areas we refuse to go to work unless we negotiate with the owners of such projects to take the responsibility of settling the hoodlums when they come around.

“Some of these areas where these activities of ‘Omo-oniles’ are rampant include Oke-Baale, Ayekale, Ota-Efun, Stadium, Agunbelewo, among others.

“Most of these boys involved are cultists. If we call the Police or threaten them with arrest, the Police will not even respond to our calls and those boys as well do not fear the Police. The only security outfit that most times come to our rescue are the Department of State Services (DSS).”

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