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Robbery Suspicion Trails Osogbo Artists’ Village Inferno

Robbery Suspicion Trails Osogbo Artists’ Village Inferno
  • PublishedMarch 12, 2021


Over N300m Artefacts Destroyed

By Ismaeel Uthman 

PROPERTIES worth over N300m have been lost to an inferno that razed Osogbo Artists’ Village inside Osun Groove, Osogbo State of Osun.

Besides, owners of artefacts in the village are suspecting that the place might have been robbed prior to its being set on fire by yet-to-be identified persons.

According to them, the fire incident is not natural and there are reasons to suspect that some people looted expensive artworks in the Artists’ Village and later set the building on fire to cover their tracks.

The controversial inferno occurred in the midnight of Friday.

Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER on Tuesday, the Coordinator of the village, Ambassador Oluwafemi Ogundipe said the building was set on fire by some arsonists who had obviously stolen some artefacts from the place. 

Ogundipe said the Fire Service Agency of the state corroborated his claim, as it could not find the causes of the fire outbreak inside the building, other than possibilities that somebody deliberately set the building on fire. 

According him: “The inferno, with confirmation from Osun Fire Service Agency, was a deliberate act. Osogbo Artists’ Village was deliberately set ablaze. Some arsonists set the building on fire after stealing some expensive artworks in there to cover their tracks. 

“There is nothing that could cause fire in that building. We did not have supply of electricity there, so there is no claim to power surge. Also, the incident happened in the early hours of Friday, so how can you explain what caused the fire?

“This is the first time an art gallery would be set on fire. It has never happened before anywhere in Nigeria. It is unfortunate that some people are out to destroy the first artists’ village in Osun. Some people took loan to get all these artefacts done. How would such people balance up? How do we pacify such people? This is a terrible experience. 

“We have reported to the Police, and the State Government and Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun are also aware. The Federal, state and local governments should help us on this. We need support of the governments.

Corroborating Ogundipe’s claim, the Secretary of the village, Mr. Isa Idowu, popularly called Murphy said some artefacts were obviously stolen before the building was gutted by fire.

Idowu stated that remnants of some artworks were supposed to be found on ground even after being purportedly razed, but there was nothing of such.

He said: “We have reasons to believe that the artworks in the Osogbo Artists’ Village were looted, while the evil doers set the building on fire to cover their tracks. 

“Assuming without conceding that fire naturally guts the building, the remnants of some artworks we supposed to be found on ground. But we did not find anything. For example, we have some materials that were made with very strong wood, if such were gutted by fire, we will definitely discover their remnants. But we did not find any leftover. 

“Also, some artworks were made with plastics; if such items were burnt, we will see their leftovers, but we did not see anything. Also, we had in the building a big mattress but we did not see its burnt particles. There are so many expensive artworks which remnants were supposed to be seen that we did not see. That tells you that some people looted the place and set it on fire to cover their tracks.

“Among the expensive artworks in the building before the fire outbreak were the ones made by our revered Pa Jimoh Buraimo and other notable artists in the state.”

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