Posted by Tunde Ogunesan | 18 June 2019 | 621 times
About five people were reportedly feared dead with several others wounded, as hoodlums around Idi-Arere/Oja’ba area in Ibadan, on Sunday afternoon, hiding under the celebration of the annual Egungun festival, unleashed mayhem on members of their rival gang, as a popular masquerade in the city, Ege, was coming from the Born Photo, Iyana Asuni area towards Idi-Arere junction, in the Oyo State capital.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that the hoodlums were brandishing dangerous weapons like machetes, guns, swords, cutlasses, broken bottles, stones and charms, and confronted the police team trying to stop them from further advancing towards their rival gang.
The showdown, which lasted well over 90 minutes, forced people, motorists, commercial motorcyclists and residents to run for cover.
Residents and shop owners in the area were forced to hurriedly shut the doors of houses and shops as the hoodlums went haywire.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that following a security report that the hoodlums would be attacking some followers of the masquerade during paying homage to the Olubadan of Ibadan, the masquerade was advised to shelve the idea of paying homage to the monarch.
The development, it was gathered, did not go down well with the team of the masquerade but had to take to the advice, in order to maintain law and order.
However, the return of the masquerade to the main road did not come easy as some hoodlums believed to have been based at the Popoyemoja area had laid ambush at Idi-Arere and unleashed terror on another suspected rival gang which was accompanying the masquerade.
Hell was let loose as the masquerade, with its mass supporters, got to Oja’ba/Mapo axis. The hoodlums from Idi-Arere allegedly threw caution to the winds as they allegedly began to throw stones, brandishing dangerous weapons and pursuing one another in the area.
A police team with about eight operatives was trying to force the hoodlums back from further attack of the other gang which they vehemently refused. Their refusal to retreat forced the police team to scare them with tear gas and gunshots.
At a point, the hoodlums were throwing stones at the police team, shouting at them to allow them face their rival, as some members of the rival gang were also chasing them.
Some of the hoodlums were suspected to have been felled by bullets, but the hoodlums were believed to have picked their injured members.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Superintendent of Police Olugbenga Fadeyi said the state police command was on the ground to forestall any breakdown of law and order, sensing there could be trouble in the city because of the egungun festival.
He said “reports reaching us were clear that our men, who had been deployed by the Commissioner of Police in the major axis of the city, in preparation of the Egungun festival to forestall a breakdown of law and order, are on the ground.
“However, the Commissioner of Police will not spare anybody found to be causing violence in the state, as enough measures to keep the state safe have been put in place.”
It will be recalled that the crisis has been on for about a week now, as some hoodlums attacked one another and destroyed a number of vehicles around popular filling station on Tuesday night. (Nigerian Tribune)
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