Ridding Kwara of gangsterism and cult-related crimes

Lately, Ilorin and other major towns like Offa were in the news for the wrong reasons. UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB reports on how gangsterism is taking a toll in the peace of the state.

Offa, the second largest commercial city after Ilorin the Kwara state capital was in the news again in the recent past following a fracas that broke out between two rival groups of which the police identified them as ‘suspected gangstars’.
Investigation revealed that it was a fracas between young suspected gangstars from Isale Offa and Ojale areas of Offa which many say are members of a certain cult group.

Details of recent clash

According to reports by the police, suspected gangstars from the two communities had engaged themselves by killing one person each from the areas.
However, the most shocking of it is the age bracket of those involved which is between 20 and 21years, a sad development that raises concerns about the future of Nigerian youths.

This incident which occurred on Sunday April 24, no doubt, sent panic into the nerves of hearers and palpalple tension among residents.
Offa had on April 5 witnessed a bloody armed robbery attacks on commercial banks during which at least 10 police operatives and a woman police officer were brutally killed.

Scores of civilians were also killed in the broad day light robbery that had left the people on the community in pains and aguish
Little wonder that the panic created by last Sunday’s disturbance by group of young gangstars was greeted with concerns among residents and stakeholders.
For those who witnessed the April 5 incident, any slightest disturbance of peace and security in the town would certainly raise a lot of concerns.

It was therefore not surprising to see people scamper for safety when pandimonium broke out in the town as gunshots rented the air.

Police’ reaction

Although, the state police command said it was still investigating the cause of the fracas, Blueprint gathered that the gangstars had enagaged themselves in free for all over girl-friend related issues.
And before the police could arrive the battle field, two persons from the affected communities have been shot dead.
Although, peace had returned to the areas ,the police command in a statement issued by its state Public Relations Officer, Ajayi Okasanmi said the command had already stationed a team of policemen in the area to maintain peace and forestall any further occurrence.

The statement reads, “Kwara State Police Command wishes to allay the fears of members of the public, especially the people of Offa and its environs, that peace have been totally restored in the ancient city. Therefore, the members of the public are advised to go about their normal lawful daily endeavours.

“This assurance of peace and security of the citizens becomes pertinent due to the public disturbance experienced today (Sunday) 24/04/2022 at about 1130hrs, when some suspected gangsters from Isale Offa and Ojale areas both in Offa clashed.

“Before the arrival of police men dispatched to the scene, two of the clashing gangsters named Samad Adeyemi ‘m’ aged 21yrs of Isale Offa and one Abdulahi Mohammed ‘m’ aged 20yrs of Ojale have been shot dead. Investigation into the matter is however in progress.
“The Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Police Command, Tuesday Assayomo has stationed men from the command’s Tactical Units, conventional police teams and operatives from the intelligence department to monitor the situation and ensure no further breakdown of law and order is allowed”.

Similar incidents

The Offa disturbance is just one out of similar disturces in some parts of the state.
Recently, commercial tricycle operators and Mitsubishi carrier clashed in Okonkwo area of Ilorin. In the ensuring melee, properties worth several millions of naira were distroyed.

Again, according to a police report, “Report of a free for all between tricycle operators (TOAN) members of National Union of Road Transport workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employee Association of Nigeria( RTEAN) at Okolowo area of Ilorin was received by the police command today 14/4/2022 at about 1000hrs.

“The fight occured according to the report over a minor accident between a tricycle and a Mitsubishi Canter driver which degenerated into a brawl that stole the peace of the area for the period the fracas lasted.

“The crisis later extended to Oloje, Alore and Omoda areas of Ilorin. Consequently, some vehicles got their windshields and rear lights damaged.

“The prompt dispatch of
the command’s Tactical Units and other conventional policemen by the Commissioner of Police, CP Tuesday Assayomo coupled with the professional manner the situation was handled ultimately restored sanity in the affected areas. The Commissioner of Police wishes to express his displeasure at the rate some transport operators were inclined to lawlessness in the state.

“Therefore, the CP charged the leaders of all the transport unions in the state to call their members to order, vowing never to allow any person or group of persons jeopardise the peace currently in existence in Kwara state, please.

Speaking further, the statement noted that, “The CP promised to charge all the suspects arrested in the clash to court after thorough investigation. No report of injury or death received in the course of the fracas.

“The CP has placed teams of police men in the area to monitor and arrest any person found instigating any act of lawlessness, while advising members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without any fear of harasment or intimidation.”

Although Ilorin and adjoining towns appear to be enjoying relative peace at the moment, it is expected that the police and other security agencies would be up in their responsibility to ward off such unpleasantness from occuring in the future. Also, analysts are of the opinion that the influx of drug-related items into the state and intake of those substances by youths should be a concern by parents and government. This, according to them may be one way of ensuring peace in the state.