The Former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo State, Mr. Oluseun Abimbola, (SAN) was Olayinka Agboola’s guest on Splash 105.5FM’s Radio Show, Parrot Xtra/Ayekooto on Radio recently. During the interaction, he alluded to why local governments in Nigeria may never be truly independent.
You once served as the Oyo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice during the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s administration, are you still into politics today?
There is no one without a political spirit in them, one thing leads to the other, both the one that occupies a position and the other that does not occupy any political position. The issue of politics in Nigeria is such that it continues to metamorphose. When I left office as the Attorney General, I returned to legal practice. Presently, I am not an active politician in the field though I have my sympathy for the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
Are you still interested in contesting for any elective post?
I can also contest to become a Governor, even though it is not everyone who aspires for political office that will eventually get it. God knows each of our aspirations.
There are controversies surrounding the emergence of the gubernatorial candidate of the APC, how will you advise the party to sort out the issue of his em, ‘legitimacy’?
I do not know what you mean by ‘legitimacy’.
Recently, your senior colleague, Chief Adeniyi Akintola went on air and attacked the leadership of the party in the state on the issue. What is your reaction to this?
Like I said earlier, there are active players on the political field and there are people who may have an understanding of what might have transpired between them.
I cannot speak to that because I do not know what transpired between them and I was not privileged to be part of their discussions. On the other hand, all political parties have their challenges. It is the same way in APC, PDP, and in other parties too.
I think the problem is that our political culture is still underdeveloped. Many times, because of our aspirations, we do not want any person to have a lead way or leverage.
I understand that if I do not become what I aspire to be today, tomorrow is always there for me but the political culture in this part of the world is that we want it now, now, without waiting for the appointed time. It is important to recognize that you are not the only one interested in it; the most important thing is building a nation.
During your tenure as the Attorney General in Oyo State, you were responsible for all legal advice to the state government and its agencies; do you remember your most challenging tasks at that time?
Yes, there were several of such because the state is made of hands and legs. When the hands and legs are working in an uncoordinated manner, doing different things without first seeking the opinion of what the law says, then, you have issues.
I was thinking you were going to talk about that time you crowned several kings in Ibadan…
That was the least of the issues because that process followed the process of law. Absolutely, the Court of Appeal validated it and that shows it followed the law. Like I said, we found a political solution to it but one more important thing is that there were many issues that we handled that did not appear on the pages of newspapers.
There was a claim against the government in terms of liability that the previous administration approved the sum of 50 million dollars. We managed to resolve it in a way that God helped us and we eventually won the case.
Furthermore, there are also many other cases, programs, projects that were computerized, one different part of it was that the law was modified particularly for the judiciary at that time.
We set up the multi door-court, the Customary Court of Appeal, Family Court, and the Grade A Customary Court, many of these institutions were built, and legitimized at that time, and they are still running.
What will you say was your major achievement during your tenure?
All those institutions came in while I was serving as the Attorney General and I had the support of Governor Abiola Ajimobi. One of them was the establishment of a judicial process to facilitate access to justice for the common person; any aggrieved person can walk into the Oyo State multi-door court and file a matter that will be resolved amicably without going through litigation. I enhanced the capacity of the center at the Ministry of Justice, even though I met it there. We amended the law to make it enforceable that if someone defaults, justice would be served.
What were the major challenges you encountered during that period?
We never had enough money to do as much as we wanted to do.
Recently in Nigeria, a family secured the validation of a 50-year-old document to recover over 200 plots of land in a well-built area in this state. The family claimed they had a superior title over the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). Is there any superior title to it?
The major problem we have is the lack of support structure to implement some of these laws. On the face of the law, the owner of the C of O is the rightful owner of the property, however in the case of litigation; the judgment of the court overrides the certificate of occupancy.
Furthermore, the court has the right to strike out a case if there is a good reason and not an arbitral reason. When someone comes with a 50-year-old judgment, there is a provision in the law that allows you to validate and enforce the judgment. The law allows for revalidation but this might come alongside certain requirements and procedures.
There is a new trend in Oyo state, in which a family might come up with a narrative claiming that their forefathers are the rightful owner of some particular piece of land. They may further attempt to take legal steps to acquire the land. Many people do this because of idleness and greed. Their ancestors have already sold most of these lands a long time ago.
What are the implications of this kind of development for state wooing potential investors?
The 2016 anti-land grabbing has done justice to that. The issue is that people are unaware of the law and besides, the Nigerian police need to be educated about implementing the law. The law travels far and wide.
This law is not just about land snatching, it further stated that if you claim to have acquired documents for your land, you must go through the legal process, and get the legal backing from the court to enforce the judgment.
However, before the court makes their judgment, they would have specified the exact location of the land (where it begins and ends). This is what we refer to as the dispute survey plan.
What is your take on the issue of local government autonomy in Nigeria?
There is an amendment process recently assented to by the National Assembly and forwarded to states’ assemblies to be rectified… only 10 states have reportedly passed the law. How do you view this?
It is desirable to have that constitutional amendment but it should be known, that it is not the only proposed amendment before the States’ Houses of Assembly- there are about 23 or more amendments that will follow the same process. If some states are having issues with few of the proposed amendments of the constitution but they have no problem with supporting local government autonomy, automatically local government autonomy law will suffer for it.
It is just that some States’ Houses of Assembly are not focusing on doing the needful, which they are aware that it is right. Some laws included in the constitutional amendment do not sit well with some states that are in support of local government autonomy and this is the reason they are against pushing the bill. This means that our local governments may not become independent soon.
Is the present constitution a major problem for the country?
Undoubtedly, the constitution is a problem but the people are the bigger problem. Even if the law is weak and faulty, what we need are elected representatives with good intentions to change such obnoxious laws; however, failure to do it will make the constitution look incapable.
If we can find lasting solutions to the present challenges facing the constitution, it will settle many issues affecting the progress of the country.
In addition, if our people do not desist from doing evil, changing the constitution will be fruitless. Many of our elected representatives need to be humane and committed to governance. Usually, the process of constitutional amendment will come with constitutional amendment acts.
That act will contain all the clauses to be amended concerning different material issues.
Furthermore, the local government amendment autonomy is one of the issues pushed forward among others while the case of the Value Added Tax (VAT) did not sail through although the Supreme Court is yet to give its judgment.
Others include the issue of redefining indigene-ship to allow residents who have lived in a place for a period to become an automatic indigene of that place. However, in the context of Nigeria’s cultural situation, it is almost impracticable because it might not be fully implemented.
There should be a reworking of the structures on ground before such a proposal is made to reduce the problem of preferential treatment some regions of the country are enjoying. Some States’ Assembly will not pass the bill of local government autonomy until many issues are addressed.
Is restructuring part of the constitutional amendment?
The proposed amendment is not part of the restructuring. These are some of the reasons why some states have developed cold feet on the issue of local government autonomy when the most pressing issues affecting the country are not addressed.
What admonition do you have for President Buhari and our politicians?
I feel the most critical thing affecting the unity of the country is that everyone is suspicious of the other. In every region, groups are suspicious of one another. The head unites the body; I feel no region should be given preferential treatment because trust is earned and not conferred.
The president needs to unite the county irrespective of the sacrifices and be ready to move away from entitlement to equity.
This same principle applies to the president and also goes to every political office holder. It is a demonstrable action and it must be seen as such. The law says justice must not only be done but must also prevail.
How did Nigerians find themselves in this mess they are today?
It was a gradual slide into decay starting from the corruption that has grown over time. People have substituted values for benefit and merit for preference. Amnesty today is also a problem since everyone claims it as a political tool, militants, Boko haram elements got amnesty and some are proposing that bandits should also get amnesty. I am a die-hard believer in Nigeria and I know those who have left Nigeria will eventually return.
Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba @60: Untold stories of humble beginnings of an aviation amazon
By Oluwadamilare Emmanuel
Behind the glorious career fulfillment of some people lie tattered beginnings harsh enough to devour even the strongest of men.
While many have shared their grass to grace stories, however, some deliberately left the stories to waste away in memory because of the emotional trauma recalling almost to the present, the forgotten ugly past experiences before success came smiling on them.
Truly as they say in this part of the world, ‘Life no balance’. However, it is amazing to know that some people would rather re-arrange the unfavourable condition life throws at them to their favour instead of wallowing in self-pity or blaming others for their misfortune.
The foregoing encapsulates the multidimensional and inspiring story of the immediate past Regional Terminal Manager, (South West), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba, the first female to be so honoured with such position. Her entry and subsequent growth through the ranks in FAAN to the peak, is almost one of a divine arrangement and uncommon courage as she explained in her soon to be launched book ‘My Resilience’. The book launch and her retirement party holds today June 2, 2022 in Lagos
Born 31st of August, 1962, Shin-Aba who is due for retirement this week and would be clocking 60 in few months time, was barely six months old when she lost her father while they sojourn in far away Ghana.
Apparently, she neither knew nor felt what her father was before he passed. Thanks to the magnanimous love and efforts of a ‘never say never’ mother who despite all the odds, kept to her husband’s words of ‘even if it remains a trouser in my wardrobe, my children must get quality education’ to keep her six children (including Shin-Aba) on track and ensure their access to quality education with no support system.
However, life did not stop dealing her a big blow despite the loss of her father. From the earlier blunt rejection of her husband, Nasiru Kolawole Shin-Aba by her mum and other family members due to religious differences to his subsequent sickness, loss of sight, depression and death after just an eight-year marital journey that lasted from 1985 to 1993, Shin-Aba has experienced it all.
To add to the already piled up horrible situation, she lost her last child, Segun whom she had with her husband during his lowest ebb in life at age 10; days after being diagnosed of cerebral malaria.
However, in all of these vicissitudes of life, she remained steadfast and focused despite heated entreaties from friends and families to abandon her sick husband. When she was getting overwhelmed by the myriad of challenges thrown at her at just 37 years of age, her loving mother who later welcomed her husband with open arms encouraged her not to heed evil advice, but rather stick with her husband whom she met a complete man.
In the words of his HRM, Oba (Prof) Akintola John Akintola, who doubles as Professor of Entomology, Biology Department, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) and the Alapa of Okinapa who wrote the foreword of her book: “The demise of her father at her tender age, which denied her fatherly care, did not deter her from achieving greatness.
She was single-handedly trained by her uneducated mother who had passion for education; and with the help of God, she did not derail on track as many of her peers, who found themselves in such circumstances would have done.
There was a repeat of ugly occurrence in her life; she lost her beloved husband along the journey of life. She had to singlehandedly train her children too, due to some challenges in her family.
She didn’t allow religion to create a gorge in her immediate family; she managed the challenges with elasticity. When opportunities presented itself in her favour, she was there for everyone, to raise them up within her limited capacity.
What a show of love! Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba is a woman of uncommon love and humility. She extended love to all, immediate and distant relations. Her humble beginning came to play in many histories and stories too numerous to mention.
This is what many failed to do and had turned up as regret for them after retirement,” Kabiyesi wrote elatedly of the accomplished woman of substance.
Journey to FAAN
While many would have accepted fate and end it all career wise, Shin-Aba was rather focused all through the challenges.
She did not hang her boots or drift to the classroom as many would have expected of her upon completion of a College of Education studies and receipt of certificate in 1984.
She proceeded to obtaining her first degrees, local and international trainings/certifications while also combining a number of side hustles especially during the early days of her career in the Agency.
Her journey into FAAN (formerly, Nigeria Airports Authority, NAA) dated back to 1987 as Assistant House Manageress. She joined her husband who was then the Head of Civil Engineering at the Ibadan Airport.
Steady growths through the ranks at FAAN
As typical of any hardworking person, Shin-Aba soon became the cynosure of all eyes in FAAN. She held several positions in the operations department of Authority including; Airfield Operations Officer Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA); Apron Control Officer MMA; Airport Duty Officer ITZ MMA; and Terminal Operations Officer; General Aviation Terminal (GAT); Hajj and Cargo Terminal (HCT) and International Terminal MMA.
She was promoted Manager of the Akure Airport in 2011, a post she held till 2014 when she was redeployed to MMA as Head of Operations.
In September, Shin-Aba scored another first. The FAAN management appointed her as first female Regional General Manager (South West)/Airport Manager, Murtala Muhammed International Airport and subsequently attaining the rank of a General Manager, Airfield Operations.
As HOD operations, she led the team that prepared MMA for pioneer certification in Nigeria and organised the review and unbundling of MMA technical manuals and related Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)in collaboration with Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The much coveted Aerodrome Certification to MMA, issued by NCAA on 15th September 2017 is to the credit of her team. Her experience also came to play during the coronavirus pandemic that grounded flight activities worldwide for months.
Multiple Awards and Recognitions
In recognition of her hard work and selflessness to fatherland despite the initial setbacks, the Nigerian Aviation Award (NIGAV) in 2018 honoured her with ‘The Airport Personality of the Year 2018’; in same year she also went on to win the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) Award 2018. Most recently she won the ‘Airport Operations of the Year 2021 and Operational Resilience Airport of the Year 2021 Award.
Solving generational problems
Having giving a better part of her life to standing up to challenges against her and others around her, one would have expected her to roll down the sleeves and possibly go on vacation to enjoy her retirement. But Shin-Aba has other plans. As retirement beckons, Shin-Aba hopes to use her time and resources for solving generational problems/challenges. .
“This is the more reason why I have a growing interest in attempting to solve the generational problem through a yet-to-be-unveiled scheme which aims to address human capital empowerment and entrepreneurship development in the community upon my retirement,’ she said in her book.
It is therefore, the right thing to, in the bobbling spirit of oneness, to roll out the drums and celebrate with a rare woman of courage and virtues, Mrs Victoria Bamidele Shin-Aba as she mark her retirement from service, launch her book today and also mark her 60th birthday in advance.
_Oluwadamilare is a Lagos-based journalist_
Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo Profile: Biography Of VP Osinbajo
Oluyemi Osinbajo Profile, Biography of VP Osinbajo, VP Osinbajo date of birth, VP Osinbajo political career and other information about Nigeria’s Vice President.
JomogNews Nigeria reports that Oluyemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
VP Osinbajo was born on March 8 1957 at Creek Hospital, Lagos, Yemi is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He is married to Oludolapo Osinbajo (nee Soyode), granddaughter of the late sage and statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. They are blessed with three children.
Yemi’s early years in primary school were spent at Corona School Lagos. Between 1969- 1975, he attended Igbobi College, Yaba where he was the winner of the State Merit Award (1971); the School Prize for English Oratory (1972); Adeoba Prize for English Oratory (1972-1975); Elias Prize for Best Performance in History (WASC, 1973); School Prize for Literature (HSC, 1975); and African Statesman Intercollegiate Best Speaker’s Prize (1974).
Thereafter, he studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos between 1975-1978 when he obtained a Second Class Upper Degree in Law. Here, he also won the Graham-Douglas Prize for Commercial Law.
In 1979, he completed the mandatory one-year professional training at the Nigerian Law School whereon he was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court.
In 1980, he attended the London School of Economics & Political Science, where he obtained a Master of Laws degree.
An accomplished scholar, teacher, lawyer and administrator, Yemi is one of the nation’s leading experts on the Law of Evidence, National and Regional Corporate Commercial Laws and Public Law.
From 1979 –1980, Osinbajo participated in the one-year youth service programme as a Legal Officer with Bendel Development and Planning Authority (BDPA)
In 1981, the University of Lagos, Nigeria, engaged Osinbajo as a Lecturer. From 1988–1992, he was appointed as an Adviser (Legal Advice and Litigation), to the then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, KBE.
In 1994, he became a Professor of Law following which he was appointed Head of Department of Public Law, University of Lagos
Between 1999 and 2007, Osinbajo was Member of Cabinet of the Lagos State Government where he served as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
From 2007 – 2013, Osinbajo was once again employed as a Professor of Law, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
In 2007, Osinbajo became Senior Partner at SimmonsCooper Partners, Nigeria (a commercial law practice).
Staff Member, United Nations Operations in Somalia, Justice Division, UNOSOM II
Member, United Nations Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN, Peacekeeping Personnel around the globe, Member, 2006. Partner in Law Firm of Osinbajo, Kukoyi & Adokpaye.
Yemi is a member of the International Bar Association and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and has served on the Nigerian Body of Benchers and the Council for Legal Education of Nigeria.
He was also an independent director of CitiBank Nigeria and an ethics adviser to the board of the Africa Development Bank (ADB). He has authored several books.
Reform and Charity Work
While in public office as Attorney General, Lagos, Yemi is credited with undertaking far-reaching significant judicial reform in Lagos State, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline.
In addition, he addressed access to justice for the poor by establishing appropriate institutions in the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC).
Yemi founded the Orderly Society Trust (OST) involved in an Excel literacy programme that aims to provide children in public primary schools with the same level of training in English as is available to their counterparts in private schools .
Yemi also co-founded Justice Research Institute (Gte), a justice sector think tank as well as the Convention On Business Integrity.
Other Charitable Initiatives
As a spiritual leader, Osinbajo has organized various initiatives that work towards social justice. He organizes the Liberty Schools Project that provides free primary school education with free school lunches to poor children.
This Project has three sites in poor communities in Obanikoro, Ikota and Makoko, all in Lagos.
Other initiatives include free health care facilities, free legal services, social rehabilitation, skills acquisition for the very poor, a regular soup kitchen service, and free shelter for young people without accommodation.
He is an ordained Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and an Emeritus Ambassador for the Environment in Lagos.
After the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was tasked with other notable Nigerians in the party with the development of a manifesto for the new political party.
This culminated in the presentation of the “Roadmap to a New Nigeria”, a document published by APC as its manifesto in 2013.
The highlights of the Roadmap included a free meal school plan, and a conditional cash transfer to millions of the poorest Nigerians if they enrol their children in school and immunise them.
On 17 December 2014, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, retired General Muhammadu Buhari, announced Osinbajo as his running mate and vice-presidential candidate for the 2015 general elections.
On the 31st of March 2015, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket having won the Presidential election, thus Osinbajo became the Vice President-elect of Nigeria. They were both sworn in on the 29th of May 2015 for the first term.
In February 2019, the Buhari/ Osinbajo ticket won the Presidential Elections for a second term in office starting May 29, 2019.
From hideout, I saw policemen hack dad to death, shoot his nephew dead – Son of Ogun farmer
Daud Olatunji writes about the dust raised by the killing of two villagers in Ogun village by police who subsequently labelled them terrorists
‘I escaped by a whisker when the police ambushed my father and his nephew. They rained bullets on them, but the bullets did not penetrate their bodies. One of the policemen later moved closer to them and forcibly took the Dane gun belonging to Bara (Kolawole) and shot him to death.
“The same policeman approached my father, took his machete and hacked him to death. I saw how he killed them from where I hid, “said 25-year-old survivor, Alani Ojugbele.
The duo were allegedly killed by the police a few hours after an Inspector, Omolayo Olajide, was murdered by yet-to-be-identified persons during a clash between some herders and Yoruba farmers in Saala Orile, Yewa-North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The two victims were identified as Kolawole Bara and Sole Ojugbele. While Ojugbele was said to be a nephew to the village head, Bara, popularly called Alape, was identified as a younger brother to the village head of Adekan village near Saala-Orile, Chief Adisa Bara.
Speaking with our correspondent, Ojugbele said the duo and himself were on a motorcycle moving around the villages a few minutes after the violent incident.
He said they were stopped abruptly by a team of policemen around Saala-Orile who shot at them.
He said “I am a farmer. I was with my father when he was killed. Some people came to our house to tell him that the baale wanted to see him and he left. When he returned home, he said the baale asked him to check the village and give him a report of what was happening there. That was how I went with my father to visit the area. When we were returning, my father said that we should pass Saala Orile.
“We decided to assess the areas from Saala Orile to Ijaka-Oko. We saw some policemen at Vulcaniser bus stop at Saala Orile junction and we passed them by towards Ijaka-Oke. We later turned towards Ijaka-Oko after looking around the area. On our way back, the police were still at the junction with their van
“The bike we sat on was driven by Alape (Bara). We went through the area and we turned back towards Saala-Orile to pass through the area to our house. As we passed Ijaka-Oke to Saala-Orile Junction, we met some policemen and one of them alighted from the van and started shooting at us.
“As he shot at my father and Alape, the bullets didn’t penetrate their bodies. But after he exhausted the bullets in his gun, he moved towards them and snatched the gun held by Alape and shot at him at a close range. The gun penetrated his body and killed him. Another cop at the same time dragged my dad from the back and used a machete to kill him.
“I fled when the cop started shooting and hid somewhere around. If not for the fact that I was also fortified from bullets, I might have been killed too. It was the police that hacked my father to death and shot Alape dead. After killing them, they put their bodies in their van and drove away. It happened on the Saala-Orile Road near a mechanic shop in the area. My father was not a bandit. He was a farmer. Alape was also not a bandit, he was a hunter.”
Announcing the inspector’s death, the state police command said he was shot dead by terrorists during a gun duel in the area. The police labelled Bara and Ojugbele killed the crisis as terrorists.
The spokesperson for the police in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, in a statement said the incident occurred on Tuesday, January 24, 2022 in Saala-Orile forest in the Yewa-North LGA.
Oyeyemi noted that the operatives of the state police command gunned down two terrorists during a gun battle in the forest following the alleged attack on some herders.
Oyeyemi claimed that the duo were killed following a distress call received by policemen attached to Ayetoro division that a group of terrorists were attacking some Fulani herdsmen at Isaala Orile forest.
According to him, the DPO Ayetoro, CSP Bernard Ediogboyan, quickly led his men and operatives of the joint security intervention squad to the scene.
He said, “On sighting the policemen, the bandits opened fire on them and the policemen replied fire for fire.
“At the end of the encounter which lasted for about 20 minutes, two amongst the bandits were shot dead while others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot injuries. Regrettably, an inspector of police, by name Omolayo Olajide, lost his life during the gun duel.”
But the villagers disagreed with the police, saying that those killed were not terrorists but hunters and farmers.
The villagers identified them as village high chiefs who worked with the village head, Chief Adisa Bara of Adekan village.
In its reaction to the development, Yewa North Patriotic Forum faulted the police on the killings.
The forum in a statement by its spokesperson, Fatolu Ganiyu, condemned the killing of the villagers by the police during a clash between farmers and herders in the area.
The statement read in part, “The forum finds it mischievous, despicable, and inciteful a press release issued on the recent Fulani herders-farmers clash in Saala Orile by the Nigeria Police Force, Ogun State Command, signed by DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi (PPRO Ogun State Police Command).
“It is saddening and unacceptable that the police could descend that low to support those suspected Fulani herdsmen which they have known from time immemorial to have been terrorising the farmers, kidnapping and killing innocent citizens.
“It is a deliberate fabrication by the police to tag innocent villagers living within Ayetoro, Saala Orile, Erinpa and neighbourhood as bandits. This obviously was done in a rush to cover up the unprofessional way its men handled the conflict at Saala Orile.”
The forum stated that despite the state anti-open grazing law, the same thing happened when herdsmen with their animals invaded farms of innocent farmers at Saala Orile, Erinpa, Agada and Ogodo, destroying the farms.
It added, “The farmers then called on the hunters to help chase away the animals from their farms. It was at this point that the well armed herders brought out weapons and attacked both the hunters and farmers.’’
The forum alleged that the herders called the police who promptly responded whereas they never answered previous calls by the farmers to come for their protection.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that the killings were triggered by the inspector’s death. It was gathered that the crisis erupted after some herders living in neighbouring villages grazed their cattle on farms located in some villages such as Erinpa, Agada, Ogodo, Ijaka-Oke, Adekan and Saala-Orile .
Irked by the loss, some farmers reportedly sought help from Agbekoya and hunters in the area who confronted the herdsmen over their action. The clash between the Agbekoya and the herders didn’t record any casualty.
The herders reportedly alerted the police who allegedly stormed the place to protect the herdsmen said to be under attack. Some villagers who spoke to Saturday PUNCH on condition of anonymity said the police opened fire on the hunters but the bullets didn’t penetrate.
It alleged that the hunters in self-defence killed one of the policemen while other cops fled for reinforcement.
Upon return to the scene, our correspondent gathered that the hunters had left while two farmers reportedly on motorcycle were seen in the area and allegedly attacked and killed by the police.
The victims were reportedly sent on an errand by the village head to the affected villages to find out what was going on.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the villagers had deserted their homes and farms over the possible attacks and arrest by the police.
Initial attempts to speak with the village head, Adisa Bara, were futile as he was said to have also left the village shortly after the incident.
The village head who later spoke with our correspondent on the telephone from hiding, lamented the killing of two of his people.
He confirmed that he was the one who sent the two villagers identified as his younger brother and a nephew to check happenings in the villages.
He said “I am a brother to Kolawole Bara, who is one of the victims of Tuesday, January 25, 2022, killings at Saala Orile by police. The police later labelled them as bandits. I got a call on Tuesday from a head teacher of Community Primary School, Adekan, one Mr Oyero. He told me to meet with the school teachers to ensure the pupils arrive in their homes safely. He said there was a clash between farmers and herders from Saala who came to Ijaka-Oke and that the roads had been blocked.
“On getting to the school, I met a teacher identified as Mr Aina to whom I relayed the message and he said they would protect the pupils so I returned home. But I got another call some minutes before 11am. I was told to return to the school and inform the teachers to release the pupils to go to their various homes. I did and the teachers said they would be released immediately when they finished eating. I returned home. I then instructed my brother, Akanji Bara and my cousin Sole Ojugbele to go round the village to know what was happening. They rode a motorcycle.
“But few hours later, I got a call that they were both killed; one was killed with a gun and the other with a machete. I asked who killed them and I was told the police did along Saala-Orile road close to a mosque and mechanic junction. My investigation showed that the victims were not questioned by the police but only stopped as they were on a bike and shot at.’’
He also called for the release of the corpses by the police, stating that there should be an explanation for the act because he was sure of the victim’s innocence.
The village head said, “They were both hunters and had identification cards. They were chiefs in the village and I always sent them on errands to check the wellbeing of the villagers.’’
Previous attacks recorded
Last year, Yewa-North witnessed herders’ attacks which forced several villagers to relocate to neighbouring countries for many weeks.
Many lives and property were lost to the clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
The incident also prompted some northern governors including the Kano State governor, Abdullah Ganduje to hold closed-door and town hall meetings with the state governor, Dapo Abiodun and stakeholders in the state.
Also, the state government set up a fact-finding committee with the mandate to uncover both immediate and remote causes of clashes between farmers and herders in the area. The committee which had submitted its report was also asked to recommend a lasting solution to the clashes.
A few months after the submission of the report which was not made public, the clashes continue unabated. An elder brother to one of the victims, Gabriel Ojugbele, said the villagers witnessed a similar attack by herders last year. He said the attacks had been regular with loss of lives and property.
Ojugbele further said that their village was one of the villages that recorded frequent attacks from herdsmen.
He said, “They not only destroy our farms but also maim and kill our people.’’.
Police fault villagers’ claim
In its reaction, the state police spokesperson, Oyeyemi described the claim by the villagers as insulting and annoying. Oyeyemi said the villagers didn’t know the gravity of what they did by killing an inspector.
According to him, policemen killed terrorists who engaged their men in a gun duel.
He said, “Does it mean we are the ones that killed our inspector? Terrorists killed our officer and we engaged them killing two of them. The villagers are now saying they were farmers.”
Families demand release of corpses
The families of the victims demanded the release of the corpses of their late loved ones, seeking justice for the farmer and hunter.
Ojugbele, who lost his father, said, “What I want from the government is to allow us to take our father’s corpse for burial. The police refused to release the bodies of the victims for burial. We need the government to help us retrieve the remains of our slain family members. We also want the government to ensure justice on the matter.
On his part, the village head said “I want the state government to help us. I have sought help from my family and others because I am confused and helpless.
“We ran away from our homes because we are not sure of what may happen if we continue staying in the village.
“We beg the government to wade into this matter. The death of my people who I sent to check the situation of things must be probed.”
Also the forum urged the police to withdraw the terror tag on the victims, advising them to “conduct a thorough investigation into the crisis to unveil the criminal elements terrorising the neighbourhood.’’
It called on the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the murders by the police and ensure the prosecution of the perpetrators.
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