The Oodua Peoples Congress, on Sunday, said the men of Nigeria Police Force in the Oyo State detained three OPC operatives for arresting notorious Fulani warlord Iskilu Wakili.
Wakili, who is said to be the leader of the herdsmen in Ayete, has been accused of sundry crimes in the Ayete area of Ibarapaland in Oyo state.
According to farmers and residents of Ayete, Wakili worked with dozens of herders who are his disciples to seize hectares of farmlands at Ayete, raped the women in the rustic town, and kidnapped their rich men for ransom.
However, Adedeji Oluwole, the OPC sector coordinator who led his operatives and other vigilante groups to arrest Wakili, said the suspect was nabbed on Sunday morning.
The OPC leader said it took over four days of continued operations and surveillance to nab Wakili and three of his accomplices.
According to Oluwole, more than 10 OPC operatives went on the mission. He said Wakili’s men shot fiercely at the OPC operatives before they were eventually nabbed.
He, however, expressed shock that the police detained three of his men after they handed over Wakili.
“We took Wakili and the three others from Igangan to Igboora and handed them over to the DPO at Igboora. The name of the DPO is Ajayi Mark. As I am talking to you, they have taken them to Iyaganku at the State CID in Ibadan with three of my boys,” Oluwole told Punch.
Continuing, he said, “When we took Wakili to the police this morning, the police said we should take Wakili to the hospital first which we refused because we are not in a position to do that. We told the police that they have been complaining all these days that they wanted to arrest Wakili and now we have brought Wakili to their doorstep, they should take over.
“Nobody touched Wakili, nobody hurt him, there are no traces of any hurt on him. He is an old man and we had promised the whole world that we won’t hurt them but we would arrest them for the whole world to see who is Wakili because all this while, he has been a faceless person, nobody knows him. We didn’t beat him or harm him. When we nabbed him, we put him inside a vehicle and handed him over to the police.
“The DPO then said he got a signal from the CP (Commissioner of Police) in Iyaganku. They have taken three of my men to Iyaganku now.”
However, the Police Public Relations Officer in Oyo State, Olugbenga Fadeyi in a statement titled, ‘Oyo police assures of diligent prosecution of suspected criminals’, confirmed the detention of the OPC members.
The police said the three OPC members were detained for alleged murder and arson.
It alleged that one person died while the OPC members were attempting to arrest Wakili, adding that the warlord’s house was also set ablaze.
Part of the statement read, “The State Commissioner of Police has quickly moved into action and preliminary findings revealed that some OPC members went to Kajola community in Ibarapa North Local government Area of Oyo State.
“While there, the house of the Wakili in question was set ablaze, while a female (the identity of who is yet to be ascertained) was burnt in the fire and Wakili (about 75 years old and blind) with two other persons were picked up.
“The three of them are presently in the custody of the Police. The Commissioner of Police has directed that Wakili (due to his frail appearance and state of health), be moved to the Hospital, while others are being interrogated. Others being interrogated are the OPC members, involved in arson and murder.
“Meanwhile, the Oyo State Police Command wishes to inform the general public that any person or group of persons from any region or tribe that has been found culpable to have committed any criminal act (s) in the State would not be spared, but would be arrested and dealt with according to extant laws.
“Therefore, it is worthy of note that the good people of Oyo State and the general public should rest assured that the officers and men in the Command would not derelict in its duty to bring to book criminal elements arrested for any infringement on the laws of the land, as adequate security measures have been emplaced against anything untoward while soliciting credible information from members of the public to enable the Police and other Security Agencies clampdown on crime and criminality in the State.”