Residents flee Ibeju-Lekki communities as another crisis looms

PHOTO: JujuFilms

Three months after a police inspector and two siblings were killed during a masquerade festival at Ilagbo community, intense tension has enveloped residents of Ilagbo and Oriyanrin communities, both under the Ibeju Lekki Local Council Development Area (LCDA), over the outcome of a case of murder and arson.
The crisis, which has torn both communities apart, has also heightened tension as some of the residents have moved out of their houses over the past few days over fear of a bloody war on both sides.
The reason for the anxiety is the alleged release of four suspects from Oriyanrin, who were earlier arrested for the murder of two indigenes of Ilagbo community, Suleiman Akeusola and Musiliu Salami.
While the Oriyanrin suspects were allegedly released, five others from Ilagbo were last week arrested and arraigned at the Igbosere Magistrate Court, Lagos.
The suspects, who were charged for murder and arson, include 33-year-old Segun Salami (son of the deceased Musiliu), Samson Abimbola, Sikiru Egunjemi, Aliu Egunjemi and Jimoh Ogunnupe.
It was gathered that the tragedy began on May 23, 2017, during the annual Kilajolu Festival at Ilagbo where a youth of the community was killed in cold blood by some youths of the neighbouring Oriyanrin community. The clash had started at the masquerade festival between two youths from the communities.   
Some youths from Oriyanrin town were alleged to have caused trouble at the festival and the elders of Ilagbo community sent them away. 

Out of anger, Oriyanrin youths who were sent away allegedly laid ambush on some Ilagbo youths who were returning from the festival and hacked Suleiman Akeusola to death.

Although Akeusola was rushed to a nearby hospital, he later died that night and his death unleashed series of clashes that have till date torn the two communities apart.

When some Ilagbo elders led by Musiliu Salami went to Oriyanrin to bring back the dead body, they allegedly met severe hostilities. Although the other two Ilagbo elders escaped back to their village to report the incident, Salami was shot dead on the spot and his body buried at the shorelines.

After his body was exhumed, the Akodo Police Division arrested two suspects. While investigation was going on, some unknown persons stormed Oriyanrin community at night and burnt houses, cars and other property worth millions of naira.

After the intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, where he sued for peace, the Akodo division transferred the case to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba. However, few days before the suspects were arraigned in court, the case was transferred to Abuja on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

When contacted, the legal counsel for the Ilagbo community, Sadiku Ibitayo of Deed Solicitors, said the police have perverted the course of justice by releasing the real suspects from Oriyanrin and replacing them with Ilagbo suspects, including the son of the deceased, Segun Salami.

“Last Monday, I learnt that Akodo DPO has been redeployed and that the suspects would be charged to court on Tuesday. It was shocking to see that instead of eight persons, the police only brought in five suspects. We did not see the suspects that shot Akeusola and Salami.

“The release of the Oriyanrin suspects are particularly worrisome as they have been seen in the community boasting of how they got off free, causing tension in the land. We want the IG to take note of the willful subversion of justice and we need the compromised officers to be brought to book.”

Already, five suspects who were charged before Magistrate Awoyele Oshin have been remanded in prison till the next date of appearance on September 15, 2017.

Attempts to talk with the Force Spokesperson, CSP Jimoh Moshood, proved abortive, as at press time, neither was the text message sent replied.

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