The Oyo State sector head for Oodua Peoples Congress, Rotimi Olumo has said his men do not need the permission of anyone before they can hunt down criminals.
Olumo, who spoke in an interview with BBC Yoruba, said criminals do not take permission from anyone before perpetrating crimes.
His comment came as a reaction amid backlash over OPC’s clampdown on the settlement of Fulani warlord, Iskilu Wakili, in the Ibarapa area of Oyo state.
He said, “They are asking us who gave us the approval to enter the bush; who did Wakili receive approval from before going to settle in the bush? He turned himself to a criminal in the bush.
“For about two months now or even more, only someone who is not in Oyo state or Southwest Nigeria can say he doesn’t know what we are going through in terms of insecurity in the Southwest. Our members in Ibarapa, Ayete, Igbo-Ora, Igangan, have agreed to put a stop to the war before them because it is a war that’s ravaging their communities. When we speak of Oyo state, the people of Ibarapa, the problems they are facing in terms of security is different from those living in Ibadan city.
“We all have heard of Wakili that has terrorised the people of Igangan, claimed their farms and he has threatened a lot of people that no one can come to take him away from the place where he has settled.
“The people in that area don’t have any other occupation but farming. If they don’t plant cassava, they will plant cocoa, yam, that’s their major occupation, that’s how they feed. So, when someone tells Ibarapa residents not to go to the farm again, that’s like throwing them into famine.
“About two months ago, Sunday Igboho, one of our friends went there to Ibarapa, when people came crying to him that the kidnapping is too much. He went there, not to fight, he only went there to give them a warning. This warning has now led to all that is happening now. Wakili is even threatening that if Sunday Igboho knows he’s strong enough, he should come back, in our fatherland.
“That’s why we all agreed to put a stop to it: the inability to sleep, the inability to eat, the farmers there, collaborated with the vigilantes and local security guys, entered the bush to capture Wakili.
“If the government cannot save us, the police cannot arrest a criminal, the Amotekun went there, they couldn’t capture Wakili, then why can’t we also give it a trial? is it not to protect our people? OPC was established to fight for our father’s generations and this is the time to fight for their fathers land.
“Our men went into the bush, what they wanted to go for was to ask Wakili and his boys to leave so the area can experience peace. They went into the bush and immediately they got there, Wakili’s boys started shooting at the OPC men.
“Amidst the confusion, they were able to capture Wakili, he wanted to escape but when iron strikes another, one bow. These people are OPC members fighting for the truth, the group of freedom fighters. Wakili thought it was something he will do and go Scot-free but God did not allow that. They shot at the OPC members but our men captured Wakili and three others. The other people fled and escaped into the bush.
“With the training, we give them in the group, they captured Wakili, their thought was, part of Yoruba problem is solved, part of Ibarapa’s security issue is resolved. They took Wakili to Igbo-Ora police station, they handed him over to security agents that this is Wakili.
“According to the account of one of our warriors, immediately they got to the police station and discovered one of them has a wound, they decided to take him to the hospital. On their way to the hospital, the police arrested them. Immediately they were apprehended, they called us, we said why?
“We were still on the matter when we learnt they have been taken to Ibadan, that the Commissioner of Police gave an order that they should be arrested and brought to Ibadan. How can they arrest someone who has gone to liberate his generation from suffering? So, while Wakili is in the hospital, they were caring for a criminal, our young men that have liberated their people from unnecessary killing were kept in police custody.”