The Chief Magistrate Court 2, Iyaganku, Ibadan, in the Oyo State capital, has ordered the release of three members of the Oodua Peoples Congress, three months after their detention by the Oyo State Police Command.
The OPC members – Awodele Adedigba, Dauda Kazeem and Hassan Ramon – had been detained mid-March 2021 after they arrested a suspected criminal reportedly from the Fulani ethnic stock, Iskilu Wakili.
Wakili had been accused of terrorising Igangan and other villages in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
The OPC had handed over Wakili to the Oyo State Police Command but the police subsequently detained three OPC members for allegedly burning down Wakili’s house and killing an unknown woman in the process.
However, the OPC and one of its leaders, Gani Adams, had said the murder and arson allegations were false, adding that it immediately handed over Wakili and three of his accomplices to the police in Igboora after their arrest.
The three detainees on Tuesday appeared before the magistrates’ court, presided over by A.O. Amzat, and were discharged and acquitted after the state’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions failed to prove to the court that the OPC men were guilty as charged.
Counsel for the defendants, Akwarandu Adetoun, told The PUNCH that the magistrate struck out the case and ordered the release of the detainees.
The OPC Coordinator in Oyo State, Rotimi Olumo, also confirmed the release of his men in a chat with The PUNCH on Tuesday.
Before Wakili’s arrest, farmers and residents of Igangan, Ayete, Kajola and neighbouring villages in Ibarapaland lived in perpetual fear of Wakili who was accused of displacing them from their farms, kidnapping their rich men and raping their women.
Igangan has been in the eye of the storm of late as marauding hoodlums carry out successive attacks on the rustic agrarian village, creating palpable panic and tension in residents of the area.
Earlier in June, no fewer than 17 persons were reportedly shot dead when hoodlums invaded the town on motorcycles around 11pm and started killing and destroying property, which continued until around 3am the next day. (The Punch)