On Sunday, the Ogun State Police Command said it has arrested 150 suspects in connection with the resurgence of robberies, burglaries and cult violence in some parts of Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Areas of the state.
The arrest followed complaints by residents of Owode, Ilepa, Ifo, Arigbajo, Itori, Dalemo, Ijoko Joju, Sango, Ota in Ifo, Agbado- Ijaiye among other communities in Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Areas of the state over the spate of robberies and cult clashes allegedly perpetrated by the suspects.
Rattled by the suspects’ audacity with which they held the affected Councils in terror, Governor Dapo Abiodun vowed to ensure that the law deals ruthlessly with any of them found culpable irrespective of the person’s background, threatening to make haste in signing the death warrant for any sentenced to death.
The Commissioner of Police Kenneth Ebrimson, who took reporters round the troubled councils after parading the 150 suspects, refuted the claim that robbers had taken over Ifo and Ado/Odo/Ota areas of Ogun State.
Addressing reporters at the Ifo Divisional Police station, Ebrimson said there was no report of robbery to the command by anyone living in the embattled Councils.
The Commissioner of Police said it was a case of cult clashes among seven rival groups within the areas as a result of the killing of one of them, explaining that the Command responded to the emergency by deploying men from Special Anti-Robbery Squad; Anti-Cultism unit, Anti-Kidnapping unit; Special forces and conventional policemen who were drawn from the Area Commands in Ifo and Ota respectively.
Ebrimson explained that his men smoked the suspected criminals out of their hideouts and recovered various weapons.
The Police boss identified seven rival cult groups which included; Ilena boys; Federal boys; Lemon boys; Base boys; Sahara boys; Gbese boys and Marindoti boys as responsible for the disturbances in Ifo and Ado/Ado/ Ota areas.
He said: “The Genesis of this was from some criminal gangs that engaged in supremacy battle in Ifo and spread to Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of the state.
“It started on April 4, and the command tactical operation arrested some hoodlums and ammunitions.
“I want to say that there was no single case of armed robbery, no case of kidnapping has been reported. Nobody has been killed.
“The basic issue is cultism that emanated from the killing of one of them in Ifo and spread to Sango, Ijoko and Agbado.”
Abiodun vowed to deal ruthlessly with criminals in the state, saying nothing would shield them from the full weight of the law.
“It has become expedient that we do not spare the rod and spoil the child. Anybody, no matter whose child he or she is, if found guilty of robbery, would be visited with the full weight of the law, including capital punishment.
“I will not hesitate to confirm sentences, even of capital punishment, if that will deter these social misfits. Ogun has zero- tolerance for criminals and we will deal with the with venomous measures. Enough is enough,”the governor said.
Governor Abiodun commended the State Police Command for its swiftness and prompt adherence to directive of the State Government to flush out those turning the sit-at-home order to a criminal enterprise.
He further enjoined all other relevant agencies to immediately up the ante of their intelligence gathering mechanisms to ensure that there’s no reoccurrence of the criminal acts, especially as the State continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ogun State government restates its commitment to ensuring that the State is conducive for living and businesses, without fear of criminals and other unscrupulous elements.
The governor urged the police to intensify efforts at curbing the nefarious activities of criminals, asking them to smoke out their hideouts and promptly investigate those involved in the nightmarish activities, not only in Ifo and Ado-Odo local governments but across the State.
He said the State would avail all other security outfits, including the Department of State Security Service and the armed forces, with necessary material and logistic support to end the reign of terror unleashed by armed robbers on the State.