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Suspected Herdsmen Wreak Havoc Along Oyo-Kwara Highway

Date: 2018-03-21


Economic activities between Kwara and Oyo States have been paralysed following the invasion of Ilorin-Igbeti highway by suspected herdsmen.

Already, newspaper distribution from Ilorin, Kwara State, to communities such as Igboho, Kishi, Igbeti, Igbope, Iya, Yoyin, all in Oyo State, have been affected as commercial vehicles have abandoned the road.

The incident according to THISDAY investigations, started last Sunday and it is yet to abate as a result of the inability of security agencies to tackle the situation in the affected routes of the two states.

The development, it was gathered, has led the several travellers along the routes to fall victims of the hoodlums who reportedly kidnapped and collected huge ransom from their victims.

One victim, a businessman, was said to have paid the sum of N70 million to the hoodlums described by residents as strange faces who suddenly surfaced along the route.

The development has also meant that several motorists, traders and farmers have not been able to travel on the road.

News of the invasion first emerged on Wednesday last week, according to a newspaper distribution agent who lamented that he had been forced to use only motorcycle to move his supply from Ilorin since last week.

He said three vehicles were waylaid and passengers held hostage by the armed men, adding that female victims were released after being dispossessed while a ransom of N5 million was placed on each male captive.

In the recent past, there have been pockets of armed robbery and kidnapping within Olorunsogo, Irepo and Orelope local councils but this one is on large scale, he lamented asking for military and police presence on the route to checkmate the hoodlums.

A source from Igbeti, who spoke with THISDAY on phone last night, however said the desertion of the route by motorists was due to a security cordon on the area by a combined team of local vigilance operatives and policemen, adding that the effort has already led to the arrest of about 30 of the armed men.

Asked how the invasion started, the source who asked not to be identified in the press, said: "We just began to notice some foreign invasion of strange faces on the route. They camped along the Igbeti Kishi Forest Reserve Road.

"Some days they would come out and began to shoot into the air without touching anybody and run back into the forest. But on some other days, they will stop vehicles and dispossess the passengers; they have collected ransom of N70 million from one businessman and N2 million from another victim.

"The affected communities were said to have held a stakeholders meeting on Sunday.

"The meeting was attended by political leaders and traditional rulers where it was resolved that tough security measures must be put in place to checkmate the armed men,"said the source.

He also said: "So last week stakeholders held a meeting and that was where it was resolved that we should take serious measures to put a stop to the menace and one of such measures is that there must be no vehicular movement on that route for now so that we can trap the hoodlums.

"And we have been succeeding because as at now we have nabbed about 30 of them, some with huge amount of money and charms."

It was gathered that the affected communities assembled a combined team of vigilance men from the north to tackle the menace.

However, when contacted spokesman for the Kwara State Police command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the command was yet to be informed of the development.


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