BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Rising insecurity in Osun State, especially the renewed attacks between some cultist groups, has heightened fear among residents and also led to a gradual disappearance of nightlife, findings by The Point have revealed.
Aside from the fact that the state is still grappling with kidnap cases, cultists have begun to terrorise residents in their renewed daily violent activities.
This is evident in the spate of attacks involving members of the Eiye and Afe cult groups, which resurfaced recently in Osogbo, Ilesa and Ile-Ife towns.
It was observed that the clashes between cultists were suspended after the 2023 general elections, a development that restored peace to these towns and their environs.
The two cult groups were allegedly used by the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party for election purposes before and during the general election. No fewer than eight people were killed in different political violence and cult-related attacks before the elections.
However, five months after the elections, the cultists have resumed their violent activities, shooting and attacking one another with cutlasses, daggers, swords, broken bottles, charms and clubs.
The renewed attacks have led to the killing of a reported leader of Eiye confraternity, who was identified as Segun Agbadaye, notoriously known as Shigo in Ilesa.
Also, three students of Osun State College of Health Technology, Ilesa, were accidentally shot during the shootout that occurred between the two cult groups penultimate Sunday night.
One of the students was shot in the eye, another shot in the waist while the third was shot on the leg, according to sources.
The students who were charging their phones at a barber’s shop at Amuta Junction, were reportedly hit by the bullets from the sporadic gunshots of the cultists.
The cultists had attacked Bolounduro, a street in Ilesa around 9:30pm and engaged in about two hours gun battle.
It was gathered that the ongoing cult clashes began on July 19, when some suspected members of the Afe confraternity attacked the Eiye base at Okesa, Ilesa.
Segun (shigo) who was said to be one of the strongest Eiye members and another cultist, Amuda, were reportedly killed in the attack.
The development led to reprisal attacks, which has shattered the peaceful atmosphere of areas like Irojo, Okesa and Bolounduro.
According to sources, the cultists leading the attacks at both sides of Eiye and Afe are known faces who havebeen terrorising Ilesa and its environs for years.
The sources mentioned Solomon Adedimeji, known as Solo Iwara, Bode Itapa, General and late Segun as the people leading different attacks in the town.
Recall that Adedimeji was declared wanted by the Osun State Police Command on March 11, 2022 in connection with murder, arson, ritual killing, armed robbery, rape and kidnapping.
Investigations revealed that the late Segun and some other deadly cultists were released from Ilesa prison afew months to the July 16, 2022 governorship election and had since been terrorising the community.
Recently, in Osogbo, during the grand finale of the yearly Osun Osogbo Festival, some suspected cultists invaded Osun grove and caused chaos. It was gathered that two rival cult groups attacked themselves and killed three persons.
During the fracas, at least, 10 operatives of the Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Service sustained various degrees of injuries while trying to restore normalcy at the crowded grove.
The hoodlums also vandalised the NHFSS office close to the scene of the incident.
Confirming the incident, Hammed Nureni, the State Commandant of NHFSS, said no fewer than three persons were killed in the clash
Residents of these affected towns have lamented the spate of the attacks and killings and explained that they are afraid of moving about, especially at night.
Sola Ogunleye, a resident of Imo in Ilesa, said, “These guys (cultists) are known faces. The police know them and where they live. Solo Iwara, Bode Itapa are members of Afe cult group, while General and Segun, people called him Shigo, a son of the Agbadaye of Igbadaye, are members of Eiye confraternity.
Segun was killed recently in Ilesa by these cultists in a clash. The police know all of them. They are the people terrorising Ilesa and neighbouring towns and villages.
“Solo Iwara and Bode Itapa don’t live in Ilesa, they usually come from their hideout inside a forest at Iwara to launch attack in Ilesa; and they retreat immediately. They usually come with nothing less than 20 to 25 motorcycles with three passengers on board.
“We are not at peace in Ilesa, the Eiye and Afe cultists are terrorising us. They shoot at anytime and anywhere. The two cult groups have been having running battles for long, and our politicians, especially PDP and APC, are to blame for this. They freed some of these guys from prison before the 2022 governorship election. They armed them with weapons and the result is what we are seeing now.”
A resident of the capital city, simply identified as Dare, called on the state government and security agencies to come to the aid of the ordinary citizens of the state.
“We are living in fear. If you observe very well, our streets in Osogbo are deserted as from 9:00pm. Go to places where people have fun, the number has decreased because people don’t feel safe to return home after enjoying themselves. Most people who do night business are also affected. It’s high time government and security agencies did something to address this challenge,” he noted.
The incessant cult clashes have left residents of Irojo, Okesa, Bolounduro and College of Health Technology in panic and confusion, forcing majority of them to close their shops and rush home before 6:00pm.
Meanwhile, findings have revealed that the Police in Ilesa are being challenged with faulty operational vehicles, which has been making interventions on distressed calls difficult.
It was learnt that majority of the Police operational vehicles were faulty and could not move fast to crime scenes whenever distress calls were put across to the Police.
When contacted, the Osun State Police Public Relations Officer, Yemisi Opalola, confirmed the incidents, disclosing that some arrests had been made.
Opalola called on parents and guardians to warn their wards against membership of bad groups and also charged members of the public to expose anyone suspected to be a cultist in their neighbourhood before such people start fomenting trouble.