Suspected Niger Delta militants on Monday in Ibafo, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, exchanged fire with the security agents escorting the state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga on an inspection tour of the border communities recently sacked by the militants.
According to eye witnesses, the suspected militants had engaged the security teams in the convoy of the Ogun deputy governor in a gun battle around the Akoka Ebute area of Ibafo.
Onanuga who was on the inspection visit in company with the service chiefs in the state had earlier visited Imushin, Elepete and Igbo-Olomu where she reassured the residents of the government’s commitment towards providing adequate security of lives and property, before the incident occurred.
The situation however changed when her convoy arrived at Akoka Ebute area of Ibafo where the suspected militants opened fire on the security operatives escorting the deputy governor.
No casualty was recorded while the 20-minute gun battle between the militants and the security agents lasted.
Several residents of the areas have lost their lives since the militants launched violent attacks on some communities in the state penultimate Friday.
Worried by the development, traditional rulers from the affected communities had earlier on Monday met with the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, in Abeokuta, the state capital.
At the end of the meeting, a state delegation led by the deputy governor had set out on a visit to the affected communities.
But eye witnesses said as an advance security team led by the state’s service chiefs was approaching the Ibafo creeks, where the suspected militants were believed to be taking refuge, sporadic gunshots were fired at them.
The security agents, including soldiers and policemen were said to have immediately taken cover and then returned fire to repel the suspected militants, who later retreated farther and escaped into the creeks.
The state delegation was then forced to make a detour from the troubled area after the deputy governor had assured the residents of their safety.
Reacting to the development, the SSG who expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the affected communities urged the Federal Government to immediately intervene.
He expressed regret over the incident.
The Ogun SSG, said, “It is a thing of regret that things have gone so bad in our country; at this level, the teams led by the deputy governor of the state were not able to have access to a part of our state. It means that without mincing words, the Federal Government needs to get involved in this.
“This is something that is beyond the capacity of the police. We need military task force like the one we have in Niger Delta; it’s necessary and desirable. As we can see in Elepete, Igbo-Olomu and Imagbon, nothing can be compared with the violence here in Ibafo.”