We were only chasing robbers, didn’t steal money – Amotekun
BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Three male undergraduates of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who were allegedly assaulted and extorted by some operatives of the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun in Osun State, have recounted their ordeals.
The students disclosed that about 15 armed operatives attacked and beat them with dangerous objects including axes, after which one of them was forcefully robbed of N100, 000 on the night of April 30 at Mayfair Area of Ile-Ife.
Explaining how the alleged harassment and extortion happened, one of them, who did not want to mention his name said, “We were coming from Mayfair Area of Ile-Ife and looking for a hotel we can lodge. So, we approached Parakin and got one hotel. The hotel was filled up, we couldn’t lodge there.
“We had to turn back. At a road, we saw some guys that were being beaten up by about 15 operatives of Amotekun. They were in the car but we don’t know what they had done. Because of what they (operatives) were doing, the road was blocked. At this point, a man approached our car, pointed a torchlight at us and asked us to come out of the car. I came down, I told the Amotekun operative my name and that I am a student, he slapped me immediately. I told him that we came to search for a hotel, and he slapped me again. As I was pleading with him that I was searching for a hotel, it was then I recognised that the two persons they were beating were students of OAU. One is Elvis, while the other is Rahman.
“The Amotekun guys claimed that they were coming after a truck, which was being driven by a thief. They were able to follow the truck but the truck had hit Elvis’ car that both doors from the driver side were already pressed, they couldn’t open; they had to get out through the other door. That was the reason Elvis approached the Amotekun operatives so that the truck man could be questioned on where he was driving to and how to fix his damaged car, but, instead of them to listen to him and know the way forward, they said he was a thief and decided to beat him and others. They had to report to a police station. The truck and Lexus car were towed to a police station in Ile-Ife.
“On that night, one of the Amotekun people came from behind and struck me with a blunt axe on my left leg and I fell down. They were shooting sporadically and I started pleading for my life. I wouldn’t know if to ask for what our offence was or to start pleading guilty. We just started pleading with them to spare our lives so that we were not thieves. One of the operatives collected my bag that contained my phone and money. After about three minutes, I met one of them and begged him to allow us to go. He then asked them to bring my bag, one of them brought the bag from the floor, at this time, they had opened it, removed my phone and handed it to me. I felt that the bag was already empty. They have taken my N100, 000 that was inside the bag. Because of how ugly the situation was, I couldn’t question them,” the student said.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Students’ Union of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and National Association of University Students in Osun State, have petitioned the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola and demanded that those who allegedly assaulted the three students be fished out and prosecuted.
A statement signed by NAUS chairman and Publicity Secretary, Eruobami Ayobami and Lawal Idris respectively, said the operatives of Amotekun Corps that perpetrated the act should be suspended.
The statement further reads, “The attention of the leadership of NAUS was called to an incident of harassment and cruel attack on students of Obafemi Awolowo University, which happened on Saturday, April 30 around 3am.
“Members of Amotekun Squad who we can boldly refer to as ‘devil in human body,’ started a strange impromptu stop and search routine at Mayfair after a robbery attack as proclaimed by officers of the force, where three students were harassed, beaten with harmful instruments (axe, guns) and were later extorted of a sum of N100, 000.”
In the same vein, a statement signed by the OAU Students’ Union President, Olayiwola Folahan Festus, General Secretary, Odewale Samuel Damilare and Public Relations Officer, Ogunperi Taofeek Olalekan demanded that the Amotekun operatives be produced and punished while the money allegedly stolen from one of the victims be refunded. They also requested that the medical bills of the victims be paid.
To further show their grievances, the students’ union leaders met with the leadership of the Department of State Security and the state Police Command over the incident.
However, Osun Amotekun spokesperson, Yusuf Idowu, denied the allegations saying “our operatives chased some armed robbers from Ilesa-Ife Express Road, after they hijacked a truck from a driver, and went through Modakeke to Ife.
“After a gun duel with the robbers, we arrested one of them identified as Solo. Other members of the gang ran away in another car and our operatives were on their trail. Suddenly, a vehicle emerged from a junction and blocked one of the vehicles on the trail of these robbers. It was a case of aiding a robbery suspect.
“After proper identification, some of those arrested at the scene were released, while the suspected armed robber was taken to Amotekun Olorunda command headquarters in Osogbo. He was handed over to the police later in the day. We did not collect money from anyone at the scene.”