BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Violence broke out on Wednesday in Ikirun town, the headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government Area of Osun State following an alleged move by the new Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba Yinusa Olalekan Akadiri to gain entry into the palace.
The palace had been inaccessible for Oba Akadiri since the announcement of his appointment was made by the state government, as it was barricaded with iron bars while its palace entrance gate had also been adorned with charms.
In the pockets of protests by aggrieved indigenes of the town, most of whom are from concerned ruling houses, no fewer than five persons were shot while others, including security agents, sustained injuries during violent encounter with the protesting youths of the town.
While rejecting the new monarch and accusing the state government of imposition, aggrieved members of other ruling houses had mobilised and shut the palace with charms to prevent the new king from accessing it.
The Gboleru ruling house had said it was its turn to be the Akinrun and accused the state government of approving Akadiri, who is from another ruling house. The new monarch has not been backed by the majority of the town including chiefs and the head of kingmakers.
Meanwhile, pandemonium resurged on Wednesday in the town when some traditionalists allegedly led by a team of Joint Task Force wanted to force its way into the palace in an attempt to lead the new Akinrun inside the fortress.
It was gathered that the security operatives were shooting sporadically when they stormed the palace entrance in the morning. However, some youths violently resisted them before an exchange of gunfire ensued between the security agents and aggrieved youths.
A security source at the scene of the incident confirmed that one of the persons who allegedly confronted them was shot dead while others fled with bullet injuries.
One of the protesters said to be a prince from Gboleru Ruling House, Lukman Omoola, was reportedly shot dead as security operatives attempted to forcefully open the palace for the monarch to have his way.
The deceased’s relative, Prince Tajudeen Gboleru claimed Lukman was shot dead on the spot by a policeman when he led some youths to the palace to prevent the new traditional ruler from gaining entry.
“My brother was killed during a fight in front of the palace this morning. He led some youths to the palace when he heard that they wanted to enter the palace, there was a brawl and one of the policemen shot him dead,” he said.
In the ensuing melee, some unknown persons reportedly mobilised themselves and set a section of the Akinrun palace ablaze in a bid to prevent the monarch from residing there.
Also, no fewer than five officers of the Osun State Fire Service were attacked and injured during the crisis. This happened when a team of firefighters mobilised to the palace to extinguish it. They were forced to abandon their vehicle at the palace while the fire raged.
Confirming the attack on the fire fighters, the Public Relations Officer of the Osun State Fire Service, Ibraheem Adekunle, told The Point on the telephone that the injured officers were later rescued and taken to a hospital for treatment.
He said: “We were informed of that fire but due to the nature of the fire, it’s a kind of riot fire. I think you (The Point) are aware of the kingship tussle in Ikirun. Despite that, we turned up to that scene because we felt that it’s one of our responsibilities to put out such fire. But, when we got there, we were attacked by the angry mob and due to that, our men are at the hospital as I speak to you. Even our fire truck is still within the palace and everything has been destroyed; the windscreen and all that. We have been in the hospital.
“If there is any fire there again, nobody will go out because those who are supposed to do that have been attacked. Our officers couldn’t put out the fire before they were attacked. Those who set the fire were already waiting for those who would come and extinguish the fire and I think that was what led to the attack. Five of our officers were attacked,” the spokesman added.
Efforts to get the reaction of the state police command were unsuccessful as the Police Public Relations Officer, Yemisi Opalola, didn’t pick calls and neither did she respond to text messages.