RESIDENTS of Arogbo-Ibe, an Ijaw-speaking community in Ese-Odo Local Council of Ondo State, yesterday raised the alarm over resurgence of criminal activities across the coastal stretch of the state, which they blamed on unscrupulous security personnel.
The residents said the new wave of criminal activities was being carried out by some hoodlums who “are in concert with some known soldiers and policemen from within the community.”
Speaking through Bibopiri Ajube, a high chief and community leader in Arogbo, the residents said they now live in fear of invasions from the armed hoodlums “who launch attacks on us from the outlying creeks and wreck havoc, killing and maiming innocent citizens.”
Ajube, a former militant, who now coordinates the Federal Government Amnesty programme in the western flank of the Niger Delta by resettling the youth, urged government to set up a special security unit in the Ondo coastal areas to combat the hoodlums.
Last Thursday, Ajube led a team of residents to chase out a gang of invaders that attacked Adoloseimo, a fishing community in the local council, during which a pregnant woman was killed.
The sleepy fishing community was attacked by the armed hoodlums who claimed that they were members of a militant group with guns and other dangerous weapons in a midnight raid that left many of the people injured.
Residents of the community were made to part with their valuables and those who did not cooperate with the hoodlums were physically assaulted.
The armed youths sneaked into the community in a gunboat, bringing back the memory of the pre-amnesty days of violence in the Niger Delta region.
The invaders, who reportedly stormed the community to protect one Nelson Owefa, the alleged mastermind of the abduction of an unnamed foreigner last month, were said to be made up of serving soldiers and policemen from Arogbo community.
Although Ajube and the local vigilance group were able to apprehend one Bright Owefa, who is said to be Nelson’s brother from the neighboring Safo-Arogbo, the rest of the invaders fled into the bush and had been holed up there since Saturday.
Handing over the arrested suspected invader to the Nigerian Army for further investigations, Ajube called on the Army and Police authorities to look inwards and flush out their personnel allegedly collaborating with local hoodlums to terrorise the residents.
He said the names of the soldiers and policemen involved, who are allegedly drawn from security formations in Lagos, have been given to the authorities for necessary action.