The Europe chapter of the O’odua Progressive Union (OPU) has renewed the call for unconditional release of three members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) that handed over the alleged territorial warlord in Ibarapa and kidnapping kingpin, Iskilu Wakili, to the police in March this year.
The call was made by members of the Europe chapter of the OPU, through its Coordinator, Chief Victor Mobolaji Adewale, who is also the Akingbayi Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Sunday.
The group stated that the OPC made positive intervention when kidnapping and killings were at an alarming rate in Ibarapaland and actually arrested Wakili and handed him over to the police in Igboora.
The three OPC members are Awodele Adedigba, Dauda Kazeem, and Hassan Ramon.
“But the three persons that took Wakili to the police station were also arrested and detained by the police. The three OPC members as well as Wakili and some other persons arrested with him were transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, Ibadan. From there, they were taken to court.
“The police levelled allegations of arson and murder against the three OPC members when they were taken to court. But the truth of the matter is that if the OPC members are criminals, they would not have arrested Wakili alive and still taken him to a police station. The OPC members did not take the laws into their hands by giving jungle justice to Wakili and his people.
“It is still surprising that the police would charge the OPC members with arson and murder. The aim of OPC in going to Ayete in Ibarapa was to arrest Wakili, which was done. And he was handed over to the police for prosecution.
“So, the members are not criminals and they should be released. They should have no case to answer. They are law-abiding citizens. They only complemented government’s efforts at reducing crime rate in Nigeria. The security agencies are overwhelmed and they need the support of non-state actors to strengthen the security architecture of the country. This is exactly what the OPC members did in arresting Wakili.”
The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, had also made similar call for the release of the three OPC members. He particularly accused the police of supporting Fulani against the Yoruba over the arrest of Wakili.
According to Adams, Wakili had purportedly caused the death of some people in Ibarapa and that his men trailed him for one month before he could be arrested. He said Wakili’s second in command was the first that was arrested.
He stated that the members of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in conjunction with other local security operatives in Ibarapa effected Wakili’s arrest, saying: “The OPC handed over Wakili to the police. But the police in turn arrested the three OPC members that took him to the station.
Adewale also said the call for the release of the brave OPC members became imperative for the group as Nigerians in Diaspora could not come back home because of the fear of being kidnapped.
He, however, urged the Southwest governors to provide a workable synergy that will help in curbing the influx of killer Fulani herdsmen across Southwest.
“On Monday March 8, 2021, the police had released the three OPC members on bail. But on Monday March 15, the police invited them, and they were promptly re-arrested on the same Monday. They were arraigned in court on Tuesday, March 16, and they were charged with conspiracy, arson, murder, willful destruction of property and so on, which are not bailable.”