A man alleged by residents of Ibarapa in Oyo State to be responsible for a series of kidnappings and killings in the area has been arrested.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Iskilu Wakili was arrested on Sunday by men of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and other local security groups.
The OPC said the arrest was carried out after several attempts resulting in a gun battle on Sunday morning.
Mr Wakili and his clan have been repeatedly blamed for various kidnappings and killings in the past.
But PREMIUM TIMES has been unable to independently verify their culpability in the crimes for which they are accused.
Details of Mr Wakili’s identity is also sketchy. A PREMIUM TIMES reporter who visited the area in February was unable to access his enclave due to security concerns.
Confirming the arrest, the OPC leader, Gani Adams, said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, that Mr Wakili has been handed to the police in Igbo Ora, Oyo State.
“I am happy that the notorious kidnapper had been captured alongside three others,” he said.
“It is a good development and a positive signal to other criminal elements that the South-West is no longer an abode for bandits, kidnappers, and criminal herders.
“I commend all the members of the joint security team that has made this possible because with the video at my disposal, it was purely a neat job.
“With this development, I think the whole world will agree with me that the fight against insurgency, kidnapping, and banditry needs native intelligence, information gathering, and grassroots support from local securities and operatives.
“As I have said earlier that the effort to rid the South-West of bandits and kidnappers was to complement the efforts of the police and in doing that, it is also very important for the police to support the local security operatives because they are always at the grassroots and they have their ears to the ground on local security matters.”
In reaction to the development, a socio-political group, Afenifere, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said it “gives tremendous commendation to OPC under Iba Gani Adams for the arrest of Iskilu Wakili, a Fulani bandit who has been spreading terror on our people in Igboho area and the Nigerian police and other security agencies unable to do anything about him.
“We were not shocked that but for the intervention by the leadership in Oyo state, the police would have gone after the OPC boys instead of taking the criminal from them and do the needful. Nigeria is going nowhere with a security network that shuns federalism.”
Olugbenga Fadeyi, the Oyo Police spokesperson, did not respond to calls and text messages as of the time of filing this report.
Mr Wakili or any family member could not be reached to comment for this report.
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