At the peak of insecurity of lives and properties in Ikorodu, one bold and patriotic son of Ikorodu volunteered to sacrifice his own life for the sake of others.
As the nation stepped into the new millennium in the 21st century, the mass migration of population into Ikorodu Division brought with it influx of crimes and criminality. Just as developers, investors, business men and women as well Nigerians scrambled for land, spaces and new ventures to promote in the area, bad elements strategized on how to devour the efforts of the good people.
Bank robberies of the past, starting from Ijede to Ebute using the water ways, became the order of the day, while lesser robbers burgled homes of wealthy residents at night. Kidnappers stormed the division and made away with children and notable citizens. Cultists polluted the environment with constant clashes, bloodsheds, etc.
We began to hear of 6 -6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9 etc., when cultists shut down Ikorodu as they engaged their opponents or rivals in supremacy battles.
Ajagungbales (land grabbers) and oil bunkerers (oil thieves) brought their own mayhem and nightmares in the division. The climax was the dreaded blood sucking group called Badoo boys. For more than a year, these night vampires, in cannibalistic fashion, killed and drained victim’s blood ostensibly for money rituals.
Between 2010 and August 2017, it was a story of mixed grill – the rapid population and development Ikorodu division witnessed as we turned into the new millennium turned sour as people, out of fear of insecurity, began to leave the division. There was an exodus of residents to places considered to be safer.
But one man remained outstanding in this tale of Ikorodu’s transition from a semi urban satellite region to an arm of the mega city State of Lagos.
When the combined strength of the regular police, special police and soldiers under the Rapid Response Squad and the Anti Robbery Squad could not quell the ravaging criminals in Ikorodu division, Chief Kamorudeen Bombata Oshikabala emerged by divine arrangement to help his people.
His local vigilante group, Onyabo, took the center stage in the fight against crime and criminals.
In 2010, it was confirmed that Ikorodu had become the prime target of armed bandits as almost every other day, teenagers between 20 and 30 years of age were totting dangerous weapons, unleashing terror and havoc, especially on wealthy individuals, who they targeted to rob.
Everyone became concerned and residents started yearning for alternative source of help beside the conventional police force.
Early 2012, Nigerians were shocked by the discovery of a village of horror in Imota, where policemen and vigilantes discovered an underground ritual factory.
On the night of Friday, June 16, 2012, preceding the popular Oro (Liwe day), two rival cult groups and Onyabo vigilante group engaged in fierce gun battle at a time Ikorodu residents were heaving a sigh of relief from cult violence.
After the explosive encounter, which lasted several hours, and a mop up operation on Saturday morning by same Onyabo personnel, about five cultists were confirmed dead while one was arrested and handed over to policemen. The rest of the cult members took to their heels.
This deadly encounter, which took place in different areas of Ikorodu central district, could only have been successfully executed by Onyabo because they are indigenes, who know the terrain very well.
The Onyabo group in Ikorodu continued in their successful policing of the community alongside the regular police, not only in combat with criminals, but also in the area of intelligence gathering and timely foiling of robbery operations.
On April 7, 2013, the group, led by Chief Kamorudeen Bombata Oshikabala, through effective intelligence operation, got wind of an attempted robbery operation on Saturday, April 6, 2013. By 5a.m the next day, they laid ambush at Yewa Grammar School Compound, the meeting point of the suspected robbers, whom they intercepted on motor bikes on their way out of the school for the operation and arrested two, who later confessed to suspects the plot while others ran away.
Around 2015, ritual murders became prevalent in this division. Seven ladies were found murdered and dumped at Ota-Ona canal, Agunbiade Street. They were suspected to have been ritually killed. The ladies were aged between nineteen (19) and twenty nine (29) years, whose lives were brutally terminated by unknown killers. The burden of unravelling this mystery again fell on the police, Onyabo, and OPC personnel.
Earlier in October 2012, 500 cultists (Eiye and Aye) took oath with Chief Bombata of Onyabo and Olombas in Ikorodu to maintain peace in the environment. It was believed that, if a cease fire agreement and oath by members of the two main rival cult groups in the division was adhered to, then residents of this area will heave a sigh of relief. But it was not long when this oath was breached.
Then came the era of the dreaded Badoo cult between 2016 and 2017.
Again, Onyabo was in the thick of the hunt for those night killers.
By early 2017, at the height of cult wars, ritual murders, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and terrorist activities in Ishawo area, Ikorodu jubilated when more than five hundred cultists voluntarily renounced their membership of cults and surrendered their deadly weapons to the Police in the presence of Onyabo, Nigerian Army personnel, OPC and Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps.
The successful outing of Onyabo in Ikorodu, despite poor funding, encouraged the Lagos State Government to establish the Neighbourhood Watch Group, which is a preamble to a State or community policing.
Onyabo was funded by Bombata and some of his faithful patriots as well as the Ikorodu Local Government, Oriwu Club and other notable individuals. Obviously, he needed more than this paltry support.
The tragic story about this courageous man, who fought selflessly for his people, is that he died in September 2018, allegedly from a spiritual attack uncatered for.
The man, who championed the war against cultists, kidnappers, robbers and criminals in the division, died on Friday September 28, 2018.
This frontline solder, who terrorized the terrorists, died after suffering from stroke for about four months. While he was sick, the family moved him from one hospital to the other, from orthodox medical practitioners to native doctors, according to his children. At last, he died.
His children accused Ikorodu community of abandoning their father during his trying period, neither providing any funding nor even visiting or caring.
Now that this hero is gone, society owes him a duty to immortalize his name.
He deserves a posthumous award and perhaps, a street named after him and where possible, some financial compensation.
It will be unfair to expect the family of this great warrior to be taxed for an honour to be bestowed on him.
This medium once canvassed for a Security Trust Fund for Ikorodu division, fashioned after its state equivalent. If there is such a fund, the family of Bombata could be remembered and Onyabo as a group would be better funded after Bombata’s demise. That is one sure way of making the labours of this man and his fighters as well as those taking over that mantle not to be in vain’