An unusual brazen act of sacrilege was perpetrated against the traditional institution of Isiu community in Ikorodu division on Thursday, September 3, 2020, when a group of hoodlums suspected to be land grabbers, popularly known as ‘Ajagungbales’, invaded the ancient town and attacked the newly installed monarch, Oba Olukayode Balogun, the Eweye of Isiu, in what has been alleged to be a dastardly attempt to kidnap or kill him.
The invaders, who were said to be working for one Yinusa Jimoh who, according to report, is an antagonist and opponent of the new Oba, put the entire town under siege for two days.
Though, the hoodlums did not succeed in their heinous mission, but they wrecked untold havoc on the town as about 50 youths and residents, who were said to have vehemently resisted them from attacking the monarch, sustained varying degree of serious gunshots, while the palace building was also riddled with bullets and several properties destroyed, including the newly acquired Jeep of the monarch which both front and rear windscreens and leftt side mirror and door glasses were smashed.
Oriwu Sun, however, gathered that three of the attackers were apprehended by the local security guards that shielded the monarch from attack and had been taken to Panti for interrogation, while two others were arrested on Monday, September 7, 2020.
The attack was said to have instilled fears in the residents who could no longer go about their daily activities for fear of another attack while the completion of the rites for the new Oba as part of his coronation ceremony as required by the tradition of the town have been put on hold.
When our reporters visited the community on Monday, September 7, 2020, the impact of the deadly attack could still be felt as the entire atmosphere was calm and sober and devoided of normal liveliness while the main road was deserted except for few motorcycles commuting passengers into the town.
Also, several uniform personnel of some local security outfits could be seen taking position at strategic locations around the palace and the town to secure the Oba and residents while a group of men of the Nigeria police were equally stationed at the entry point of the town for the same purpose.
The attack on the royal father, who was few weeks ago presented with the Staff of Office and Certificate of Recognition by the Lagos State Governmentt, is no doubt a deviant affront on constituted authority and a pointer that the decades of tussle over the Obaship stool of the ancient town, which host the Secretariat of the Ikorodu North Local Council Development Area, is far from been over.
While speaking on the incident in an interview with Oriwu Sun, the Eweye of Isiu, Oba Olukayode Balogun, alleged that Yinusa Jimoh and his elder brother, Ibrahim Jimoh (a.k.a Asela), among others as those responsible for the two days attack on his palace and community.
He explained that the attack started on Thursday, September 3, when the boys he sent to erect one of his at the second entry point of the town located along Ikorodu-Itoikin Expressway, were brutally attacked with broken bottles and other dangerous objects by Yinusa Jimoh and his boys.
“It was one of the banners that were made and presented to me by different groups and associations in honour of the presentation of Staff of Office and Certificate of Recognition to me by the Lagos State Government on Monday, 24, August, 2020, that those boys went to erect at the junction of the Itoikin – Epe Expressway which is near my community”, Oba Balogun said.
“They were attacked while doing that by some ‘Ajagungbales’, namely Yinusa Jimoh and Idris Jimoh and others. They shot at them and inflicted serious injuries on them to prevent them from erecting the banner. That was how the problem started.
“I was told that they were querying them on my ascension to the throne of Eweye and they returned to report the matter to me and those injured were taken to the General Hospital in Agbowa”.
The traditional ruler also said that a more deadly team of ‘Ajagungbales’ returned the next day to attack his palace and shot many residents in the process.
“On the second day, to my surprise, another set of ‘Ajagungbales’ invaded my town with guns and other dangerous objects. They attacked my father’s house that is presently serving as the palace and vandalized my Jeep that I bought recently”, he said.
“They shot at many residents and wounded them badly. They wanted to kidnap me or kill me if kidnapping is not possible, but God Almighty intervened for me. All the hunters in our community and Onyabo Vigilance personnel intervened to stall their invasion”, he alleged.
“They shot for almost two hours. If you go round the palace, you will see bullet holes. Many residents in the community suffered bullet wounds. The victims of the attack are about 50 in number. They are receiving treatment as we speak. We have been keeping vigil since that day.
He raised suspicion about the role of the Imota DPO, Mr. Omololu Oni, and his men in the activities of the ‘Ajagungbales’ that invaded his town, while also alleging that the DPO, rather than bringing the culprits to book, persuaded him to enter settlement with them.
“He (DPO) came in the evening of the day that the whole issue started (Thursday) and he was the one that followed one of the boys that were attacked to the hospital and late in the night of that same day, he called to tell me that he and his men were on patrol and I asked him to see me.
“Two hours after l called him, he finally arrived and he was telling me something else. He told me that I should agree to settle with the suspects but I insisted that he must arrest those suspects first before that”, Oba Balogun said while expressing his disappointment over the statement of the DPO.
“Those that attacked my people came in through the point that policemen from Imota were said to have been stationed, yet they could not apprehend them”, he said.
“I was also aware that he (DPO) escorted the leader of the suspects (Yinusa) to his home in Isiwu on Friday night and when I called him to ask him about it, he denied it”.
While stating that he had already written petition to the Lagos State government and Council of Obas and Chiefs in Ikorodu division regarding the attack and expressing confidence that he will receive positive feedback soon, the monarch said that he has already employed the services of some local security outfits to secure his palace and the entire community from further attacks pending the outcome of his petition..
“I have already written a petition to the Lagos State government and Obas in Ikorodu division and other relevant quarters about the attack and l am sure that l will get positive reply to that petition very soon. I want the government in particular to assist me in providing security in order to protect the lives of the people and properties in my domain.
“But l have already made arrangements for local guards to secure the palace and the community pending the time my petition will be treated. The guards have been on ground since the day the incident occurred and l have been spending so much money on daily basis to feed them and provide other things for them”.
He also urged the State government to intervene in the insecurity in Isiu and also establish a police station in the town, stating that a piece of land had already been provided for that purpose.
“Activities of these hoodlums are preventing residents from going about their daily activities and engagements. You will not see anyone on the street in the community because of fear of another attack. Many of our residents have already relocated from the community.
“We need the state government to give us a Police Station in Isiwu. We already have a piece of land reserved for the purpose and we need their intervention quickly in this regard. We need a police formation here because the one at Imota is far from Isiwu”, Oba Balogun solicited.
Oba Balogun, who also alleged that Yinusa and others are being sponsored by two notorious land grabber’s kingpins, Alhaji Owoeye and Soro, to dispossess families in Isiwu of their properties, further alleged that the attackers are being backed by some Police Officers in their criminal acts in the community.
“They actually wanted to kidnap or kill me and I am suspecting Yinusa Jimoh and Ibrahim Jimoh and many others.
“I really do not know what they wanted from me. He (Yinusa Jimoh) did not apply for the royal position and yet he is contesting my emergence as the Oba of the town. He is a notorious land grabber. He has sold off many lands in the community and has been enmeshed in crisis with several families on whose lands he stationed Ajagungbales across the community.
“He and his people are saying that it was Oba Shotobi that installed me but I don’t know where they got that information from. I spent 14 years seeking for the stool and l was presented with the Staff of Office by the Lagos State Government and by that, I became the monarch of this community (Isiwu).
“There are many petitions against him (Alhaji Yinusa Jimoh) but he always makes use of some policemen. His godfathers are Alhaji Owoeye and Soro”, Kabiyesi alleged.
He stated that the fear of Yinusa and his cohorts is that he is going to retrieve all the land they have unlawfully sold and acquired in Isiu but said that he’s not ready to thread that path and is only looking for ways to unite every one and work for the progress and development of the community.
“Their fear is that l am going to collect all the land in their possession from them now that I have become the Oba, but I am not interested in fighting anybody over any land. I am more concerned about how to bring everyone together to work for the development of the community”.
“If they (Yinusa and cohorts) come to me and make peace, l will welcome them because l don’t want to make enmity with anybody but l won’t allow criminal activities in the community because my people have confidence in my ability to protect them”.
Also, some of the victims of the attack narrated their ordeal to our reporters in separate brief interviews and also showed the injuries inflicted on them by their assailants.
One of them, Oluwadamilare Raji who was shot in the chest and back, said he and others that had gone to erect the banner were attacked and pursued with dangerous weapons by Yinusa and his boys.
“Those of us that went to erect the Kabiyesi’s banner at the entry point of the town along Ikorodu-Itoikin Expressway were attacked and pursued by Yinusa and his boys. They were shooting dangerously at us as we were running away.
“They came and attack the palace the following day. They destroyed the palace and other things. They also shot several people. They threw bottles on the roof of the palace and attempted to attack Kabiyesi but we resisted them.
“I was shot in the chest and back while many other were also shot by the assailants. Some of the victims like me have been treated and are already back home while several others are still receiving treatments in the hospital.
“We want the government to intervene in the matter and arrest the culprits and those that sent them as soon as possible because they are still threatening that they will attack us either in the Isiu or anywhere they see us.”
Another victim, Jimoh Isiaka Sabale, said he was shot in his right leg and back by the hoodlums whom he alleged were sent by Yinusa Jimoh.
“The hoodlums shot me in my right leg and back. They were sent by Yinusa to kill our Kabiyesi and those that are loyal to him.
“He (Yinusa) has been claiming that our Oba is not recognized by the State government and that he’s the one that is entitled to the Eweye throne when in actual fact, he’s nobody in the town.
“This is not the first time hoodlums would be disturbing the peace of the town at the behest of Yinusa. We wanted to retaliate but Kabiesi prevailed on us not to.
“But we want the government to arrest Yinusa so that he can substantiate his claim that our Kabiyesi is not recognized by the government. There’s need to arrest him and his cohorts in order for peace to reign in Isiu”.
Also, Amusa Emmanuel, another victim who equally sustained gunshots injuries on one of his legs, also alleged that the invaders were sent by Yinusa Jimoh and pleaded that the state government and security agencies should provide security in lsiu and stop Yinusa and his cohorts from perpetrating further criminal acts.