The once adjudged most peaceful state in Nigeria, Ogun, is fast losing its grip to banditry, kidnapping, farmers-herders clashes, cultism among others, Muhabarishaji reports.
At the moment, cases of kidnapping have become a day-to-day activity in Ogun State, making major headlines on pages of newspapers.
Our correspondent observed that in the past one month, hardly would a week pass by without a case of kidnapping in the state.
The kidnappers are now in all the three senatorial districts of the state, with Ogun West being the most affected.
Unfortunately, Abeokuta, which is the capital, is not spared despite being the state headquarters of all security agencies.
Governor Dapo Abiodun, in the first three months of his inauguration in August 2019, said he was considering the death penalty for kidnappers.
Abiodun had vowed at the time that kidnappers would not be spared in Ogun State, describing kidnapping as an economic crime that must be stopped by all means.
He had claimed that the government was considering sending a bill to the State House of Assembly, to consider making kidnapping a capital offence.
Abiodun had said this while reacting to the abduction of Abdulasis Sanni, the son of the Chief Imam of Ode Omi, a border community between Lagos and Ogun waterside.
Muhabarishaji learnt that at the time, the assailants shot at two other sons of the Imam, and stole a speedboat with which they took away their victims at the time.
However, since 2019, the government of Abiodun is yet to make good its promise to enact a law against kidnappers in the state.
As at the time of filing this report, our correspondent reliably gathered that there is no bill before the Ogun State House of Assembly calling for the death penalty against kidnappers.
Within the past 19 months, there have been many cases of kidnapping, with a few of the cases resulting in the loss of lives.
In December 2019, four men were nabbed for allegedly kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old boy, Abdulmalik Musa, despite collecting N300,000 ransom for his release.
Also, during the COVID-19 lockdown, a policewoman and an officer of the NSCDC were taken away around Ayetoro road. One person was reportedly killed and two were injured in the incidents.
A similar incident occurred in August 2020, when the Ogun State-owned security outfit, the So-Safe Corps, said a gang of four suspected kidnappers had killed a woman while abducting a nursing mother and her baby in Ijoun, Yewa North.
The So-Safe Corps Spokesperson, Moruf Yusuf, told Muhabarishaji that the victim’s mother while crying for help and trying to alert other residents of the community, was shot dead by the kidnappers on the spot.
The situation got to its peak in December when about five policemen were kidnapped by hoodlums in Aba Tuntun, a suburb of Ijebu-Igbo.
It was learnt that one of the policemen, Emmanuel Gene, is yet to be located since he was taken away by the hoodlums four months ago.
In the same vein, Muhabarishaji reports that one Mrs Ajoke Ishola, who was captured on February 15 by those said to be suspected Fulani herdsmen along Igbo-Ori, Yewa North, was found dead the following morning, near Obasanjo’s farm, along the Oke-Irori village.
Similarly, gunmen were said to have kidnapped a driver and his passengers along Ayetoro-Abeokuta road. Two of the traders were later identified to be fufu sellers going to the Lafenwa market from Ayetoro.
Barely one month ago, two female students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ayetoro campus were abducted by yet-to-be-identified gunmen. A school teacher in Ayetoro, Akinbola Abosede, was also seized at the time.
After this incident, the Olori-Ilu of Imope, Chief Kolawole Omotayo, was kidnapped by gunmen along Imope-Oke Eri road as he was driving to Ijebu-Ode.
On April 1, it was reported that two Chinese nationals were dragged away by gunmen at a farm in the Oba area of Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of the state.
Muhabarishaji recalls that three commuters, two men and a woman coming from Ilorin, Kwara State, were snatched a day after, along Ogere-Ajura road. But, they were promptly rescued by the police.
Last week, a doctor and a nurse also fell victims to the dreaded gun-wielding bandits along Abeokuta-Imeko road. They were dragged away into the bush, and the criminals later demanded a ransom of N50 million.
As the police were still battling to rescue the doctor and the nurse, there was another abduction at Obada-Oko Abeokuta on Saturday night. A 13-year-old boy, Gbolahan Ajibola, was captured by gunmen in military camouflage in the presence of his mother and grandmother.
While many have expressed joy that most of the abductees were set free by their abductors, Ogun indigenes are expressing worry that arrests are not being made even as millions of Naira had been paid as ransoms.
The Ogun State Government has not issued any statement to condemn recent kidnapping cases in the state since the release of the two abducted OOU students.
Meanwhile, nurses in Ogun have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike over the recent abduction of medical personnel in the state.
The State Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Roseline Solarin, through a letter, addressed to the Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Tomi Coker, condemned the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards the release of their abducted colleagues.