With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
There is a particular scenario that I witnessed recently, which reflects the heightened insecurity in Kwara State, particularly Ilorin, the state capital. The dramatis personae is a school girl. She flagged down a taxi along Yidi road within Ilorin metropolis, and when the car pulled over at her side, the girl peeped into the vehicle and stepped back in fright. Efforts by the taxi driver to persuade her to join other passengers in the car proved abortive. Out of curiosity I moved closer to the girl and inquired what the problem was. The girl who should be in her early teens said she acted by instinct. According to her, all the occupants in the cab were men and their looks, scary. I immediately understood her fears. Recent happenings in Ilorin have dispensed fear in the minds of resident. Penultimate Sunday, during church service at one of the parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), a church member gave a testimony of how a young lady simply identified as Taye escaped from kidnappers’ den somewhere in Odota area of the metropolis. She was said to have boarded a taxi from Eiyekorin on the outskirt to Sawmill, but along the way, the cab driver was said to have made a detour and taken the unconscious passengers to a ritualist den. She reportedly miraculously escaped. There is also a report of five suspects who were arrested by men of the state Police command for attempting to abduct a boy, Sheu Ajao of Ile Alagbede, Kuntu area of the metropolis, while defecating inside an uncompleted building.
Two siblings, Aisha and Monsuru Mumini too were rescued from suspected rituals in Okekere area of Ilorin. The children aged 6 and 3 were reportedly running errand for their mother when they were abducted. There are several yet to be substantiated tales of people who were said to have been kidnapped probably for ritual purpose.
Though, victims in the aforementioned cases escaped by providence, there are several cases of missing people, whose fate no one can determine. The latest of which is a young girl, Roqibat Lukuman of Niger road, who has been missing since 29th of September, 2017. The news has gone viral on the social media but, she is yet to resurface.
Fresh in our memories is the discovery of a suspected ritualists’ den in Abata Surban, Ita Kudimoh area of Ilorin, recently. It was a case that sent shock down the marrow of people. It is saddening to know that ritualists are on the prowl in Ilorin. Kidnapping incidents are on the rise daily and it is of great concern to the residents. Every person is suspicious of the next person close to him or her walking the streets. Residents are now living in fear. Children can no longer move freely. It is unfortunate that this is happening in Ilorin, the cradle of Islam.
There is no doubt about the growing concern over the growing insecurity in the state and the negative impact on the economic and social wellbeing of the state. It is for this reason that the state government must tackle this social menace headlong. Unemployment has been linked to insecurity in general. It is common knowledge that an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. This is not the time to pay lip service or play politics with employment. The present administration must step up their job creation drives. This is a surefire measure for government to employ in order to checkmate the negative trend. Creating massive employment opportunities will go a long way in nipping this problem in the bud. The harsh economic realities in the country have unarguably forced some vulnerable people into crime in order to survive. There is the rid for the state government to rid the streets of miscreants as some of them are ritualists cum kidnappers in disguise.
Leaders in the society too have roles to play in stemming the tide of crime in the state. Clerics, religious institutions and leaders of various organisations must chart a new course towards giving a new orientation to our youths. Loss of societal values and morals has brought about crimes by youth. Leaders in all spheres must not fold their hands and watch while some undesirable elements turn the state to den of ritualists and other crimes.
Most importantly, security agencies must up their ante in combating crime in the state. They must evolve new intelligence gathering and crime-fighting techniques and methodologies to suit the local challenges. Criminals must be made to realise that there is no safe haven for them in Kwara.
The police under the leadership of Commisioner of Police Ado Lawan should thoroughly explore intelligence gathering approach, prosecute arrested culprits to tackle the increasing cases of ritual killings in the state.
It is believed that timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as deterrent to anybody contemplating ritual killings.