Six feared dead as Egba, Awori clash in Ota

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Six feared dead as Egba, Awori clash in Ota

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By Ademola Oni, Abokuta

Published: Wednesday, 9 Apr 2008

At least six persons were feared killed and scores of others injured or maimed as the Egba and the Awori engaged in a violent clash in Ota, Ogun State, over an issue that could not be immediately ascertained.

 

Bonfire during a rally organised by the Awori Consultative Council on the Idiroko Road, Ogun State … on Tuesday..

Reports initially said some people had laid a siege to the Ota farm of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, protesting alleged irregularities in the installation of a monarch.

Our correspondents visited the town on Tuesday, and gathered that the warring parties defied the heavy presence of riot policemen and the Gateway Response Squad to unleash mayhem on the commercial town.

Details of the clash, which forced the Commissioner, Ogun State Police Command, Mr. Joseph Apapa, to abort a meeting and rush to Ota, was still sketchy as at press time but sources said the casualty figure could be higher than six.

Residents of Ota said the magnitude of the intra-ethnic clash had never been witnessed in the community.

An eyewitness said the fracas, in which guns, cutlasses, charms and other dangerous weapons were freely used, started in the morning , forcing residents and workers to run for protection in various directions.

It was learnt that up till late afternoon, guns were still booming at some discrete locations while the roads in the town were deserted.

A source told our correspondent that there had been mutual animosity between the Egba and the Awori for some time now.

The Awori, believed to be the ‘owners’ of Ota, are said to be angry over the installation of a prominent monarch from Abeokuta as a king in the town two years ago.

The source, a community leader, who craved anonymity, however, told our correspondent that he was not aware of the immediate reasons which precipitated the clash on Tuesday.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Femi Awoyale, claimed that the state police command was ”on top of the situation.

”We have enough men on the ground there. GRS and riot policemen are taking charge of the situation and we even have two armoured personnel carriers to tackle the situation. There is no cause for alarm; we are on top of the situation,” said Awoyale, a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

He could not, however, confirm the casualty figure in the violent clash.

The leader of the riot policemen to the Ota mayhem, Mr. Sony Ukata, was reportedly shot in the eye by a faction of the warring parties.

Ukata, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who had restrained his men from shooting as the violent clash was shot while trying to maintain the peace.

The ASP, who leads the Mobile squadron 16 of the state police command, is also the head of the special unit that monitors security in the state Election Petitions Tribunals.

As at 7pm on Tuesday, doctors were still battling to save his life at the Sacred Heart Hospital, where he was rushed to after the incident.

Among those reportedly injured were Chief Bashiru Osunlabi, the fourth in rank to the Olota of Ota, Oba Mashood Oyede, Messrs Afolabi Adeosun, Tajudeen Adelowo, Fatai Lawa and scores of others who were later taken to various hospitals.

The clash on Tuesday had been interpreted as an open revolt against the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, who, with the active support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, installed alternate traditional rulers in some communities in the state.

The Olowu reportedly installed alternate kings in Obada Oko, Itori and Ifo but had insisted on having his way in Ota, even as residents claimed that the community belonged to the Aworis and not Owu.

Awoyale told our correspondent on the telephone that nobody died in the clash but justified the deployment of two APCs in the town, saying the police authority did not know the magnitude of the fracas.

“You know this thing is usually from Lagos and we have to be careful what we do. We did not know what our men would meet on the ground; that‘s why we decided to send two armoured personnel carriers to the place,” he said.

The corpse of a man in a jeans and canvas, simply identified as Idowu Olaomo, (aka Coach) lay at the Ansar-Ud-Deen Teaching Training School junction along Ota road.

The genesis of the crisis, according to sources, was the refusal of some of the 12 ”coronet Obas” in Sango-Ota, appointed in 2006 by

Dosunmu to stop parading themselves as traditional rulers.

The Ogun State Government had, three weeks ago, issued a statement directing ‘coronet kings‘ to stop parading themselves as traditional rulers in the state.

The clash on Tuesday which lasted for more than four hours, was said to have started on a peaceful note with the Awori Consultative Council visiting the Obasanjo at his farm even though they did not meet the former President at his Ota farm.

The leader of the ACC, Chief Nosiru Dehinde, who addressed the press after the crisis at the Olota Palace, said they had gone to the former President‘s house to register their displeasure on the disobedience of the Olowu to call his coronet Obas to order.

It was gathered that trouble started when the protesters, which included Egungun, hunters, market women, Orisa and Ogboni cult, were returning from the Obasanjo Farm to the Sango-Ota Junction when they were confronted by the Egba group, who massed towards Ijoko Road, and ostensibly assumed that the Awori were coming to attack them.

The ACC, which issued a communiqué after the crisis, said there would be no peace in the area unless the Dosunmu called his ‘chiefs‘ to order.

 

VANGUARD

 

Six feared dead as Aworis, Egbas clash

Written by Kolade Larewaju   

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

 

PANDEMONIUM broke out yesterday in Ota, Ogun State when the indigenous Aworis clashed with the Egba over some chieftaincy disputes. No fewer than 6 persons lay dead and 20 others badly injured including an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in the clash.
Mr. Sunday Ukata was shot in the eye in the mayhem during which guns, bow and arrows, machetes, cudgels and other lethal weapons were freely used.

For over four hours, the battle raged putting an end to all human and vehicular movements in the commercial town with all shops closed and the streets deserted.

The crux of the matter was said to be the refusal of the 12 coronet Obas in Sango Ota axis appointed in 2006 by the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosumu to obey the Ogun State Government’s order that they should stop parading themselves as traditional rulers.

The Aworis were said to have early yesterday morning started a peaceful protest to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s farm with the intention to imploring him to call the Olowu and the Coronet Obas to order to prevent any break down of law and order.

They were said to have however not met Obasanjo on the farm and were returning peacefully to the Sango-Ota junction when they were accosted by the Egba group who obviously thought the Aworis were coming to attack them

The warring factions fired gunshots against each other as both sides were heavily armed. They also did not spear the policemen who were drafted in to bring the situation under control, firing at them from both sides.

Two armoured tanks with registration numbers NPF 2360 and NPF 676c were brought in and stationed at the Sango-Ota roundabout.

ASP Sunday Ukata who was the Commander of the Mobile Policemen restrained  his men from firing any shot  was allegedly shot in the eye and  taken to the Sacred Heart Hospital, Abeokuta, where doctors were still said to be battling to save his life.

Apparently angered by the shooting of their boss, the heavily armed anti-riot policemen were said to have moved swiftly and the shooting brought under control.

When the situation became calm, the corpse of a man in jeans trousers simply identified as Idowu Olaomo a.k.a Coach was seen at the Ansar-Ud-Deen Teacher Training  School junction along Ota road.

Among those injured were Chief Bashiru Osunlabi, the fourth in rank to the Olota of Ota, Oba Moshood Alani Oyede, Mr. Afolabi Adeosun, Alhaji Tajudeen Adelowo and Mr. Fatai Lawal who were taken to different hospitals.

The Awori Consultative Council, ACC, at the palace of the Olota after the situation was brought to normalcy said that they were on a peaceful protest to the farm of the former President when they were attacked.

Ogun Police Command Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olufemi Awoyale confirmed that one of the officers was shot but added that the situation was under control and that normalcy had returned to the town.

 

 

LEADERSHIP

April 9, 2008

Bloody Clash In Ota

Oba Onipe

A resurgence of hostility between the Awori and the Owu in Sango Ota, Ogun State, may have led to the death of more than six persons yesterday following a demonstration by Aworis against what they perceived as injustice by the Owu.

Investigations revealed that about two years ago, the Olowu of Owu kingdom in Abeokuta, Oba Adegboyega Dosumu, had installed an Oba in Awori land, claiming that Owu community was the rightful owner of the land occupied by the Aworis.

This development generated bad blood between the two communities, leading to several clashes in the recent past.

Guns, machetes, charms and other dangerous weapons were freely used yesterday by the two parties.

According to eye witnesses, yesterday’s clashes started when the Oba installed by the Olowu mobilised against ritual possession organised by members of Awori Consultative Forum, masquerades, and others from Obasanjo’s farm in Ota to Sango.

At the time of our correspondent’s visit to the scene, sporadic gunshots were heard and people were scampering for their lives.

As at 2.p.m yesterday the Ogun State police command had moved two armoured carrier vehicles with loads of heavily armed mobile policemen to Sango in a bid to quell the violence.

When contacted on phone, the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Awoyale confirmed the violence but assured that “our men are on ground with two armoured vehicles to ensure that normalcy returns to Sango and its environs”.

Awoyale however deny any loss of life

TRIBUNE

6 killed in Ota mayhem – ACP shot in the eye

From Olayinka Olukoya, Olalekan Olabulo and Oluwaseun Ayantokun – 09.04.2008

NO fewer than six people were killed and many others severely injured on Tuesday in Sango and Ota in Ogun State when the Aworis and the Egbas engaged themselves in a battle. Nigerian Tribune learnt that an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sunny Ukata, was shot in the eye by the protesters, who were armed with cutlasses, guns, cudgels and stones. He was immediately rushed to an undisclosed hospital in Abeokuta.

The clash was said to have been caused by the alleged imposition of monarchs on the Awori people by the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu.

The two towns, which were turned into a battlefield are the commercial nerve centres of the state and commercial activities in the areas were completely paralysed as motorists deserted the roads.

The Ogun State government, a few weeks ago, issued a statement that the coronet monarchs installed by the Olowu should stop parading themselves as Obas of their respective villages.

It was gathered that a group under the aegis of Awori Consultative Council (ACC), staged a peaceful demonstration to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s farm in Ota to express their displeasure at the imposition of the monarchs by the Olowu.

The protesters, the Nigerian Tribune gathered, were mostly men and women, the Olorisas, masquerades and hunters who, while returning from Obasanjo’s farm, were attacked by people suspected to be the Egbas.

The prompt intervention of anti-riot and regular policemen of the state command defused the tension while two armoured tanks with registration numbers NPF 2360 and NPF 676C were strategically positioned at the Sango-Ota roundabout.

The policemen, who were led to the scene by a Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr. Wale Olokoda, were able to pacify the two groups as they appealed to them to sheathe their swords.

One man said to be in his 30s and identified as Idowu Olaomo, aka Coach, was found dead on the Ansarudeen Teacher Training School road in Ota.

The deaths in the crisis were said to have occurred when youths clashed at Sango junction, Oju Ore and Joju Junction. Others said to have been injured included Chief Bashiru Osunlabi, who is the fourth in rank to the Olota of Ota, Oba Alani Oyede; Afolabi Adeosun, Tajudeen Adelowo and Fatai Lawal.

In a communiqué issued by the ACC after the crisis, the group said the areas would not be peaceful unless Oba Dosunmu reversed his decision.

“We say in strong terms that no Oba is above the law; therefore, Olowu and his illegal coronet Obas and Baales on Aworiland should be made to face the law immediately to avoid bloodshed. The Aworis consider the unsolicited provocation as effrontery and insult to the collective existence as a distinctive sub-ethnic group”, he added.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Femi Awoyale, confirmed that a senior police officer was shot in the clash.

 

 

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