NOTWITHSTANDING the un-ending massacre of their kinsmen and a rumour making the rounds that their attackers had perfected an-other ploy to renew hostility against them, the leadership of the embattled Idolehin Community in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government area of Ogun state, has charged the residents to refrain from any violent act, even in the face of provocation pending when vari-ous injustices allegedly meted on them by the Ado-Odo,would be remedied.
The Idolehin leadership was echoed by their lawyer, Mr. Wahab Kunle Shittu,who told the community on the need to be law abiding one, tasking them to shun violence and any act capable of truncating the on-going judicial system.
This, Shittu said would help to courry justice in their favour should they embrace the rule of law.
He said: “Youth should eschew violence in the face of provocation, thread the path of law and never resort to self-help”.
It was at a town hall meeting called by the community to appraise the lingering killing of their kinsmen by their attackers especially when their attackers who had shunned various peace meetings by the Ogun state government,threatened to launch another attack on the hapless resi-dents over the land they had occupied for over 600 years.
Apparently cautioning their wards, the Baale of Idolehin,Chief Joshua Donfonsu Kuruyo, said there was need to embrace law as an instrument of defence to chal-lenge their neighbour and its powerful High Chief, who had embarked on vio-lence, killing, maiming and intimidating the community as alternative to displace the Idolehin from its ancestral home.
“We must continue to embrace law as an instrument of defence to fight the battle and not to resort to self-help”, Kuruyo said.
The community which had lost scores of its sons and daughters to alleged incessant attacks launched at them at will by their neighbour and its powerful High Chief, raised the alarm following alleged threats to their lives by the High Chief and his agents who had shunned various peace meetings conveyed by major stakeholders, including the Ogun State government.
Following a break down of law and order in the area including the unending mas-sacre in the community, allegedly perpe-trated by the Ado-Odo, the Ogun state government a few weeks ago, summoned the parties to the Okemosan government office with a view to wading into the mat-ter.
In a letter dated August 14, entitled “Re:
imminent breakdown of law and order in Idoleyin Community of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government occasioned by the continuous at-tacks,killings and wanton destruc-tion of property of the Idoleyin people by criminal elements”, Ogun state government through its Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Ministry,summoned the warring neighbours to the peace meeting.
The letter signed by G.M Yusuf, reads: “I have the directive to ac-knowledge receipt of your letter dated July 25 and to invite you to a meeting with the Hon. Commis-sioner For Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs on the above subject matter”.
But the peace meeting was shunned by the Ado-Odo, which had engaged the Idolehin in a war of attrition over their land.
While the Idolehin residents hurried to Abeokuta,venue of the peace meeting, their alleged attackers shunned the meeting, threatening that not even the Amosun led government could make them sheathe their swords,insisting that the Idolehin commu-nity would not know peace until they quit the land their forebears had bequeathed to them over 500 years ago.
“They deliberately refused to attend the meeting because they were confident that not even Governor Amosun can make them honour any peace path until they dislodge us from the land we inherited from our for fathers over 500 years ago”,said the Idol-eyin Community Association Chairman,Pa Idowu Hopo.
He went on: “ Our hope hangs in the bal-ance now as their deliberate absence from the meeting called by the government speaks volume just as there are rumours of a fresh attack on us for daring to petition the police and the government over unend-ing killings of our people.
For instance,one of us was attacked again a few days after we came back from the meeting they refused to honour. As I am speaking to you,Sunday Boto,was almost killed by a suspected agent of the Ado-Odo High Chief. The suspect,Yesio Vitu Hun-pati,despite his alleged confession,the po-lice ,who had assured us of security,are yet to arrest the suspect even though we made a complaint,schools were not exempted as children are scared from going to school since this wanton destruction of lives and property started”.
Their lawyer,Mr.Wahab Kunle Shittu had written no fewer than 10 petitions since the community was engulfed in crisis.
In one of the petitions ,Shittu said: “We still remain the solicitors to the entire Idol-ehin community of Ado Odo/Ota Local Government of Ogun state. The Idolehin community comprising villages namely: Whenakon, Afiko, Seto, Hunvenu, Singbomen, Kutanko, Metowhe, Hung baeji, Hunmenu Aiti,Wusu Gbegidi and other camps are direct descendants of Whenakon Afio, the very first settler in the community, and over the years, the Idole-hin people have cultivated and developed the communities to this present state with-out molestation or harassment from any quarters until recent times.
“Our clients’ firm instructions is to draw your distinguished attention to the inces-sant threats, intimidation, harassment and molestations, killings, destruction of prop-erties by the underlisted persons acting under the general supervision and instiga-tion of one Chief Benedict Ishola Ademola Adekunle, who are determined to force-fully dispossess our clients of their ances-tral lands and property under the guise, had launched incessant attacks, murders, sponsored arrests, detentions and appro-priation of our clients property consis-tently over the years.
“The persons namely are Chief Bene-dict Ishola Adekunle (2)Wasiu Momodu, Sunday Alade, Akanji Olu, Wasiu Abi-ola, Dammkan, Sikiru Ainola, Bashiru Balogun, Kehinde Adeosun, Adegbola Odede and Yinusa Yekin.
“These elements for the past 10 years have been terrorising the Idolehin com-munity and left in their wake destruction of properties and loss of lives of innocent citizens of the Idolehin in their bid to take over our clients community land.
“In our clients bid to maintain peace amidst all these provocations and sense-less killings, is currently exploring the ju-diciary and at present, have pending cases in Suit No: HCA/9/09 between Chief Joshua Kunrunyo & 6 Ors. v. Bene-dict Ademola Adekunle & 9 Ors. And Suit No:HCA/29/09 between Benedict Ademola Adekunle & 6 Ors .v. Chief Se-wanu Vittu &12Ors respectively before the High Court of Ogun state, in the Ag-bara division, holden at Ota.
“The court had on May 10 granted an order for maintenance of status quo pend-ing the final determination of the substan-tive suit which is to effect that our client as settlers and occupies must stay on their land and community until a contrary order is given.
“In flagrant disobedience to the court order, these elements continue their raid-ing by destroying crops, killing villagers, using the police to harass and intimidate our client in order to suppress and rob them of their ancestral land.
“Idolehin community has witnessed scores of murders and kidnappings at dif-ferent periods during the siege on our client’s community led by one Mr. Saliu Ogunbiake (a.k.a Dannkan) and different invasions and raids of our client’s villages and destruction of their properties con-tinue unabated”.
Besides, Shittu had told the Ogun state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in a petition entitled ‘the daily weeping, mourning, groaning, harrowing, wailing, crying and griefing: untold misery and gory account of the fate of the Idolehin people; save our soul and restore our hope of life; a clarion call thereof’, asking him to urgently wade into the matter with a view to giving them reprieve and suc-cour.