What led to the clash
On the 29th of January 2014, a group of young boys returning from a party at night mistakenly killed a dog with their car in the Abayawo community. The dog was owned by a local hunter known as Dankano and this accident led to a conflict between Dada and Abayawo, two neighbouring communities.
Despite the fact that the Dada community paid for the dog, the Abayawo youths insisted on receiving payment for the chain on the neck of the dog but the young men responsible for the death of the dog refused, and all hell let loose.
When the police arrived to resolve the dispute between the communities, a police officer, Corporal Agboola Joachim, was shot dead.
The natives of the Abayawo community said the bullet found in the body of the deceased was not a local bullet, claiming that it was a stray bullet from the police. But Dada residents insisted that the deceased was shot by a young person from the Abayawo community.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Kwara State Command, Mr Ajayi Okasanmi, believes that a young person from any of the communities involved could have shot Corporal Joachim.
In the fracas that ensued, more than than 50 motorcycles were destroyed and almost 40 men were arrested by the police, according to eyewitnesses.
Alhaji Rasaki Alabi, the Security head of the Abayawocommunity disclosed that he was the one that informed the police to arrest the Magaji of the Abayawo for covering up for some of the boys. Narrating the story, he confirmed that the fight started at midnight when the residents of Dada went to a party and they mistakenly killed a hunter’s dog in Abayawo. Elders of the community tried to settle the fracas but they did not succeed.
He recollected seeing people running helter-skelter in the early morning, as the youths from the Abayawo community approached.
“When I saw the police entering the Abayawo community and heard gunshots, I ran away. It was from inside the room that I heard that a police officer had been killed. Then the whole community exploded in chaos as police began to shoot at sight. He identified two of the victims as Iya Alate and Baba Ibeji.
A resident of Dada, Abdulrasaq, who witnessed the incident said the matter would not have escalated if the erring youths had apologised to the owner, confirming that the situation got out of hand when a corporal was killed while the police were settling the dispute.
Abdulrasaq said he could have been hacked to death by youths of Abayawo when he was coming home from work.
“Had it been my brother was not residing in Abayawo, I would have been killed.”
Ordeal Of Victims
Abdulgafar, a cobbler in the Abayawo community, recounted how he lost his uncle and his stepmother as a result of the clash. He was among the people who were illegally arrested by the police in connection to this conflict.
He recounted his experience, saying: “My stepmother informed me to go and take my four younger brothers from Charity School so that they would not be caught in the fracas on their way home.
“When I eventually brought them home, my stepmother told me to close the door, notifying me that there was a conflict since morning. Later, the police forcefully entered our house and I was arrested together with my uncle.”
“My stepmother insisted that I wouldn’t be arrested, and explained to them that I was going to my work before I was sent on an errand,” but her explanation fell on deaf ears as the police beat everyone in sight.
Abdulgafar confirmed that many innocent residents, including a cleric, were arrested that day, while the perpetrators escaped.
“I [thought] of committing suicide, but I resisted because I know the implication, ” he said
While recounting the situation, he noted that he was later discharged alongside others by the court after finding them not guilty of the alleged offence. And a week after he was released from the cell, his stepmother died, then his uncle as well. Abdulgafar blamed the police for their death. He said his uncle’s death was caused by severe torture by the police.
Another resident, Iya Okelele mentioned that her son was illegally arrested by the police and was detained for three months, despite the fact that he did not know anything about the fight.
Musa Amole, a resident of the Dada community narrated how Abayawo youths threw a stone that hit the eye of his younger sister which led to the loss of her sight in that eye.
He told this reporter that Batuli Abeje (the victim) came on a short visit from her husband’s house in Ipekun to take care of her mother in Dada but when the youths were chasing one another, she peeped through the window, and one of the boys threw a stone that hit her eyes which blinded one of her eyes.
“To date, she [is] unable to use the eye to do anything,” Suleiman Baba Ode, a resident told CAMPUS REPORTER.
Similarly, Mallam Ibrahim, known as Baba Alaguntan, a security man working at the Okelele Secondary School, said a broken bottle almost entered his eyes, but he was lucky.
Alhaji Ibrahim Ogala said that his car was destroyed in the fracas by Abayawo youths, and he had to sell the spare part of the car to those who were selling iron.
“That car served as a source of income for me,” he lamented.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Kwara State Command, Mr Ajayi Okasanmi, said the case in question was investigated and the suspects arrested had been charged to court.
He denied the allegation that the police destroyed property, saying: “Police don’t destroy, we make peace and that was what happened.”
However, when he was asked whether the wife of the deceased had collected her entitlement from the police force, he confirmed it.
“She must have collected the statutory amount fixed for the family of the deceased that died while performing their duties.”
Replying to whether the culprits of the conflict have been prosecuted, he said he believed the case is ongoing, explaining that the murder case could not be summarily disposed of because it would go through a long procedure.
“I am sure the deceased will get justice,” he said.
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