Four killed, as environmental exercise turns violent in Ondo

By The Citizen

Four persons were feared killed and several others injured at Igbotako, a sleepy settlement in Okitipupa Local Council of Ondo State, as the observation of yesterday's environmental sanitation exercise turned violent involving soldiers and hoodlums belonging to two different political interests.

It was gathered that members of the State Environmental Task Force, led by the Chairman of the Council's Caretaker Committee, Niyi Pirisola, and members of a local gang, known as 'Ojota boys' engaged each other in a bloody confrontation when the hoodlums refused to observe the monthly exercise.

The Guardian, however, learnt that the main cause of the clash was the heat in the state's political arena involving members of the Labour Party (LP) who are defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the original members of the latter, as the hoodlums are identified with a known politician in town while the council chairman is a member of the old LP.

The crisis was reportedly triggered when one of the street boys refused to observe the exercise and was being chased by council officials led by the caretaker chairman. The fleeing boy, 'Ogbege', was said to have knocked down Pirisola.     The source said Pirisola, having met with market women and advised them on compliance with the environmental law, was on his way out of the town when the said Ogbege ran into him and knocked him down.

Attempt to pursue the hit-and-run rider, however, turned into tragedy as the vehicle in pursuit ran into a young person and knocked him down forcing other youths in the area to mobilise themselves to attack the chairman dealing him several machete blows.

Attempts by the police to rescue the chairman, it was gathered, also led to another accident that recorded another casualty.

The situation became more bloodied as a detachment of military men on patrol from the nearby Okitipupa barracks, who moved into the area, were also attacked with guns and broken bottles by the said 'Ojota' boys and the soldiers while trying to bring the crisis under control engaged in a gun battle with the street boys resulting in two other casualties.

For now, security operatives have moved into the town to restore order.

But the Police Public Relation Officer, Mr. Wole Ogodo, said he was yet to get the full details of the event in the local government. The Guardian