MY ORDEAL IN THE HANDS OF THUGS - OGUN MONARCH
For the, Oba Olayinka Balogun, in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of Ogun State, the unexpected happened when hoodlums armed with guns and machetes stormed his palace.
The strange visitors did not only storm the palace, but left indelible marks on the royal father who currently carries about plasters over wounds he sustained from the thugs.
Irokun, a riverine community, came into limelight of recent, following the ongoing project of the OK Free Trade Zone and the Deep Sea Port in the area embarked upon by the state government. The crux of the matter that made the 55-year-old monarch incurred the wrath of his attackers had to do with chieftaincy matters. Oba Balogun, who is from the Ogbe Ruling House, ascended the throne in 2007.
The gangs were allegedly sponsored by one of the indigenes of the community eyeing the royal stool and a political leader from the area. Speaking in Abeokuta, the monarch stated that he was in the palace attending to some visitors around 11am when the thugs invaded the palace:
'I was receiving some guests in the palace when four of my assailants, who came from a neighbouring village under my kingdom, Igbedu, came into the palace rudely and insisted that they wanted to see me. I was trying to ask them to sit down and that they should explain the purpose of the visit when they rushed me and started beating me.
'One of them with the gun shot at me, they attacked me with machete and other dangerous weapons like bottle. But I thank God that I managed to escape from being killed. The people of my community insisted that the four people arrested must be killed but I prevailed on them against jungle justice and I insisted that they should be taken to the police station.' According to him, one of the village heads from the kingdom made arrangement for one of the speed boats that brought one of the community members on voters registration exercise to take the oba and the suspects outside the town.
He said he encountered another trouble as he was trying to disembark from the boat as one of the sponsors of the attack mobilised and launched fresh attack on him: 'The people of my community insisted in following us to Makun, but I insisted that they should not bother. I thought the trouble was over as the four men arrested were tied with rope before being put in the boat with me and the village head going with us.
'But as we are trying to disembark from the boat at Makun, I saw one of the sponsors of the attack who had already mobilised other people to launch fresh attack on me at the riverbank, where the beaten continued until police who came to meet us at the riverbank rescued me.'
He presented a letter allegedly written by the prime suspect where he had threatened to launch an attack on the oba over the chieftaincy title. One of the members of the community heads in the area, Prince Dekunle Ogunsanya, blamed the police for 'not being proactive enough. If the police had been proactive enough this ugly incident would not have happened. The community members are all aware of the group fomenting trouble in the area.
A was earlier sent to the police on the activities of this group of people, including the threats but nothing was done. We even heard that the four people arrested had been released on bail and we believe that the way the police was handling the issue does not show seriousness.'
The stste Police Public Realtions Officer, Mr. Muyiwa Adebajo, confirmed the incident:'The community should not accuse the police of any complicity over the release of the suspects because it is a bailable offence and the investigation is still ongoing. It is only after the conclusion of investigations that they can raise eyebrow if necessary.'