A Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising the police, army and the navy have begun intense manhunt to rescue the Oniba of Ibaland, Oba Yushau Goriola Oseni, who was abducted by gunmen on Saturday night in his palace at Iba in Lagos State.
Gunmen stormed the palace around 10:30pm and forcefully took the monarch away, while they killed his guard and shot one of his wives. Men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, army and the navy were seen at the monarch’s palace on Sunday, as they began the manhunt for the gunmen who kidnapped the oba.
Eyewitness told The Guardian that the gunmen numbering about 16 stormed the town on boat and started shooting into the air. “It was heavy shooting, which made many residents scamper to safety; hours even after the gunmen had left. The monarch was taken away by the gunmen, who escaped through the river located in the community.”
It was gathered that the hoodlums shot and killed one of the Neighbourhood Watch personnel at the palace while the monarch’s eldest wife was shot and fatally injured. She was immediately rushed to an unnamed hospital in the area.
Already, a police Armoured Personnel Carrier has been stationed at Iba Junction, close to the palace, as large detachment of security personnel have been deployed to the area with the mandate to rescue the aged traditional ruler.
The king’s heir, Alhaji Kazeem Oseni, described the incident as ugly and embarrassing to the community. He said the kidnappers have not made any communication since the incident despite taking away some phones belonging to the monarch’s wives.
One of the monarch’s wives, Nofisat Oseni, who narrated her ordeal, said: “I was with Kabiyesi in the bedroom; he was about taking his bath when we heard noise in the compound. Usually we don’t entertain visitors as from 7pm and Kabiyesi wasn’t feeling too well that day.
“I went to see what was happening thinking the children were playing. On getting outside, I saw masked men who were speaking in Pidgin English, ‘wey the king, wey the king’. They forced me to take them to his room. I was trying to prevent them from taking him when one of the hoodlums slapped me in the face.
“One of the wives, who couldn’t let go of the hoodlums, followed them to the gate but was shot while they took away the king. She has being transferred to the General Hospital, Ikeja, where she is currently receiving treatment,” she narrated.
The Queen noted that this was the first of its kind in the history of kingship in Iba town.
Meanwhile, dignitaries yesterday visited the palace to sympathize with the family. Speaking yesterday during her solidarity visit, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, prayed that God should touch the heart of the kidnappers for them to release the monarch.
“He is a king in this town, he has responsibilities for his people. God almighty should touch their heart to please release the poor man for us. The community needs him. We need his leadership,” she said.
Also, the former Lagos State Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, said: “I want to personally sympathise with the community and the family on this very ugly situation. The issue of kidnapping is becoming very alarming and there is need for community policing, especially for the waterways.
“Last week alone, we recorded three kidnaps within Iba LCDA, including that of the Kabiyesi. You can see how alarming it is. I know government cannot do it alone, but they have to look at how best they can partner with citizens to curb this menace.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Lagos State Police Command, Dolapo Badmos, said the gunmen who abducted the traditional ruler might be pipeline vandals, who resorted to kidnapping since their vandalism business had been curtailed.
Badmos added that the Lagos command would work with their counterparts from Ogun State to ensure that the monarch was released at the shortest time possible.