Now that another Southwest traditional ruler has been slain

The attack on residents and traditional rulers in the Southwest in recent time has become rampant, with the latest episodes from Ekiti and Kwara states. BIOLA AZEEZ chronicles the reactions to the killing of traditional monarch in Kwara and sampled the opinion of people in the state on why the killings are happening.

To say that the news of assassination of Olukoro of Koro kingdom in the Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State, Oba Olusegun Aremu-Cole, jolted residents of Kwara State in general is an understatement.

To compound the sacrilegious act of shooting the traditional ruler pointblank on the chest right inside his palace while relaxing, the attackers took away his wife and one other person.

The state governor, who is also the chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, while condemning the development, described the incident as reckless, shocking and abominable.

More condemnation for killing of monarch

Meanwhile, stakeholders in Kwara State have jointly condemned the reported killing of the traditional ruler of Koro town in the Ekiti local government area of the state, Oba Peter Olusegun Aremu-Cole and abduction of his wife last Thursday at night by suspected kidnappers.

In their separate statements, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Senator Bukola Saraki, the senator representing Kwara Central senatorial district under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Saliu Mustapha, and the state chapter of the PDP, called on the state government as well as security agencies to find lasting solution to the menace.

The Emir of Ilorin and chairman Kwara Traditional Rulers Council, Alhaji Sulu-Gambari, condemned the gruesome murder of the Olukoro of Koro-Ekiti, Gen Segun Aremu (rtd) and the abduction of his wife and two others.

Alhaji Sulu-Gambari, in a statement issued in Ilorin, appealed to security agencies to intensify efforts towards the protection of lives and property in the state.

He expressed the condolences of the entire members of the Kwara State Traditional Rulers Council to the people of Koro community, indigenes of Ekiti Local Government Area, Government and the people of Kwara State over the sad incidence.

He urged the Kwara State Government to ensure that necessary support is given to security agencies in order to curb the incessant crimes and criminality across the state.

The Emir, therefore, urged religious leaders across the state to embark on special prayers for the state for the restoration of peace and harmony which Kwara State is known for globally.

Also, the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Saliu Mustapha, condemned the murder of Oba Peter Olusegun Aremu-Cole, the revered traditional ruler of Koro in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.

“Oba Segun Aremu was a friendly, hospitable and responsible traditional ruler with whom the Senator shared a close personal relationship until his demise. His gruesome murder and the abduction of his family members is a sacrilege of our communal values and traditions.

“Senator Mustapha commends the Kwara State Government for its swift response to this tragic incident. The emergency security meeting held by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak and the rapid mobilization of security forces to ensure the safe return of the kidnapped Royal family members demonstrate a commendable commitment to the security of lives and property of the citizenry.

“He, therefore, joins the Governor in charging our security agencies, including the local vigilante, not to relent in their pursuit of the perpetrators of this vile act.

“We must apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice to send a clear message that such acts of violence and disregard for human life will not be tolerated in Kwara State.”

The senator called upon constituents in Kwara Central and all people of good conscience across Kwara State to unite in solidarity and support for the Kwara State Government, the security agencies, the Ekiti Local Government Council, the community of Koro in Ekiti LGA and most importantly the bereaved family of the deceased.

“To the family of the departed monarch and the community he served, I offer my deepest condolences. May the Almighty grant them the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss and may the soul of the departed find eternal peace,” the Senator said.

In his own statement, the president of the 8th Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, expressed shock over the killing of the Olukoro of Koro and the kidnap of his family members.

In the statement issued in Ilorin, Saraki condemned the act, describing it as dastardly, inhuman, and unpardonable.

He condoled with the traditional council of Koro, the royal family, and the people of Koro over the loss, praying God Almighty to grant them the fortitude to bear it.

The former Senate President expressed concern over the worsening spate of insecurity in the state, charging the government to secure lives and properties.

“I commiserate with the Koro traditional council, the bereaved royal family, and the people of Koro community over this huge loss.

“While we continue to pray for the safe rescue of the abductees, we ask the government and security operatives to be up and doing, to ensure adequate security for the people in Kwara State.

“These criminals must be apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.

The state chapter of the PDP has also condemned the gruesome killing of a revered traditional ruler and Retired Army General, His Royal Highness, Oba Segun Aremu, the Olukoro of Koro in Ekiti Local Government Area, and the abduction of his wife and two family members by an unidentified gunmen.

In a statement released by Mr. Olusegun Olusola Adewara, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP, the party condoled with the people of the state.

“The gruesome killing of Oba Segun Aremu and the abduction of his wife and other family members by yet-to-be-identified gunmen shows deteriorating security situation in our state.

“The PDP is disheartened and shocked by this unfortunate incident and extends our heartfelt condolences to the Koro community, Ekiti people, and the traditional institution in the state.

“Our party stands in solidarity with Koro community home and abroad at this difficult time and calls on security agencies to intensify efforts at rescuing those abducted unhurt from captivity while bringing the perpetrators of this dastard act into timely justice.

“While commiserating with the Koro people for the tragic loss of the king, we pray for the safe return of those abducted and commend the gallant officers who are deployed to comb the forests in search of those hostages.”

Why the kidnappings?

Some other stakeholders have, in their condolences, appealed to security agencies to intensify efforts towards protection of lives and property in the state, while they also urged the state government to ensure that necessary support is given to security agencies to curb the incessant crimes and criminality across the state.

However, some residents in the state have observed that cases of kidnapping, in recent times, cut across all parts of the state, leaving no area untouched.

Notable areas where kidnapping, abduction and other forms of crime had been experienced in the state in recent years include Alapa, Oko-Olowo in the Asa Local Government Area of the Ilorin emirate, as well Isin, Ifelodun, Irepodun and Ekiti Local Government Areas in the Kwara South senatorial district. Edu, Patigi and Baruten Local Government Areas in Kwara North area are also affected.

Why is there a seeming upsurge in kidnapping cases in the state and other parts of the country, especially, among traditional rulers?

Some residents that Nigerian Tribune spoke with said that religion, Western education and lifestyle, money-making rituals, as well as nonchalant attitude among some traditional rulers have made them targets.

“Nowadays, many traditional rulers have placed premium on their religions, neglecting and having nothing to do with traditional worshipping that the royal stool is noted for. That’s why some of them become prey. Even if they would be harmed, it would not be so easy for their attackers to do so!

“Some of them are foreigners to their culture as they have been engrossed with Western way of life to the extent that they’re nonchalant to traditional ways. These are some of the types of traditional rulers we have as obas,” a respondent who preferred anonymity said.

Speaking on the possible reasons for kidnapping cases, a senior lecturer at the Department of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Ilorin, Dr Monsurat Isiaka, said that the prevailing inclement economic situation in the country was responsible for the upsurge in the crime rate being recorded across the nation.

Dr Isiaka, who is a specialist in Criminal Justice System and Terrorism, explained that the need to make ends meet or live big by mindless individuals and groups, who are not gainfully employed or whose means of livelihood are being threatened by unbridled economic degradation, has led to increasing criminality across the country.

A former coordinator of the Department of Criminology and Security Studies, University of Ilorin, Dr Isiaka, urged citizens to be careful in their dispositions in order not to fall prey to criminals who often disguise as helpers or comforters.

She particularly appealed to students of the university and other institutions of higher learning across the nation to be meticulous in the display of affluence within and outside the shores of their campus as she explained that the various campuses might have been infiltrated by criminals who are profiling likely targets.

The renowned criminologist insisted that students are admitted to learn and not to impress their colleagues with wealth and, therefore, advised them to always be moderate in the quality of their dresses, ornaments and telephones they use so as not to attract criminals who disguise as colleagues.

Dr Isiaka also urged staff and students, particularly the female ones, to avoid asking for free rides from anyone they do not know, saying that such individuals may be criminals who are in search of prey that may be used for rituals.

The don appealed to the Federal Government to swiftly address and arrest the nation’s dwindling economy as she said that for as long as the nation’s economy is in comatose crimes and criminality would continue to be the order of the day.

She specifically insisted that something urgent must be done by the government and other employers of labour to ensure that the wages payable to workers are reflective of the current economic situations.

Dr Isiaka insisted that security is the business of everyone and that everybody must take his or her security very important, saying that if that happens the entire nation would be secured.

When the monarch’s widow regained freedom

It was such a cheering news to residents of the state far and near when they learnt on Tuesday morning that security agents had succeeded in arresting 13 kidnap suspects in connection with the murder of Olukoro of Koro, just as the Kwara monarch’s widow also regained her freedom.

A joint operation, comprising the Police, military, Directorate of the State Security (DSS), vigilante/hunters in Kwara State, rescued the widow of the slain traditional ruler and arrested 13 kidnap suspects.

In a statement issued early Tuesday morning, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state command, Toun Ejire-Adeyemi, said that the rescue of the wife of the late monarch and one other was successfully effected at about 10:30 pm on Monday.

“Kwara State police command wishes to update the good people of Kwara State on the case of assassination of the Olukoro of Koro Kingdom, late Oba Olusegun Aremu-Cole, who was gruesomely murdered in his palace on February 1, 2024.

“In the course of investigation, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun, approved the deployment of a police chopper for aerial surveillance. This is to help comb the forest/boundary between Kwara and Ekiti states.

“A joint operation comprising the Police, military, Directorate of the State Security (DSS), vigilante/hunters who tirelessly combed the forest yielded positive results. This operation led to the successful rescue of the wife to the late monarch and one other at about 22:30hours of 05/02/24.

“The rescued kidnap victims have been re-united with their families, hale and hearty.

“The operation also led to the arrest of 13 male suspects who are presently in custody.

“These suspects are undergoing vigorous interrogation with a view towards aiding the arrest of members of the gang at large.

“Meanwhile the Commissioner of Police, CP Victor Olaiya remains resolute, maintaining his stand that the perpetrators of this dastardly act will face the full wrath of the law. He further urges the public to be calm and security conscious as they go about their daily activities without fear or anxiety.”


Tribune Online