Last Saturday, there was a drama at Sonde Apon, a rural community in Ifo Local Government Area, Ogun State, as elder women staged a protest over the invasion of their community by hoodlums who are suspected to have been sent by land speculators from a nearby community. The invaders, numbering 20, were said to have stormed the community and unleashed terror on the residents.As it was learnt, the attackers stormed the community at about 11.30am, when many of the residents had already gone to work. The half-nakéd aggrieved women sang sorrowful songs and expressed disgust over the attack, describing it as one of the worst things that had happened to them, noting that it was thethird time in last three years.
The women expressed surprise that the hoodlums broke into their houses. Chief (Mrs.) Mopelola Losede, Iyalaje of Sonde Apon, narrated: "The invaders stormed the community with guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons, shot sporadically and broke into our houses and collected our money, food items and other things. They also attacked one of our children and inflicted serious injuries on him.
"Why is it that the same people are always attacking our community?
"The other time they attacked us, we petitioned the Inspector General of Police for actions to be taken against them, and nothing was done. Now they are at it again. How long should we continue to live in fear because of people, who are fighting to take our land by force?
"In fact, our lives are not safe. Governor Ibikunle Amosun and the police should come to save us, before the worst will happen."
Seriki of Sonde, Chief Olusegun Odefeinwa: "These people have always been coming to unleash terror on us. Their intention is to wipe us out and take over our land, which is not so easy to do.
"They came and started to break our houses, looking for whom to kill. As many of us have gone to work, they descended on our women. And when we heard that, we decided not to come home because the attack would have been deadlier. In fact, I returned after three days of running for safety and before then, they had already damaged our houses and carted away cash, food items and other materials."
Balogun of Sonde, Chief Gabriel Ogunsola: "When the attack was on, our youths were able to apprehend some of them. So, some other people and I went to report the matter at Agbado Police Station and the DPO sent some policemen to our village. They were arrested and brought to the police station. We were the ones that went to report the matter.
"But we were surprised that the matter was later changed and those arrested claimed that we were the ones that attacked their community. When the matter got to the Area Police Command at Sango, he ordered that I and other members of the community that went to report the matter should be detained. It did not end there, after granting us bail, he sent some armed policemen to raid our community and some other members of the community were arrested and taken to Zone 2 police headquarters Onikan, Lagos.
"Why is it that the case we reported at the police station was later turned against us? Does it not show that there is foul play somewhere?"
Baale of Sonde Apon, Chief Wasiu Ogunsola who was reportedly to be wanted by the police in connection with the incident said there was never a time the police declared him wanted: "I was shocked to have read in the newspapers that I am declared wanted by the police in connection with the incident. I am using this medium to tell the whole world that the police did not declare me wanted.
"I travelled before the incident and when my Council of Chiefs called and informed me what happened, I advised them not to fight back but should report to the police, which they did.
"We were the ones that went to call the police that we apprehended some hoodlums, and they followed us to effect the arrest. Now, they have changed the hoodlums that attacked our community to kidnap victims and accused me to have masterminding the attack on some workers at Ayegbe. In fact, it is not fair."
Ogunsola also refuted the statement by an Ayegbe leader that the parties involved in a land dispute signed a memorandum of understanding that the proceeds from the sales of about 287 acres of land would be shared: "There was no time such agreement reached. The power of attorney given to me on the said issue remains and has not been revoked. Anyone trying to encroach in our community land is a trouble shooter and greedy."