Bounce Exclusive: Count Us Out Of Ijegun Killings - OPC
Downhearted, desolate and dejected.
These words best describe the atmosphere at Ijegun, a suburb of Lagos state. Residents speak in hush-tones and their countenance reflects fear and helplessness.
No one wishes to speak about the clash or the havoc it left in its wake. They are desperate to move and pretend like it never happened.
But their eyes show they are crying on the inside. They are nursing their physical, psychological and financial losses.
The events of Monday - April the 24th - remains a mystery to many - they are in search of the truth.
The Odua Peoples’ Congress, OPC has denied involvement in the violence that rocked the community leaving three people dead and several others injured.
Bounce News gathered that trouble broke out in the early hours of Monday between Hausas, who are majorly scavengers and security operatives (including the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps) who were deployed to protect pipelines in the area.
There are allegations that some of the operatives tried to extort the scavengers which led to the violence.
According to some of the residents who spoke to Bounce News on condition of anonymity, hell broke loose when those identified as men of the civil defense authority came around and started evacuating the Hausa-Fulani's from their houses.
"It all started very early in the morning, this security people guiding the pipeline were chasing the Hausa people out of their house and they were even flogging them in the process.
"It was then that the Hausa men in that area revolted and fought back and this led to a bloody battle which resulted to the death of five person's and properties worth thousands of naira burnt down including two NNPC patrol vans", an eyewitness said.
Speaking exclusively with Bounce News, the OPC coordinator for the Ikotun, Igando axis Taiwo Famuyiwa said some of those indicted in the fracas are not registered members of the group.
"We are not part of the killings; those boys that they are pointing at are no longer our members. You remember that we were the ones protecting some of these pipelines before and when we stopped, the new people recruited some of our now former members to help them.
"It is those people that they are saying are our members," he explained.
Famuyiwa adds that the OPC have receive information that the Hausas are planning an attack on their office which he says will be vehemently resisted.
"We hear that they are planning to attack our offices and that we will not allow that. All our members have been put on alert, so they should know that we are ready for them".
At the palace of the traditional ruler of Ijegun, Oba Nureni Akinremi; Bounce News was told that he has been in meetings with leaders of the community to restore peace and order.
Though the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the police are stationed to forestall further breakdown of law and order, most businesses are yet to open for business as the time of filing this report.