Nigeria: Federal Government Urged to Provide Better Security for Ife, Modakeke

3 June 2000

Lagos — Federal Government has been urged not to hesitate to draft soldiers to the war torn Ife/Modakeke zone not only to restore peace once and for all but to stop the unnecessary destruction of the lives of innocent, law abiding Nigerians passing through the area.

This call was made in Ibadan by Prince Frederick Obateru Enitiolorunoda Akinruntan, chairman/chief executive OBAT Petroleum yesterday at a press conference in Ibadan. Chief Akinruntan who miraculously escaped death when his car was attacked and perforated by bullets from the guns of aggrieved residents at Ife/Modakeke junction on Monday at about 9 in the morning, said he was still in shock.

“I had gone to honour an appointment with Ondo State Governor, chief Adebayo Adefarati on Sunday and the following morning, set out for Ibadan at about 7.30 a.m.” said Prince Akinruntan, an active member of Ondo State Ilaje Ese-Odo Conflict Resolution Committee. In his words, “just before we reached Ife, I noticed that there were no oncoming vehicles and this triggered some alarm in me.”

Continuing, “at the first checkpoint manned by Mobile Policemen, I asked them if it was safe to drive through Ife town to Ibadan and they said there was no problem, so we proceeded on our journey.”

“In all, there were five check points and the security men reassured us that the road was safe, as they all kept saying oga you can go.”

“But the feeling of uneasiness and the premonition of danger I earlier had, manifested just after we drove past Mayfair Hotel and Amicable Bank,” recalled the chairman of Riverine Petroleum Association.

Explaining how the attacked occurred, he said, immediately the Mobile Policemen manning the fifth check point asked us to proceed and we moved for about two seconds, I heard distinct sounds of gun shots.

“The shots came from Ondo road, from the Modakeke section and hit the left side of the car. I heard the first shot, then the second and subsequently shots followed rapidly. The bullets hit the car, broke the windscreens and perforated the body of the car,” Prince Akinruntan said looking worried.

“Unfortunately, the second shot hit my driver and he lost-grip of the wheel, but mustering courage, I had to psyche him up to enable us get out of danger. Although his hands were off the wheel, the car being automatic made the engine remain idle and it kept moving,” he said.

“But God rescued us for in the midst of the bullet rain, I kept asking the driver to manouvre this way, that way till we got further up to the gates of Obafemi Awolowo University,” (OAU).

“As all these were happening the mobile policemen abandoned the spot and disappeared, perhaps because they were not as equipped as the snipers.”

Meanwhile, the driver, Mr. Segun Ayibi, who sustained gunshot wounds beside the left eye where two bullets are lodged and on the left arm which is habouring six bullets is receiving treatment at the specialist unit of a hospital.

In Prince Akinrunatan’s words: “it is absolutely misleading to say that the Ife section of Ilesa/Ife Ibadan-road, a Federal Government road is safe Ife/Modakeke is still war zone. It is unsafe for Nigerians. Federal Government should immediately draft soldiers to this war zone to eradicate violence and stop unnecessary wastage of human lives.”

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