Preliminary investigations by security operatives had revealed that the Ibadan kidnappers’ den at Soka has been in operation for about ten years. This was revealed by Oyo state Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Ndabawa at the end of the emergency meeting of Oyo State Security Council.
Addressing journalists after the meeting headed by the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhammed Ndabawa, stated that among others, preliminary investigations from the security agencies have revealed that the den of kidnappers and the activities of kidnap in the place now tagged Evil Forest, had been in existence since about ten years ago.
“From the information available so far, that place has been there for a very long time, perhaps about ten years. It was initially used by a construction company during the channelization of Ogunpa river and after then, the site was abandoned. We got information in the course of our investigation that government (previous and present) contacted the issue of picking lunatics and then reuniting them with their families. That thing (kidnapping) had been on but government was not aware of it,” he said.
He attributed the discovery to the prompt response of the state anti-crime unit, Operation Burst, which he said responded to a distress call of kidnap in the area which led to the discovery of a large number of captives and bones of human beings.
On what the security agencies had done so far since the discovery, Ndabawa said a team of policemen had been sent from the Force CID, Abuja with forensic pathologists.
“They were on site yesterday (Monday) and they will continue the site investigation before the demolition (of the make-shift structures at the site)” he said.
The Commissioner of Police said that the State Security Council, after its meeting, also decided to take some measures to ensure the security of lives and property in the state, aside the initial revocation of the C of O of the lands in the area done by the state government.
“Security agencies have been mandated now to identify all uncompleted buildings in the town and places of such nature so that if there is any occurrence of such nature, people should report to the security agencies to nip it in the bud,” he said.
Ndabawa said that so far, the police had rescued 42 lunatics from the streets after two of them had been killed by the mob.
“After that incident, so far the police have rescued 42 lunatics or presumed lunatics from the streets. So far, two people have been killed. Investigation, like I said, is ongoing and out of the so-called lunatics, two of them have confessed to be looking for human body (parts) but they are not yet related to the Soka incident,” he said.
On when the demolition and clearing of Soka would re-commence, Ndabawa said it will be soon.
“The demolition of that place will continue and be completed so that other miscreants will not use that place for another purpose,” he said.
Briefing reporters on behalf of the state government, the Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Mr. Toye Arulogun said that the state government had also decided to create a temporary shelter with medical personnel and other facilities to take care of (the lunatics) before they are re-united with their families.
“The Oyo State government has decided to establish a temporary site to accommodate the destitute that are rescued from the streets and who are in the custody of the police. That will also go for others as time goes on. This is an invitation and a clarion call to all NGOs, religious organizations who have some expertise in this area to join hands with government and collaborate with the state government on this project,” he said.
He said the state government was confirming the existence of NGOs and other service providers who were given the task of re-uniting destitute in the state with their families all over the country.