Guns and Blood in Ibadan
By: Deji Yesufu
Yesterday, there were guns blazing in Ibadan and there was blood everywhere. It is no longer news that a bullion van was attacked by armed robbers in the early afternoon yesterday at the Idi-ape junction connecting major parts of Ibadan, including Agodi-Gate, with other parts of Ibadan, like Iwo road and Basorun. What might be news to you is how it all happened.
The Seyi Makinde-led government of Oyo State has, since inception, embarked on a rapid completion of major road construction in Ibadan that were commenced by the outgoing Abiola Ajimobi government. The most prominent of these roads has been the Basorun-Akobo road. Akobo is a residential area of Ibadan and might be the most inhabited parts of the town – at least for middle income earners. The state government therefore provided a double carriage way through that part of the town, which still leads to other fast developing parts of the town and has made transportation quite easy for the people living on those axis. To curb the excessive speeding of motorist, particularly the ever-present Micra drivers, the state government only recently provided traffic lights to major junctions in Ibadan. It is those traffic lights that turned out to be the waterloo of the drivers of the bullion van that was attacked yesterday.
Eye witness accounts has it that it all begun around 1pm in the hot afternoon. The bullion van conveying money to a nearby bank, had pulled up to the traffic light and was forced to wait because a few vehicles in front of them had stopped. A few seconds to the light glowing green, armed men wearing police uniform and having their faces masked, emerged from a Sienna vehicle, and opened fire on the bullion van. At first they shot into the air to scare away people but subsequently they began to shoot at occupants of the van. After this, they moved towards the bullion van, broke open its safe and carted away the money that was being conveyed.
In the wake of the attack, Vanguard reports that three policemen and four other persons were killed. Because quite a number of people were stationed around the bullion van, inside the traffic, it was easy for stray bullets to hit them. It is not known how many people were injured but quite a number of them were subsequently taken to the University College Hospital (UCH) for treatment.
Ibadan is a sleepy civil-servant town in South-west, Nigeria. It is generally believed that there is no money here. The last time we had this type of gangster-type robbery must have been no less than ten years ago and it was almost at the same spot: when the Intercontinental Bank, situated at Idi-ape junction, was robbed. Many people have complained about the inability of law enforcement agents to curb these kinds of robberies. Just about two hundred meters from Idi-ape, there is the Testing Ground, where a central police station is located. The place is also a residential quarters for the police. A few meters away from the point where the bullion van was robbed, is the officer’s mess for the Nigerian army. In the space of about half an hour when this robbery was ongoing, there was practically no resistance from any law enforcement personal in that area.
Ibadan saw guns yesterday and the streets of the town was littered with the blood and bodies of the innocent. The people who witnessed the carnage saw nothing less than a war situation. Some of us resident here are thankful to mark ourselves safe from the attack; unfortunately, a number of other people were not so lucky.