Officer Benson (not real name) woke up in Ijebu-igbo yesterday morning with no inclination that it would be his last. Serving his fatherland was all he wanted to do, and in doing that, he paid the supreme price. What is acutely distressing is that, he wasn’t in a hot pursuit of suspected criminals. He was just standing with another officer who is now in a critical condition as both of them were shot.
Officer Benson wasn’t aware that a political campaign had degenerated into a violent clash while he was standing in front of Amazing Grace Filling Station in Ijebu-igbo. According to our sources in the town, it was during the political campaign of embattled Senator Buruji Kashamu that the gun duel which has so far claimed six lives began. Senator Buruji Kashamu is the Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District, and is having a fair dose of political brouhaha already.
The shoulder upon which to lay the blame for these senseless killings is not the essence here. However, how deep gun proliferation has gone, and its security implications for the Ijebu environs and Nigeria by extension is of grave concern. According to one of our sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, “Members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) had hitherto been harassing members of the Eiye Confraternity who decided to resist and put a stop to it once and for all.”
What could probably have been resolved otherwise eventually led to the loss of young promising Nigerians. This included a bricklayer who was just trying to fend for his family. Harrowingly, the affected families will be left to lick their wounds all alone. Does Black lives matter to the Blacks? Although not giving justifications for what is happening in London, if we kill ourselves like animals in a game, how much more will the whites do? We are what we call ourselves to others.
What is more? The generally peaceful town of Ijebu-igbo, Ogun State has been turned into a ghost town following the unabated nerve-racking all-night gun battle. The people are naturally afraid of being caught up in vengeful crossfire of the feuding parties. Pictures taken today from the town showed empty streets, as there was no commercial activity. No commercial bike was also sighted in the town, as those stranded were given no choice but to stay wherever they were when the crisis started.
Though Senator Buruji Kashamu is said to be having his own political turbulence, he would definitely not want to add a mortal crisis to his already unattractive list. According to one of our sources, the killing of the officer Benson in the town might see angry officers seeking retribution on innocent young people in the town. This is suspected to be one of the reasons why the streets are empty.
Should there not be a law that would prescribe stiff punishment, and possible disqualification for politicians whose campaigns turn violent? One wonders what would have happened with the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-iwoye in session. The casualty could have risen geometrically, with female students possibly counting their losses by now if the crisis was not quickly nipped in the bud. There’s also a possibility that the crisis could have spread beyond Ijebu-igbo to other nearby towns such as Oru, Awa-ilaporu, and Ago-iwoye.
As campaigns are expected to gather swelling momentum, the security of lives and properties become of great concern. It should not be trivialized. Otherwise, how many towns will have to become ghost towns on the altar of political campaigns?