Gunmen storm Olubadan palace, shoot sporadically

Akinade Adepoju
Akinade Adepoju
Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji

Five gun-toting men riding in a bus stormed the palace of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji on Monday, shooting sporadically into the air to scare people who were at the palace to witness the installation of some village heads (baales).

Thera has been tension in the ancient city since the state government installed 21 Obas, among them the high chiefs of the Olubadan.

The monarch and one of the nine surviving high chiefs, the Osi Olubadan, former Governor Rashidi Ladoja, opposed the crowning of the obas.

Ahead of Monday’s installation, the high chiefs urged the Olubadan not to go ahead with the “unilateral decision” taken “without any meeting of the Obas-in-council to determine the suitability or otherwise of such persons.”

They described the appointments as “illegal”, stating that they had petitioned the Olubadan on the matter and also informed the government. Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy matters Z.O. Jayeola asked the Olubadan to suspend the plan.

A notice of discontinuation of the installation was pasted on the wall of the palace but the Olubadan did not bulge.

However, the monarch went ahead to install the Baales and Mogajis, with his media adviser, Adeola Oloko, saying the monarch “needs no approval of anybody” to install Baales. He added that the installation was long overdue “as the families of those to be installed today have submitted their names over five months ago.”

Only two of the four baales (village heads) scheduled to be installed showed up at the event. The Baale of Lagelu, Aboke Village, Lagelu Local Government Area, Sayeed Aderemi Alatise and the Baale of Adigun Village, Ona Ara Local Government, Taye Makinde Aikomo, were installed.

The Baale of Baba Odi Village, Ido Local Government, Tajudeen Oladejo Babaode, and the Baale Oyedeji Ojo Aro Town, Akinyele Local Government, Pa Ezekiel Akinboade Ojedeju, were absent.

As the ceremony was going on inside the palace at Popoyemoja, the gunmen drove in.

Eyewitnesses said the five men rode in a white Sienna Toyota bus with an open roof. One of the gunmen was said to have shot into the air. Others reportedly shot through the vehicle’s windows.

The sources said the gunmen wore black clothes and tied red aprons on their heads.

A former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Chief Sharafadeen Alli, Asiwaju Babatunde Yusuff and Adedokun Ayobami , all of them inside Alli’s Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicle marked LAGOS EPE 447 ER, had a close shave with death. The gunmen fired at the car, boring big holes on its side.

Alli, who is the Asaaju Balogun Olubadan, was approaching the palace in his car from Oke Ado. Less than 15 metres to the entrance of the palace, the gunmen approaching from the Beere end abruptly stopped and started shooting in the air and at Alli’s vehicle.

Also damaged was a Honda Civic car marked Lagos GGE 690 CU belonging to Princess Iyabo Adeyemi, Ladoja’s wife’s sister. She was not inside the car when it was attacked in front of the mosque beside the palace where it was parked among several other cars.

Three reporters covering the event – Olufemi Atoyebi, Demola Babalola and Jeremiah Oke – docked inside a culvert to avoid being hit by bullets.

The hefty private security guards manning the entrance gates took to their heels.

Many of the guests seated in the palace were initially unaware of the commotion outside as music blared. Seated were Senator Ladoja, and Senator Olufemi Lanlehin.

After the incident, a heavy security presence was noticed within the vicinity of the palace.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who was attending the State Executive Council meeting at the time of the incident, directed all security agencies to ensure that those responsible for the crisis were brought to book.

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