The Fulani leader, Iskilu Wakili, who was arrested by members of the Oodua People’s Congress and other security outfits in Kajola, Ibarapa area of Oyo State on Sunday, has denied having any links with kidnapping and other criminal activities in the area.
He described himself as a victim of kidnapping too, saying he had to pay millions of naira as ransom to kidnappers who abducted his sons sometime last year.
Ibarapa residents had accused Wakili of having links with kidnappers in the area. He has also been consistently accused of being a leader of armed Fulani herders who attack farmers and destroy their farmland in the Ibarapa axis.
However, speaking at the state Criminal Investigation Department, Ibadan on Monday, Wakili claimed he had been ill for some time and that it made him faint several times after his arrest.
He said he had just returned from a hospital in Cotonou, Benin Republic and was taking a nap when OPC members invaded his home.
Wakili alleged that the OPC members set his house on fire and killed a woman in the process.
He said: “Sometime last year, two of my children were kidnapped and I paid millions of naira as ransom before they were released. I am not a kidnapper.
“Two days after my return from the hospital (in Cotonou, Republic of Benin), I was lying down because I was ill and suddenly some women came and started shouting that armed OPC men had come looking for me.
“I asked them to flee but I could not run because I was sick. Two men later came and picked me from where I was lying down, they threw me in their vehicle naked. I fainted many times before they drove me to the police station in Igbo-Ora. From there, we were taken to State CID, Ibadan.
“I am not a criminal; my children are not criminals. I don’t know anything about kidnapping or any crime. I have many cows and I know they stray into farms at times but I don’t have criminal records anywhere and this can be investigated. After they took me away from my home, a woman, Tande, was killed.”
Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, who also confirmed Wakili’s trip to the Republic of Benin, said Wakili was taken to hospital after he was handed over to them by OPC members.
She said: “I keep telling you to stop giving ethnic colouration to crime. The question is this, was there any crime committed? It is not a question of whether they were Yoruba and Ibo.
“They had been trying to arrest Wakili. They said they arrested Wakili and two others. But the issue is that as the OPC people left, they set the camp on fire and shot a woman in the stomach. Her intestines gushed out and the woman died. That was basically what happened on Sunday.
“My appeal is that we should all come together to fight crime. Give us credible information. Anybody who has a complaint against Wakili, this is the best time to lodge complaints so that he can be investigated. Wakili is in the custody.”