• As Oba Elemoro survives second palace invasion in six months
By Tope Templer Olaiya,
Assistant Lagos City Editor
WHEN on Tuesday, November 26, Governor Babatunde Fashola handed over the new Area ‘C’ Surulere police command headquarters to the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Cornelius Aderanti, it was hope reignited for residents of Ibeju Lekki, who are desperately waiting on the governor to extend similar gesture to their area and save them and their monarch from constant harassment of armed bandits terrorizing Elemoro and neighbouring communities in Ibeju Lekki.
The three-storey building situated on Funsho Williams Avenue, Surulere, has almost all the facilities the police need to carry out their activities effectively. The facilities include CCTV, forensic room, finger print room, interrogation room with cameras, camera office, communication equipment, gym, area commander’s quarters, separate and modern male and female cells, among others.
In his address at the event, Fashola said the state government is building five of such building but three would soon be completed. The three area commands nearing completion are Area ‘J’ in Elemoro, Area ‘M’ at Idimu, and Area ‘L’ in Ilashe area of the state.
For the thousands of citizens residing at Elemoro and environs, their last hope for a lasting peace is the commissioning of the Area ‘J’ police divisional command to scare away hoodlums that are ceaselessly disrupting their solitude and had desecrated their monarch’s palace twice in two months.
The spate of insecurity at the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos worsened recently when the notorious activities of land-grabbers, popularly known as Ajagungbales sent shivers down the spines of residents in another botched assassination attempt on the traditional ruler of Oke-Odo Elemoro Land, Epe, Oba Tajudeen Adebanjo Elemoro.
Last week’s invasion of the monarch’s palace makes it the second time in six months that armed men would break into the palace at midnight in frenetic search for the Oba. The first attack took place on May 10, 2014.
On Tuesday morning, at some minutes past 12 midnight, the armed men numbering 10, broke a section of the palace fence to gain entry before announcing their arrival with several sporadic shots into the air. Gunshots were also used to breakdown the iron-cast gate of the palace leading to the private quarters of the monarch.
The rattled king, who now fears for his life, is making a desperate call to the state government to come to the rescue of the community and the palace and address the insecurity challenges in the area by first, stationing an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) in Elemoro and environs, and more importantly, activate the Area ‘J’ command to increase police presence, as according to him, the present state of insecurity is beyond the small-unit police station at Elemoro.
In a chat with The Guardian in his palace, Oba Elemoro said his life and that of his chiefs and subjects are in extreme danger. “On November 24, at midnight, these armed bandits made the second attempt on my life in six months. I was peeping from where I was hiding inside the house. I was not alone; I was with some little ones, while my younger brother, Isila Elemoro, and his family was downstairs.
“I saw some known faces among them numbering 10. They shot severally at the door, but they didn’t succeed in entering the house. They said, God save me, that if they had seen me, they would have wasted the Kabiyesi of Elemoro. It was then they went back. I know them; they are based in Oko Olomi. I can’t mention names as the father of everyone here, but if the police arrest them, I would be able to identify them,” he said.
Highlighting the gravity of the invasion, Elemoro noted that it is a taboo for the king to be slain on the throne, especially in Yorubaland. “An Oba should not run away from the stool of his fathers. It has never happened in modern times. For some hoodlums to be confronting me with weapons and guns in my private residence is really scary. Moreso, election is coming and the hoodlums may begin to kidnap people very soon and people would mistake it for political violence.
“This is the second attempt and it is being traced to a woman who is challenging my kingship. I have never heard of where a lady has been crowned king in any part of Yorubaland, yet there is an usurper claiming to be king in some communities under my division. Her name is Toyin Eleku from Oko Olomi.
“She lied that it was the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade who crowned her but when the Ooni heard of it, he made a rebuttal in a Punch newspaper dated April 9, 2014 on page 69 that there is no part of Yorubaland where any woman has been honoured with a crown.
“He even went further in the statement signed by Alhaji Saka Awojoodu, the traditional secretary of the Royal Court of Ife, to state that such impostor should be arrested and prosecuted. Since then, she has been declared wanted and has gone into hiding.”