One of the members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Oyo State, Mutiu Rasheed, who was allegedly caught with a pump-action gun on the day the new governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde was being sworn-in, has told the police that the gun was meant for protecting a faction of the union.
Rasheed, who was among the 29 suspects arrested said to have allegedly made an attempt to take over motor parks by force, also said it was normal to sack the NURTW executive in power at the swearing-in of a new governor, so that a new one that has interest in the party the governor belongs comes on board.
The suspect made the statements on Monday at the police headquarters at Eleyele, Ibadan, when some suspected criminals were paraded by the state Commissioner of Police, Shina Olukolu.
Olukolu told the Tribune Online that the suspects were nabbed with guns, ammunition, charms and other weapons at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, during the inauguration of the new governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, last Wednesday, alongside those arrested for allegedly trying to take over motor parks in parts of the state after the inauguration.
Olukolu said a team of the command’s Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) detailed at the entrance of the stadium accosted some hoodlums, and in the process of conducting a search on them, guns, ammunition, weapons and charms were recovered.
The police commissioner said the 14 suspects had planned to use the weapons, which included a pump-action gun, a locally-made double-barreled gun, a single-barreled gun, seven live cartridges, one cutlass, two knives and charms, to cause mayhem during the inauguration.
The second group of NURTW members, the Commissioner of Police said, were arrested after a member of the union, one Dauda Adisa, reported to the police that after he left the venue of the inauguration to his Orita Challenge Motor Park, with the state chairman, Alhaji Abideen Ejiogbe, hoodlums in two Micra taxi cabs, three buses and a Previa car shot into the air and used cutlasses on members at the motor park.
“The complainant said he could identify two of the hoodlums, who were later arrested by the police.
“The hoodlums also made efforts to cause confusion at Idi-Arere, Bere, Orita Aperin, Muslim, Iwo Road and Eruwa motor parks, but they were arrested by a combined team of policemen, military and Department of State Security (DSS) officials,” Olukolu said.
While speaking with the Tribune Online, one of the hoodlums arrested at the stadium, Monsuru Oladejo (36), said they only went to the venue of the inauguration of the governor to celebrate with him and nothing more.
He said the weapons found with them were only for self-defence, “as members of the other faction had planned to attack us after the inauguration.
“Members of the other faction are planning everything to continue to stay in power, but we all know that as soon as a new government comes on board, the leadership of the union will also change. However, they were adamant and planning to resort to any means to consolidate their hold on power,” Oladejo said.
However, a member of the other group arrested, Tirisimiyu Adegoke (42), said they were at their garage working on Wednesday when police operatives came and arrested them.
He denied that they were moving about in a bid to take-over motor parks, saying they only wore T-shirts which bore the logo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the image of their leader, Alhaji Lamidi Mukaila, known as Auxiliary.
“We didn’t attempt any take-over of motor parks; in fact, we were working at our motor park at Eleyele when police operatives came to arrest us,” Tirisimiyu said.
Meanwhile, Olukolu said the suspects would be charged to court to answer questions on their alleged crimes.
The police also arrested suspected armed robbers, kidnappers, criminal receivers, impersonators, among others, while pledging to keep the state safe during the Eid-el Fitri celebrations.