Security officers in the convoy of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, were claimed to be behind the indiscriminate shooting that occurred in Old Garage area, Osogbo on Monday, according to the Osun State Police Command.
As the convoy traveled past the Old Garage to the Oke Fia neighborhood of the state capital, gunshots were heard, sparking panic among the people.
According to the command’s spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, personnel from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Correctional Service, and Nigeria Immigration Service in Aregbesola’s convoy shot without provocation at the Old Garage and the MDS in the metropolis as the convoy passed through the area on Tuesday.
After the minister’s convoy had left the area, 13 bullet shells were retrieved, according to Opalola, who also said the firing sparked panic.
The statement read in part, “Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola was moving in the convoy of personnel of the NSCDC, Correctional Service, Immigration, as well as some unidentified armed people suspected to be political thugs along the Orisumbare/MDS Road, Osogbo.
“Suddenly, some of the security escorts of the minister started shooting sporadically in the air without any provocation or attack, thereby causing members of the public to scamper to safety. Thirteen empty shells of G-3, assault, and AK-47 rifles were recovered along the road after the minister’s departure. No casualty was, however, recovered.”
However, the NSCDC’s state command announced in a separate statement that security officers thwarted a hoodlum attack on the ex- governor convoy.
A statement by the spokesperson for the NSCDC in the state, Olabisi Atanda, said, “Unknown hoodlums attacked the convoy of the former governor of Osun State and Minister, Federal Ministry of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, today (Monday) at about 6.40 pm around the Old Garage area in Osogbo, the state capital.
“However, the security details of the minister were able to disperse the hoodlums and bring normalcy to the area.
“Commandant Emmanuel Ocheja said Osun State is a peaceful state and the command will continue to render excellent and all-inclusive security services in the state in line with the statutory mandates and functions of the corps. Professionalism and impartiality is the watchword of the NSCDC at all times.”
Meanwhile, several members of the National Association of Osun Students invaded the state command headquarters of the NSCDC on Tuesday, waving placards in protest of the alleged indiscriminate shooting by its soldiers in Osogbo on Monday.
Armed men at the entrance to the premises in the Oke Ayepe district of Osogbo, however, blocked the demonstrators, led by NAOSS President Mr. Moshood Yusuf, from entering the headquarters.
Yusuf, who later submitted a petition to the state command addressed to the NSCDC Commandant-General, told journalists that operatives implicated in Monday’s shooting must be identified and punished.
He said, “We have noted the abuse of the NSCDC men and officers in recent political outings of the minister in the state, where several records of attacks and gun duels occurred and spearheaded by the NSCDC officers, but it reached its peak on Monday, February 14, 2022, when the entire state capital was thrown into panic by the hooded NSCDC officers, who were shooting indiscriminately at the popular Orisunmibare Market in Osogbo.
“The dangerous dimension is that most of the personnel had no identity cards and they covered their faces, which called to question if they are genuine NSCDC officers or clothed political thugs. The Osun State Police Command’s preliminary report confirmed several empty magazines of assorted rifles; this is condemnable and unacceptable to us as stakeholders in the Osun project and we cannot continue to folds our arms until the situation degenerates beyond this level, hence, we call for the intervention of the national headquarters of the NSCDC to safe our souls.
“We decided to escalate this matter to your office because we have it on good authority that most of the personnel are also drawn from neighboring states and if a security apparatus with the constitutional responsibility of protecting the people is now at the peak of political violence against the citizens, it calls for serious concern.
“We, however, demand the investigation of the NSCDC officers involved in Monday’s indiscriminate shooting in Osogbo and punishment in accordance with the relevant law of the NSCDC for public disturbance and threat to public peace.”
In response to claims that his men were engaged in the shooting, Ocheja called for calm, saying that the youth should not allow politicians to use them to destabilize the state’s tranquility, and that he would always try to maintain it.