The hope of cementing mutual working relationship between officers of the Nigerian Police and operatives of the Oyo State Security Network codenamed Amotekun Corps might have suffered a slight set as a police officer has allegedly shot at Amotekun operatives with one sustaining gunshot wound in Oyo state.
The incident, which happened around Gambari area in Surulere local government, was said to have been caused by friction in the area of operation between the two operatives.
The crisis was said to have started Friday when two Amotekun operatives in the area were detained by the police for allegedly arresting a herder whose cows strayed into a farm.
The Amotekun officers were said to have received a complaint from the farmer, which led to the arrest of the herder.
But when the case got to the police, they were said to have expressed anger, noting the Amotekun had no right to arrest any herder for whatever reason.
Instead, the Amotekun investigative officer handling the matter was arrested and detained by the police, a situation which made the leader of the Amotekun in the local government visit the police station with the hope of resolving the matter amicably.
But, things went frosty when the DPO angrily interrupted an interaction between the Amotekun leader and the Station guard, claiming to have heard the Amotekun officers threatening to kill all the police officers at the station.
He was said to have in angry snatched a gun and shot sporadically with a shot hitting one of the officers on his leg.
The officer was said to have been rushed to a medical facility in the area for medical attention.
Narrating the incident, the leader of the Amotekun Corps in the area, Mr Araoye Sikirulai, said: “Yesterday, some Amotekun officers arrested some Bororo herders, and instead of the Police to take over and detain the herders, they detained Amotekun officers.
“There was a complaint from a farmer that the herders invaded his farm with cows and that the farm was destroyed at Gambari area yesterday (Thursday). And we started our investigation into the matter.
“But, this morning (Friday) at around 10:30, we got persistent calls from one of our officers, named Jenyo, who was the one who went to arrest the Fulani herder that invaded the farm.
“He called to inform us that he has been arrested and being detained by the police and that he has not been released since yesterday but we told him to be patient and stay with them (police).
“But around 11am, he still told us that he was still with them there that he was detained. Two of them were detained named Jenyo and Olatunji Mayowa.
“Then we decided to go to the station. When we got there, Jenyo was allowed to come and talk to us outside, but one of our operatives that we went together was again arrested and detained for no just cause.
“The police accused us that we have no right to arrest any herder even after invading any farm, that it is only armed robbers that Amotekun are empowered to arrest and not herders that invade farmlands.
“About seven operatives from Surulere went to the police station.
“On getting to the station, the station guard that we met asked us to surrender our guns but I refused. Then I told all those who had guns with them to stay outside under the tree while those of us without arm would go inside to talk to the DPO.
“I engaged the station guard that I needed to see the DPO and where we were still talking, because I can’t even recognize the DPO, he just came out of the station in anger, saying he heard that we said we wanted to come and kill all the police officers, he just snatched a gun and as we were standing in a circle, he just started spraying the gun.
“We even thought he was only trying to scare us or that he was just joking until we saw that bullet had hit one of our men on the leg.
“We were seven standing there talking before the DPO rushed out and sprayed. Thereafter, we had to rush the personnel into the van, then they came back again to arrest another operative, took our motorcycle and then detain the officer.
“They also collected the gun from the operative and when they opened it, they saw it was empty because we went there without loading any of the guns in our hands.
“That was when they arrested Olarinde Ezekiah. He had already taken cover but they had to threaten him with gunshot before he stayed back and he was arrested.
“The police shot at least seven rounds before they got to him and caught him. He was not caught at the police station, because the moment the DPO started spraying the gun, some officers had given some spaced.
“So, he was pursued and arrested. They said they didn’t recognize us and that, what was it that we were doing?”
The State Commandant of Amotekun, Col Olayinka Olayanju (rtd) confirmed the incident.
He said “report from what happened in Surulere local government. Amotekun operatives from Surulere local government went to arrest Fulani, along the line, one of the Fulani called the police and the police came and arrested three officers.
“Immediately the information reached their coordinator and they went to the police station. The DPO didn’t even listen to them, he just started shooting our people.
“Unfortunately, one of the officers was shut in his leg. Immediately he was rushed down to the teaching hospital.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the police proved abortive as calls and messages sent to his line was yet to be returned as at the time of filing this report.