THE Ekiti State Security Network (ESSN), popularly called Amotekun, has offered clarifications on the circumstances surrounding a clash between some operatives of the network and some traders in a Hausa community in some areas of the state capital.
There was pandemonium in the Atikankan area of the city when operatives of the Corps had gone to the area to enforce a relocation order of the state government on Thursday, May 11
Reports had it that one of the traders was allegedly shot dead, while several Amotekun officers were said to have suffered injuries. It was also reported that the gun duel lasted several hours, as nearby traders and shop owners closed abruptly and scampered for safety.
Men of the Rapid Response Squad of the Nigerian Police force were later drafted to the area to restore normalcy.
However, in an interview with newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, May 14, the Corps Commandant, Joe Komolafe, denied that men of the ESSN deployed to enforce a government relocation order in the Atikankan area of the state fired shots at the traders.
According to Komolafe, the Network’s operatives met stiff resistance from the traders in the course of enforcing the relocation order of the state government.
He alleged that the traders attacked his operatives with dangerous weapons and injured them, while claiming ownership of the parcels of land in the area.
He explained that the government had informed the traders a month ago that they should vacate the place.
Komolafe said that some of the traders told his operatives that they were not going to leave the area because they had Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) and they had paid some money to some of the chiefs.
He explained that some chiefs held the land in trust for the government, and the traders could not stay there as it is government land.
He said that the government had made provisions at the Agric Olope area where state-of-the-art facilities had been put in place for the traders to relocate to.
“The following day, which was Thursday, my operatives went there to see the level of compliance to that instruction only to get there and discovered to our shock that these people had prepared for us attacking us with stones, some put nails on the sticks and other offensive weapons to attack my operatives.
“In the process, four of my operatives were seriously injured with deep cuts on their heads and bodies. One of them even lost his teeth. In the process, we heard some gunshots from the crowd,” he said.
Komolafe said that his men did not go there to use force on anybody but employed persuasion, but were shocked by the attitude of the traders.
He believed that hardened criminals who were hiding in the area orchestrated the resistance.
“They even went as far as holding one of my operatives hostage inside their den.
He said, “When it got to that level, Atikankan is a criminals den, I have no choice than to first go and rescue him, and secondly, I had to call policemen and other sister security agencies to our aid because Atikankan is notorious.
”If we had gone there to use force, the story would have been different but unfortunately we thought they would listen to our persuasion.”
On reports claiming fatalities from the fracas, the Amotekun boss said he was not aware of any.
He stressed that he had not seen any dead body, and nobody had brought any dead person to his attention.
Established in 2020 by the Southwest governors to combat growing insecurity in the region, the Corps have been accused by various stakeholders, including the Amnesty International, of human rights abuses.