Barely 72 hours after the killing of an Islamic cleric in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, police said that no masquerade participant was arrested in connection with the incident. Parading "Oje" chiefs yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikemefuna Okoye said the command did not arrest any masquerade, though he confirmed that three persons had been arrested in connection with the murder.
An "egungun" festival in Ijaiye-Abeokuta ended on a sad note on Sunday with the shooting of an Islamic cleric, Lateef Saliu, which led to his death.
Okoye explained that the late cleric was shot on the left shoulder by an adherent of the masquerade.
According to him, the masquerade followers were following a masquerade along Ijaiye area of Abeokuta, which later resulted to the death of the Alfa.
While disclosing that the command had started investigations of the incident, he added that three suspects had been arrested. He gave the name of the suspects as Shittu Adeyemi, 61, Waidi Babalola, 64 and Ajani Olabimtan, 40.
Babalola, the Balogun Oje of Ijaiye and Aare Oje of Egbaland, who is currently being detained at the police headquarters, said they knew nothing about the killing.
"I’m a commercial driver, but I have stopped it since my eye problem began. I live in Ota but I actually hail from Ijaiye community and I am also a chief there. I am the Balogun Oje of Ijaiye.
"Three days ago, the Alapinni Ijaiye came to tell me that a crime had been committed; that supporters of 'Leyin Aponle' had shot one person. I was quick to add that we have warned the boy not to participate in the festival again.
"Shortly after, we learnt that some Muslims had started burning the family house of Kassim. We went to report the matter to Alapinni Egba as well as the Oluwo Ibara who is our president. We were told to meet Alapinni Egba at Oke Itoku Police Station.
"We got there and were asked to proceed to Eleweran. But on getting to Eleweran, the police said the Alapinni of Ijaiye and I could not go because we were suspects. But we said we are peacemakers and actually wanted to report the matter. Kassim Dada (who bore the 'Leyin Aponle' mask) used to come from Lagos and we don’t know his whereabouts now," he lamented.