Lagos State Police Command has launched a manhunt against a community leader “Baale” Odumade/Solumade Phase 2, Igbogbo/Bayeku, Ikorodu, Safarudeen Odumade.
Odumade is being hunted by the police for allegedly beating a truck pusher, identified as Abdullahi Mohammed, to a coma.
The traditional ruler was said to have summoned the victim after he passed his palace, and failed to pay obeisance to him as demanded by culture.
It was revealed that Mohammed, however, ignored the Baale and continued with his journey.
He was said to have pursued the victim and beaten him to stupor.
The younger brother of the Baale, who is also reported to have fled the area, was alleged to have joined in beating the victim till he passed out.
A resident, Bisi Odunuga, said Hausa friends of the victim threatened a showdown with the Baale before the intervention of a police officer.
She said, “The man was pushing his truck from Bayeku to Igbogbo on Wednesday. When he got to Ilado, the acting Baale beckoned to him to pay obeisance to him, but he ignored him and continued on his way.
“The Baale was upset and chased the truck pusher. He then engaged him in a fight.
“One of the younger brothers of the Baale, who stood afar observing the incident, later joined in the fight and assisted his brother to beat up Mohammed.
“By this time, the scene had turned rowdy and a crowd formed around the place. Some of the victim’s friends quickly mobilised themselves and joined to avenge the assault on their friend.”
The resident said a policeman, who was repairing his vehicle by the roadside, decided to make peace and urged that Mohammed should be taken to a hospital for treatment.
By Thursday, news was said to have filtered in that the victim was dead, prompting his friends to mobilise the second time to unleash havoc on the suspect’s office, which was under construction.
The men, who were said to be armed, reportedly chanted solidarity songs as they threatened a showdown.
It was gathered that the situation almost degenerated into an ethnic clash, but for the intervention of policemen from the Igbogbo division who dispersed the rioters.
It was later discovered that Mohammed was alive.
A woman, who claimed to have spent only a few months in the community, said there was still tension in the area.
She said, “I originally did not know what happened until a relative of mine called and said we should be careful with our movement in the community because of what the Baale did. I was also told that the police had increased surveillance in a bid to capture the Baale, so we are all being careful.”
The lawyer for the Odumade family, Gabriel Orban, told newsmen that he had not been able to reach the family to be briefed on the details of the case.
He, however, described the Baale as peaceful and said the allegations were false.
He said, “I have not been privileged to meet the Baale to know what actually transpired. I have only heard in rumours that there was a misunderstanding that resulted in a fight. I can’t say whether the Baale was involved.
“I have related with the Odumade family members for years and I can vouch for their virtuous behaviour and peaceful coexistence with their neighbours.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident.
She said, “The police are on the trail of the Baale over the fracas that broke out after it was reported that he seriously assaulted a cart pusher named Abdullahi Mohammed. Fracas broke out in the community when news filtered in that Mohammed was dead.
“The police from Igbogbo division swung into action, but upon investigation it was discovered that the victim was still alive. He is being treated at a private hospital in the area, while the Baale is still at large.”
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