A man, identified as Sulaiman Tijani, was arrested on Wednesday at Soka forest where scores of decomposing bodies and body parts were discovered on Saturday.
Another man who appeared to be mentally ill was almost lynched by angry youths who descended on him at a point close to the site.
The police were, however, able to rescue him and whisk him away. The youths said he was pretending to be insane and could be one of the kidnappers who operated in the forest.
Tijani was apprehended by operatives of security agencies in the state and the Odua Peoples’ Congress, who were around while demolition exercise by the Oyo State Government was going on.
Tijani was coming from the forest, holding a polythene bag which he said contained sachets of juice. He said he usually picked up the juice from a refuse dump site beside a company located at the edge of the forest.
However, his explanation was faulted when he added that he was a poultry farmer in Ogun State.
He said, “I have a poultry farm. I use the juice to feed the birds in the farm which is located at Ijebu Ode.”
When it appeared that he had nothing more to say, he was whisked away by the police.
The man who appeared to be a lunatic was taken to Adeoyo State Hospital, Yemetu, Ibadan, but nurses were unable to say anything about his mental status, while police had yet to offer comment on his arrest.
Police stop demolition for forensic test
The demolition of buildings in the forest was, however, halted by the Oyo State Police Command, which insisted that a forensic evaluation of the land must be done before the exercise could go on.
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, had directed on Tuesday that buildings in the forest be demolished.
But a statement by Ajimobi’s Special Adviser on Media, Festus Adedayo, on Wednesday said forensic experts from the police would visit the site and carry out some evaluation on Thursday.
“Governor Ajimobi had hinged the demolition and the clearing of the forest on the request of the Soka Community to allow for visibility of the area. He also directed environmental health officers to fumigate the forest and the entire area to prevent outbreak of epidemics.
“Soon after the demolition began, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Ndabawa, called the Chairman of Oluyole Local Government, Mr. Ayode Abass-Aleshinloye, and informed him of the need to stop the exercise to allow the team of forensic experts from the police headquarters in Abuja carry out their investigations.
“Ndabawa said should the exercise be allowed to continue as earlier planned, concrete evidences that would help the police in their investigations would be destroyed,” the statement reads in part.
The statement added that the team of forensic experts would arrive in Ibadan on Thursday and complete their work on the same day, while the demolition would be completed by Friday.
Ibadan youths attack mad men
PUNCH Metro learnt that the discovery of the forest had heightened vigilance activities in Ibadan with youths suspecting every lunatic in the city.
The youths said the activities of kidnappers was aided by the fact that lunatics and destitute were once kept in the forest by the state government and after the project was rested, some people with bad intent capitalised on the existence of the forest and its location to carry out their evil acts.
A man, who claimed to be a youth leader, Bosun, said, “It is now clear that those men pretended to be mad, but the truth is that they were allies of the kidnappers.”
After the killing of a mad man at the Soka junction on Sunday by irate youths, another one was burnt to death on Wednesday in the Oke Ado area of Ibadan, while yet another was rescued by the police. A man suspected to be part of the mob was also arrested by the police.
At the Mokola area of the city, another mad man was rescued by the police from angry youths as he was about to be lynched. He was accused of feigning madness while his dreadlocks and inner wears were clean.
“He came to this area a week ago, but he is too well fed and neat to be considered a mad man. His dreadlocks were neat and well oiled, he had money on him and an ATM card,” said one of the youths.
At Queen Cinema area in the city, another man suspected to be a kidnapper was mobbed, but police also rescued him.
The Police Public Relation Officer, Olabisi Ilobanafor, who confirmed the cases, said N11,600, 42, SIM cards of various networks and three ATM cards were found on the man at Queen Cinema.