Fear has gripped residents of Ajapa, a riverine community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, over unconfirmed reports that the Nigerian military’s high command had authorized an invasion of the town in search of armed militants.
Afraid of being caught in the military onslaught, most residents of the community have reportedly taken precautionary measures, according to sources there. The two sources told our correspondent that many residents had fled, adding that some of the panicked residents had relocated to forested or swampy areas for fear of being killed in a military operation.
However, the Ajapa Development Union (ADU) has blamed a private security outfit in the riverine area as responsible for the palpable tension in the community. ADU leaders alleged that operatives of the private security outfit, which had a consultancy agreement with the last PDP government in the state, were openly boasting that Ajapa would be leveled in a matter of days.
In a statement issued in the Ondo State capital, Akure, and signed by chairman and secretary, Akpoebi Ajuesi and Nathaniel Kurokimifate, the ADU expressed dismay that the planned invasion was being hatched on the basis of fake and fictitious reports concocted and disseminated by the security outfit.
"With the active connivance of some moles within the military, the security organization has infiltrated the security and intelligence system of the country to the extent that an unsuspecting military high command now relies on such.”
"As a community, we have relentlessly condemned criminality under whatever guise. We have also expressed our displeasure and total disdain for all acts that undermine national security, communal harmony, and general insecurity.”
"We are sad to inform the world that based on the threatening reports being spread by operatives of the private security outfits that Ajapa would be wiped out in a matter of days, residents of the community are already fleeing to the bush and other swampy areas. This avoidable bloodletting in the making can be stopped and innocent lives saved in this regard."
“The latest plan by the military can only be described as a product of mischief orchestrated by the hegemonic tendency of an individual whose desire is to wipe out an entire community, hiding under the guise of pursuit of peace. This is indeed a regrettable manifestation of conflict entrepreneurship,” the group further stated.