The Iba of Kisi in Irepo Local Government Area (LGA) of Oyo State, Oba Moshood Oyekola Lawal Arowoduye 11 has said that bandits, and "not terrorists" caused a problem for locals recently.
The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, had on Wednesday, claimed that armed terrorists occupied Kishi, a town North-West of Oyo State, and the Old Oyo National Park.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said the development portends great danger to the security of the South-West zone.
The statement indicated that the armed groups engaged in kidnapping and also destroyed the people’s means of livelihood and access to forest resources.
It read, “The reports range from ceaseless kidnapping, rape, and threat to lives of Yoruba people in the Oke Ogun area with Kishi as the present hub of terrorist attacks. It is my responsibility to alert the public and also the relevant authorities.”
But reacting to the media release by Aare Onakakanfo, Oba Lawal Arowoduye 11, who is 23 years on the throne, said although the recent attack was real, vigilante groups in collaboration with the Nigerian Army have fended it off. The king expressed his doubt about the criminals having any political aim.
"They are not terrorists. They are bandits. Had they been terrorists, it would be more than this," Iba Lawal Arowoduye 11 told AllNews exclusively via phone on Thursday morning.
"Truly, they came. But actually, Kishi town was not bombarded. It is the periphery of National Park (Old Oyo). Soldiers battled them. The matter was reported at the police station. It affected both Kishi and Igbeti because the National Park is between Kishi, Igbeti, and Ighoho.
"So, these three towns are affected. But the media report is exaggerated. They are like the bandits in Zamfara State.
"Obviously, we are up to the task. We've repelled them. The dwellers are now at peace. However, we [still] need government support.
"We are ready to defend ourselves. While our vigilante people were initially cautious was because we don't want some people to make it seem like Yorubas are killing Fulanis. We don't subscribe to politics.
"Some of the bandits could speak and understand Yoruba. That means they are people who have lived in our area and are conversant with the terrain."
The monarch continued:
"Our belief is that they are Fulani people. They are the ones that know the topography because they are most times in the bush.
"These are 'special Fulanis' because they are not Fulani residents with us. They are Malians. They are tough and trained."
"Security intelligence is aware of all these information," Oba Arowoduye 11, a trained Engineer stated.
"In fact, the Commissioner of Police [Nwachuku Enwonwu] came to our Command Area in Igbeti yesterday [Wednesday]. We were all there.
"We had a meeting with him. We discussed all these things. We told him facts. The Miyetti Allah were present at the meeting. The Miyetti Allah are even afraid of these bandits. They are very hefty, and their ammunitions are tough. But they are not terrorists.
"The intelligence officers have briefed the governor [Seyi Makinde]. I spoke with the CP [Commissioner of Police] one-to-one, and obviously, he should brief the governor. The government should be serious about it.
"They [the criminals] are moving towards Iseyin end now - through that forest. They’ve gone to Orelope LGA; Igbope end."
"This thing is repeating itself. 2014, they were there. We sent them out," Lawal Arowoduye 11 said.
"2016, we sent them out. This time, they look more deadly. Probably, they are those criminals from Zamfara. Because they are being pushed from the north, they are coming here.
"We had two or three casualties [dwellers], who are now in hospital. There were casualties from the side of the bandits too. But no death anyway."
Iba confirmed the kidnapping, citing a case reported at his palace on Wednesday. According to him, the bandits kidnap for ransom.
"They are really with us, here in South-West.
"These people are real bandits. Ordinary people cannot face them, they'll kill someone. They don't have any cattle. In fact, from our vigilante end, rough counting, they are more than 40 [that one I can confirm], with sophisticated bombs, AK 47.
"As of yesternight [Wednesday night], we've sent them packing. But they've gone to Orelope. And I know our soldiers and local vigilante will battle them there.
"They are moving either towards Ikoyi or Iseyin, because this forest extends up to Oyo town and even to Kwara state.
"I sense they are still in the forest. So our government has to double-up, to flush them out. They are well-trained. It's not easy to trump them."
Kisi (or Kishi) is a large town in Oyo State, Nigeria, located in the northern part of Oyo state and is the headquarters of Irepo LGA.
Kisi is an extension of old Katunga which was collapsed in the 18th century as a result of Jihad activity by the Hausa/Fulani of Ilorin, Kwara state.
The town, known as "the food basket of Oyo state" has a strong commitment to the economic advancement of Oyo state.