•Residents beg police for intervention
By Taiwo Jimoh
Palpable tension has taken over Ibafo-Ishefun community at Ibafo in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, following rape attacks on teenage girls by a group referred to as ‘Ishefun Boys.’
For reasons yet unknown, these boys seem to derive sadistic pleasure in gang-rape. It was learnt that some ladies, who had been gang raped, have relocated from the community.
One of the raped victims, a 17-year-old girl, who gave her name simply as Toyin, told our correspondent that she was returning from an errand on July 16, 2019, when the boys jumped on her. The time was about 9p.m.
Toyin said that the boys were five in number. They accosted and dragged her into an uncompleted building and took turns to rape her.
It was learnt that aside from Toyin, other girls had been raped by the hoodlums, who have taken control of the community.
Another girl, 16-year-old, who is an apprentice fashion designer, was attacked and dragged into the bush by five boys just as she was returning from work.
She said: “When I got to Ishefun Junction, two of the hoodlums ordered me to stop. Since I didn’t have any business with either of them, I continued walking. Before I knew what was happening, three other boys came out of the bush. They dragged me into the bush. I couldn’t scream; my mouth was covered with a piece of cloth. When they were through, I couldn’t walk. It was after 20 minutes, that a cyclist, who happened to be a member of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), rescued and took me to our house.
“I was rushed to hospital, where I spent two weeks. As I’m speaking with you, none of the hoodlums have been arrested. We reported the matter at Ibafo Police Station. Some elders in our community went to the place where those boys live, but they were not there. It seems they have relocated out of the community. Some of them are at Shote village, a neighbouring community. I learnt three other girls were also raped.”
Again, another girl was alleged to have been raped in the presence of her parents at Shote community.
A resident, Mrs. Dupe Shotayo, said: “We’re under siege! The hoodlums, who call themselves ‘Ishefun boys,’ have taken over our community. We can no longer send our girls on errand at night. If you do, they would gang-rape them. One fateful day, the hoodlums attacked a 16-year-old girl. I was in my room with my husband when I heard her screaming for help. But because of the fear these boys have created in our minds, whenever we hear a call for help, nobody dares go out to help.
“Unfortunately, where the incident occurred was an isolated area. The hoodlums terrorising the community are teenagers between ages 16 and 18. Some of them were brought from Lagos State into the community by their parents. They came to hide in the community in attempt to evade arrest, after committing crime in Lagos. They are now causing havoc here.”
A widow in the community, who also wished to be anonymous, said: “The leader of the hoodlums, called Ibrahim, lives with his sister. It’s that house he and other boys use as their assembly ground. They always assemble between 10p.m. and 11p.m., when most people are resting. It is also at that hour they would start smoking Indian hemp.
“Whenever they are smoking their Indian hemp, nobody dares to confront them. Anyone, who dares, would regret the day he or she was born. They would attack and beat the person. Ibrahim was brought from Lagos to settle in Ibafo, because of the crime he committed. Unfortunately, when he got to our community, he became more hardened to the extent that he was made the leader of the hoodlums.
“I heard that one of the hoodlums was making advances at the girl, she turned him down. Out of annoyance, one of the hoodlums mobilised his colleagues. They went to the girl’s parents’ house and forced their way in. They took turn to rape her in the presence of her parents.
“That is what we have been battling with in this community. Nobody dares to confront the hoodlums because they always walk in group. Whenever they commit any crime, they would disappear and then return to the community after the dust has settled. Out of shame, three of the girls relocated out of the community to Lagos. Aside the gang-rape, these boys are also into looting of people’s shops at night.”
Another resident, Mr. Ogunbodede Adebisi, alleged that the police were also contributing to the problem in the community.
He said: “Whenever we go to the Ibafo Police Station to report the activities of these boys, the police would arrest and then release them to the community. The boys will return, emboldened, and continue in their evil trade. This is why I said police are contributing to the problem. Sometimes, we would be resting in our houses and we would suddenly hear the sound of people running for safety. If not because of the property I have in this community, I would have moved out of this community to a safer place.”
In his reaction, the Ibafo Coordinator of OPC, Chief Rasaki Adebisi, said as a security-oriented organisation, his members were going to look into the matter and work with the community to flush out the hoodlums.
He said: “In fairness, nobody has informed me about the incident, but I knew that there are some bad boys in the community; we are going to work with the police to clear the area.
“We are going to work with our members in the area who rescued the raped girl to locate the hideout of the hoodlums, arrest them and handed them over to the police.”
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, neither picked his nor responded to text message sent to him to confirm the incident.