There was pandemonium yesterday at Oke-Ado area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, when two suspected factions of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) engaged each other in a battle of supremacy.
The police were said to have arrested 46 suspects in connection with the clash.
The clash led to the looting of some shops and destruction of property.
Residents of Oke-Ado, Oke-Bola, Imalefalaafia, Liberty Road and Anfaani Layout were thrown into chaos when the warring OPC factions shot sporadically into the air and brandished weapons as they unleashed mayhem on the residents.
The clash was between New Era faction of OPC and another group loyal to the Aare Gani Adams faction.
It was learnt that nobody was killed in the mayhem.
The crisis reportedly started on Sunday evening and continued till early yesterday.
Both groups had reportedly been mobilising their members since Sunday for the showdown.
Commercial and other economic activities around the area were paralysed as shops and homes were shut for business.
Vehicular and human movements were restricted while property in the market, estimated at millions of naira, were destroyed.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said a factional state chairman of OPC living in Oke-Ado Market area had a misunderstanding with some members of another faction at a party on Saturday.
The confrontation, the source added, continued till Sunday evening while the two factions attacked each other’s camp, deep into Oredein/Akuro area late Sunday night.
The source added: “Though there are several angles to the perennial crisis along Oke-Ado axis, this particular one is purely between two factional OPC groups: New Era and a faction loyal to Aare Gani Adams.
“At the weekend, a state chairman living around Oke-Ado went to a party and accused a member of the other faction of not paying homage to him. This accusation resulted in confrontation between the two groups, each justifying its stand.
“Surprisingly, on that occasion, the two factions used dangerous weapons to press home their demands. The New Era group seemed to have the upper hand. So, at the weekend, the other group unleashed terror on the New Ear group, hitting them down to Oredein, Akuro down areas. As I learnt, early this morning, the New Era group took the war to the state chairman’s domain.
“But the attack was foiled because their target, who probably had got wind of the impending attack, took refuge outside the area. On their way from his abode, they shot into the air, destroying properties.”
Police Commissioner Ayodele Odude was said to have shelved his weekly Monday meetings with senior officers to mobilise sectional crime control officers to the scene of the incident.
On arrival, the policemen reportedly combed the neighbourhood to arrest and restore peace.
It was learnt that 15 suspects were arrested in their hideouts by men of the police force, the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), mobile policemen and other crime unit commanders to the scene.
Our reporter noticed a heavy security presence in the area.
Police officers were said to be in strategic positions to avert further breakdown of law and order.
Police spokesman Adekunle Ajisebutu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), did not confirm if the warring groups were OPC factions.
But he said 46 suspects had been arrested following the deployment of policemen on the scene.
Confirming the presence of the police commissioner on the scene, Ajisebutu said only investigation will prove the true identity of the hoodlums.
He assured the residents that investigation had begun into the incident.
Ajisebutu said: “Forty-six suspects arrested. Normalcy has since been restored following prompt deployment of policemen on the scene. Police Commissioner Abiodun Odude visited the scene where he assured residents of adequate protection. He has directed that the CIID should begin a discreet investigation into the incident. I can’t confirm yet if it was a clash between factional OPC groups. Investigation will prove (this or otherwise).”