Three suspects, Adeyemi Oluwole, Adebola Ogunkoya, and Joseph Fidelis, accused of burning the ancestral home of the Baale of Erebe, in the Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State, Olusegun Lawal, have been remanded in the custodial centre in the Ijebu Ode area of the state.
The suspects were arraigned on three counts of arson and breach of peace before Magistrate A. Ogunmodede of the Odogbolu Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The charges read in part, “That you, Adeyemi Oluwole, Adebola Ogunkoya, Joseph Fidelis, and others still at large, sometime in September 2022, at Omu Ijebu in the Odogbolu Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit arson.
“That you, Adeyemi Oluwole, Adebola Ogunkoya, Joseph Fidelis and others still at large on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid magisterial district, did willingly set fire to the living apartment.”
The monarch was represented in court by his counsel, Olanrewaju Aiyedun.
The police prosecutor told the court that the offences were punishable under Sections 516, 433, and 294 (d) of the Criminal Code Vol. 1 Laws of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006.
The prosecutor presented before the court a remand application requesting the defendants to be held in prison.
The defendants’ pleas were not taken.
Ogumodede granted the prosecutor’s request and ordered the defendants to be remanded.
The case was adjourned till April 18, 2023.
It was learnt that the suspects alongside other fleeing members of the gang invaded the traditional ruler’s ancestral home but when he was nowhere to be found, they set his home ablaze and destroyed the chief’s valuables.
Commenting on the development, the monarch said he petitioned the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, the state Commissioner of Police, and the Chairman of the LGA, seeking immediate action to rescue them from the hoodlums who had taken over his community.
The chief said, “Since last year, some land grabbers had been invading my community. I had written several letters to the authorities. I was at Ijebu Ode when I received a distress call that my ancestral home was on fire.
“By the time I got to the scene, the entire building had been burnt down. The eyewitnesses couldn’t talk because they had been harassed with guns and other weapons. These hoodlums have been terrorising my community since August 2022.
“They have done the peak of the entire atrocity so far; they burnt my ancestral home where we have all the artefacts and other valuable things. I have been hiding and my family no longer have rest of mind. They have been after my life if not they won’t have burnt my home.”