Ilorin’s Struggle Against Rising Crime: A Cry for Security and Harmony
By Abdulwaheed Onikanhun
Ilorin, a city widely known as center of learning, and often referred to as “Ilu Alfa,” where Islam and Islamic scholarship spread across South-Western Nigeria is currently experiencing a transformation that calls for concern.
The city has traditionally symbolized peace and harmony, aligning with the very essence of Islam, which means “religion of peace.” This symbolic peace of its capital probably influenced why Kwara State is referred as State of Harmony.
However, Ilorin’s identity as a hub of tranquility and knowledge is under threat, as recent days have seen the city gradually transforming from a city of peace and scholarships to a den of crimes and criminalities.
Armed robberies, cult-related violence, and kidnappings are on the rise, posing a significant challenge to the city’s security and reputation, with incessant and cult-related killings assuming a frightening proportion.
On Saturday, 26th August 2023, at about 8:00 am, after my morning routine in preparation for a radio program on Diamond88.7 FM Ilorin. I put a call through to my mother to check her well being. She expressed her wellness and high spirits. But however voiced her concern about my father’s mild illness, arising from cough and cold. In spite of such concern expressed by my mother, I had to honor my commitment to the radio station since such case is not an emergency.
On my way back from the station around 10:30 am, I visited my family house to check on my parents. I found my father unwell and in need of medications.
I promptly bought the necessary drugs and fruits, and after he took them, he began to pray for all his children and grandchildren.
As the day unfolded, I was reminded of the joy of being around parents and extended family members, making the day memorable as always. However, the evening took a dark turn.
On my way home around 9:40 pm, I stopped to buy bread as requested by my wife. It was during this stopage that I was attacked by armed robbers. It was such an unimaginable dark moment. They demanded my phone and took some money from me, leaving me shaken and in shock.
This incidence serves as a stark reminder of the deteriorating security situation in Ilorin, highlighting not only personal trauma but also the broader issue of rising crime in the city. It is a call for urgent action to return Ilorin to its rightful place as a city of peace, harmony, and scholarships.
Fortunately, a kind gesture from Senator Saliu Mustapha, who represents Kwara Central at the National Assembly, Abuja provided a glimmer of hope. He reached out to assist me in acquiring a new phone.This act of generosity from Turaki of Ilorin exemplifies the importance of working together to combat the challenges facing our community.
The escalation of cult-related violence and armed robberies in Ilorin is deeply troubling. The recent spate of incidents, including the tragic killing of a young promising online journalist, Yusuf Mubaraq Authority, paints Ilorin in a negative light.
Some days after Mubarak’s death, another robbery attack occurred on Wednesday, 20th August, 2023 at about 9:00pm around Lanre Gada Junction, along Sobi Road Ilorin, less than one kilometer to Sobi Military Cantonment leading to the death of one person with three other persons sustaining varying degrees of injuries from the gun shots from their assailants. A Bajaj Motorcycle was also reportedly snatched from an old man riding Okada using the proceed to feed his family.
According to an eye witness account, some unknown gun men had alighted from a car numbering about five.They shot in the air to scare those who were at the scene of the incident and started collecting phones, monies and other valuables from those who were around and others who unknowingly ran towards them. This created panic and fear as people scampered for safety.
Aside the physical power of the gun wielding robbers, other criminals engaged in metaphysical power to rob a man of his manhood in Alagbado area of Ilorin, the following day.
On the night of Thursday 21st September 2023, inside Alagbado Complex, a young Corp member was in his mother’s shop. A man moved towards him to beg for alms. The young Corp member swiftly beacon on his mother to request for some money to be given to the man in charity. Few minutes after the beggar collected the money and left, the young man realized his manhood had disappeared prompting the passersby to stop and have a look to confirm the veracity of the claim. It took a similar metaphysical power for the young corp member to get his manhood restored after about an hour later.
The rate at which cult-related violence is spreading across Ilorin Emirate, the state capital should worry every well-meaning citizen and inhabitant of the Ilorin Emirate including those in positions of authority.
As the state capital is increasingly becoming the new epicenter of this deviant behavior which is not what Ilorin is known for, authorities need to tame this lawlessness which is fast becoming a booming business in the state capital.
Efforts must be made to address the root causes of these issues and restore peace to the city.
It is essential for both citizens and authorities to come together to tackle hooliganism, cultism, and other social vices that threaten the safety and well-being of our community.
As citizens, we go to the polls to elect leaders who can ensure our safety and protect our properties. It is crucial that the government does not neglect its responsibility in maintaining security. The funds allocated for security, known as security votes, should be transparently used to address the rising crime rates in Kwara state.
In conclusion, Ilorin’s struggle against rising crime is a cry for security and harmony. It is a call for unity among citizens, cooperation with authorities, and effective utilization of resources to restore peace and prosperity to our beloved city.
Together, we can overcome these challenges and reclaim Ilorin’s rightful place as a center of peace, harmony, and scholarships.
Abdulwaheed Onikanhun is a public affairs analyst. He wrote from Ilorin and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org