Obvious inter-agency rivalry between the police and the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission played out in the early hours of Tuesday during a sting operation by the anti-graft agency to arrest some suspected Internet fraudsters in Osogbo, Osun state.
Punch Metro learnt that some EFCC operatives from the agency’s Ibadan zonal office stormed the Halleluyah area of Osogbo and broke into some buildings, where over 30 suspected Internet fraudsters were arrested.
The team, which also recovered several vehicles from the suspects, was said to be heading out of Osogbo, when some police personnel said to be responding to distress calls from residents, intercepted it and prevented it from moving away with the vehicles.
Residents of Omobolanle, Halleluyah, Lameco and Oroki Estate areas of the city, who spoke to Punch Metro, said they heard gunshots early in the morning, but could not identify those behind the shooting.
It was learnt that while the EFCC operatives and the police engaged in altercation over the manner in which the operation was carried out, friends of the suspects mobilised and staged a protest and blocked some roads in the metropolis.
As early as 4am, the protesters had set up bonfires at the Lameco junction along the Osogbo/Ilobu Road and the Dele Yes Sir area, forcing motorists to take alternative routes.
After the bonfires were dismantled by the men of the Joint Task Force, the protesters moved to the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, where the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Yemi Lawal, addressed them and advised against blocking of roads.
He said Governor Gboyega Oyetola had ordered him to visit Ibadan and engage the EFCC on the issue with a view to securing the release of the suspects.
One of the protesters, Sayo Ogunleye, said the EFCC operatives entered the premises, where the suspects were arrested, like thieves and demanded the immediate release of those apprehended.
Addressing the protesters in the Oke Fia area, the state Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode, said the EFCC did not inform the command before carrying out the operation.
He, however, pleaded with the youth to allow peace to reign and avoid acts that could inconvenience others.
Olokode stated, “We are not also happy about the situation. The EFCC did not inform us before coming to Osun to arrest those people. That’s why they came in the night.
“The state government has mandated the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Yemi Lawal, to visit the EFCC office in Ibadan to get to the root of the matter and secure the release of the boys. We have been able to recover their cars, which were seized. I just want to plead with you to allow peace to reign, because blocking the roads and burning tyres will inconvenience other people.”