There was a palpable anger yesterday over the alleged hijack and looting of a delivery van conveying processed food items by some hoodlums, who said they were enforcing no-trade order of a traditional ruler, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade.
The hoodlums also allegedly abducted a three-old-girl, who was being carried to school; and the driver of the van, simply named Featus.
The incident, which happened around 7a.m. at Bolajoko area, Okearo, Akure, the Ondo State capital, caused confusion in the area, as people thought something untoward has happened because the area was notorious for crisis.
Oba Ogunlade, however, had ordered that markets and shops in the state capital be closed yesterday to celebrate the annual traditional Aheregbe and Amole festival.
The driver of the delivery van said the hoodlums, on sighting the van, forced the driver to stop, deflated the tyres of the vehicle, seized his phone and also abducted a three year-old-girl, who the man was taking to school.
He said: “I was taking my daughter to school in the vehicle when they blocked my vehicle at Bolajoko Junction. I told them that I was not selling those things in the vehicle.
“I pleaded with them but they did not listen to me. The boys deflated the tyres of the bus and emptied the contents, which included noodles, spaghetti, biscuits and other daily consumable items. The worst was that my daughter was also taken away.
“After about two hours, some good spirited people around the area followed the boys and retrieved my ‘kidnapped’ daughter.”
The incident generated chains of reactions from members of the public immediately the video from the scene went viral on social media.
A political and public affairs commentator, Mr. Zadok Akintoye, described the attack as barbaric.
Zadok said: “The conduct of any festival is subsumed under the constitution of a country. Just as a president is responsible for any action taken by his government, those who authorised this festival are also criminally liable for any part of its conduct that infringes on the rights of the people or violates the law.
“The police should prosecute anyone found culpable of stealing under the guise of a cultural practice.
“We shouldn’t be justifying our propensity for willful criminality under the excuse of culture and custom. To prove that this culture is an aberration, why does its implementation not include banks, schools and all other economic activities? I keep saying that some cultural practices are more often the easy lazy leaning of the people when they fail to find a solution to challenges.”