By Dayo Johnson
Akure — FIVE suspected ritualists have been arrested at a shrine where abducted persons are slaughtered and their parts sold to prospective buyers at Ago Oyinbo in Okitipupa area of Ondo State.
Consequently, upon discovery of the kidnappers den, youths in the town stormed the place and demolished it.
Vanguard gathered that the suspects were arrested, following a tip-off by people of the community, who noticed strange movements and stench oozing out of the building.
Men of Igbotako Police division reportedly effected the arrest of the suspects.
Before their arrest, the suspects were alleged to have been occupying the building in the last three years.
Sources informed newsmen that the suspected ritualists, after kidnapping their victims, usually take them to the shrine and slaughtered them for ritual purposes.
The said shrine is located in the village which is a few kilometres away from Benin-Ore-Ijebu Ode expressway.
Fetish materials such as cow horns, different types of clothes suspected to belong to those abducted, palm fronds, bottles of gin, calabashes, ‘Ghana must go’ bags, among others, were found at the shrine.
The Baale of Ago Oyinbo, Chief Moyebi Okeowo, who spoke to newsmen, said the shrine must have been erected in 2012 when the suspects came to beg for a space in the village to use as location to shoot films.
He said: “I asked somebody to take them to the owner of the land, unknown to him that they wanted to use the village as a kidnappers den.
“When they came to me to beg for a piece of land to shoot their film, I told them I am not the owner of the land and I took them to the brother of the landlord of the land who took them to the wife of the landlord in Akure.
‘I learned they were authorized by the wife of the landlord to use the land and since then, they have been using it.
“When I did not know what they were using the land for, I told their leader to go and report their activities to the police and he later informed me that he had done so.”
Okeowo explained that he was not aware of the activities of the suspects until last Monday when he got information that the suspects were using human beings for sacrifice on the land.
Also, the Principal of Community Grammar School in neighbouring Kajola, in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state, Mr Joseph Edosama, said two of the security guards of the school were among the suspects arrested by the police for conspiring with the suspected kidnappers.
Another community leader, who spoke in confidence, explained that it had been long since the suspects started operating in the village.
But the state police spokesman, Wole Ogodo, feigned ignorance of the development in the community, saying the state command had not been briefed by its Divisional police station at Igbotako.