Neighbours have raised an alarm over the sudden disappearance of one Ariyo Wasiu Yusuf and his wife Ruth Ariyo popularly known as ‘Mummy Rhoda’, after they suddenly disappeared from their home even as they suspected the immediate family of the couple as having a hand in their disappearance.
Neighbors of the couple insisted that members of their immediate family, backed by a religious group, had a hand in their disappearance, stressing that there have been several previous attempts to abduct the couple from their Sagamu Ogun State residence. The attempts were said to have been foiled by members of the community aided by local vigilante security.
In statements made to the Sagamu Police Division dated 5 May 2017 and seen by OrijoReporter, neighbours of the Ariyos suggested that members of the Ariyo family have a hand in how the couple vanished from the community where they are house owners and respected members of the community.
Findings by OrijoReporter indicated that members of the Ariyo family and the unnamed religious group had made several attempts to abduct the couple in the past and their efforts were thwarted by members of the community and the local vigilante group led by the Baale of Areke Community, Sagamu Interchange, Ogun State, Chief Sufianu Adegborioye.
Besides that, the raids on the missing couple’s home according the Chief Adegborioye always took place in ungodly hours, it was against their wish, and they were forceful and brutal, adding “that was why the community resisted all attempts to take them away”.
In an interview with our reporter, Chief Adegborioye stated that “the first attempt to take them away, in the midnight, was sometime in September 2017. Members of the local vigilantes called my attention to it and by the time I got to the scene many residents had gathered, the couple had been forcefully dragged out of their home and were held to the ground by members of the religious group.
“After very lengthy arguments, I realized the members of the religious group consisted of traditionalists – I am also a traditionalist, but I will not support initiating anyone against their wish – so I directed all those gathered and the vigilante group to stop them, which we all did.”
Continuing, Chief Adegborioye added that “Several days later, on a weekend, I invited the couple to my Palace to chat about the incident, because as the head of the community, it is within my powers to further probe the incident. During the conversation, I realized that the family of the husband, Yusuf, were not happy that he refused to take part in some religious rites that are entrenched in his family and His father was determined to make him perform the rituals and traditional rites.
“I decided to report the matter to the police because their sudden disappearance is suspicious given their travails with the group that has attempted to take them away in past few months. Their absence was noticed after they were absent from three consecutive meetings of the local Community Development Association (CDA). I don’t accuse anybody, I just want the police to help investigate the sudden disappearance of respected member of Our community, and His wife, especially given that they have been targets of persecution by this religious cum traditionalist group,” the local Chief concluded.
Meanwhile, the police appeared to be uncertain as to how to progress with the case.
A police source who confirmed that the case was reported by the community leader at the Sagamu Divisional Police station added that the Divisional Police officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (DSP) Emmanuel Ibiwoye has sought advice on how to proceed with the case from the superior authorities.
“Baale of Areke community reported the case of the missing couple. This is the first time we are recording such case of missing persons in which the immediate family are suspected; so DPO has sent the case file to State Command in Abeokuta for advice of how to proceed with the case. The advice from above will determine our next course of action,” the police source told our correspondent.
A neighbor who gave his name as Banji Owoaje corroborated the local Chief’s position. “I was part of the residents that foiled the attempts to ferry them away in the night sometimes in September last year” He said. “Those were experiences you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy, much more such easy going and amiable family. We mandated the Baale to lodge a complaint with the police, because here in this community, we look out for one other. So, when they didn’t attend three CDA meetings back-to-back we became alarmed given what we know”.
“We know that family members have made unsuccessful attempts in the past to forcefully take them away in the dead of the night, but we resisted, and prevented them from having their way. So now that the couple are nowhere to be found, we believe the family members are either suspects or persons of interest in the disappearances,” he stated.
By Wale Akinade, in Sagamu