The Ado-Awaye town in the Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State has decried the excesses of men of the Oyo Joint Security Task Force, aka Operation Burst.
The task force is a team of operatives of the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps established to improve security in the state.
Our correspondent gathered that a farmer, Semiu Raheem, was returning from an event on Monday when he was shot at the Lakatabu Junction, Ado-Awaye, where the task force had a checkpoint.
Residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said the operatives were fond of extorting money from commuters, especially at night, when farmers and businessmen were returning to their homes.
An eyewitness said, “The government said they are there for security purposes, but they always collect money from motorists that don’t have number plates. They collect between N1,000 to N2,000. When it is night, they collect between N200 and N500, whether they have number plates or not.”
Our correspondent gathered that motorcycles were not allowed to pass through the checkpoint unless their riders dragged them on foot.
It was learnt that there was an argument between the operatives and some unidentified people at the time Raheem and his friend were passing through the checkpoint on Monday night.
Raheem was shot in the leg, but good Samaritans reportedly rushed him to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Our correspondent gathered that he was later transferred to a place in Ayetoro in the Okeho area of the state in order to treat the bone which had been affected by the gunshot.
The victim, who spoke to our correspondent from the hospital bed, said he did not have any issue with the officers neither did he argue with them.
The 28-year-old farmer said, “My friend was already dragging our motorcycle while I was walking behind him. The next thing I heard was a gunshot and I was the victim.”
The father of two said he hoped the state government would investigate the incident as he appealed to well-meaning Nigerians for help.
A resident, Ismael Taiwo, said the youth had complained about the excesses of the operatives at the checkpoint, adding that extortion had become a norm.
The President of the Ado-Awaye Youths, Abdul-Azeez Ajibola, said the operatives just resumed at the checkpoint, which was initially occupied by the Nigerian Army.
“The soldiers were not stopping motorcycles, but riders had to slow down. But when Operation Burst operatives got there, residents lamented that they had to stop their bikes and push them to pass the checkpoint. I also got reports of extortion,” he added.
Confirming the incident, the Alado of Ado-Awaye, Oba Ademola Folakanmi, said he had appealed to the Divisional Police Officer in the area to call the operatives to order.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, declined comment on the matter.
A security expert, Abu Adams, said a stray bullet might have hit the victim.