Jimoh Ahmed, Owo
Palpable fear has gripped the residents of Owo as some unknown gunmen on Wednesday night opened fire on a construction company workers, shooting two of its security.
The attack occurred barely seven weeks after the June 5 massacre of parishioners at the Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa street, Owo.
The attack which eyewitnesses said took place at about 8.30 pm on Wednesday lasted for 15 minutes.
The gunmen struck at the office of Craneburg Construction Company, Folahanmi area of Oke-Ogun, Owo, leaving the two people seriously injured.
A victim of the Tuesday night shooting, Iriuma, told The Hope while narrating his experience during the occurrence, that: ” I thought the end has come. I never believed I would still be breathing by now, It was a miracle that I survived the shooting.”
Speaking with our reporter, Lawrence, who was shot on the neck and shoulder, said he was with some co-workers of the company at the front gate of the office when he suddenly heard a gunshot.
According to him, he saw one man with a gun running towards where they were and the next thing was that he felt a great pain on his neck.
He disclosed that the second victim was also close to him.
He said he heard the second victim crying for help but later became silent while they were later rushed to the hospital.
Lawrence commended the workers of the hospital for their quick response and treatment.
Another victim who was shot on his right thigh and right arm, was too weak to speak on his experience.
Meanwhile, the scene of the incident has continued to witness a large crowd of people who had come to have a glimpse of the place and get details of what happened.
Speaking to our reporter, an eye witness, Mr Ayodele Rufus, said the incident happened at about 8.30 pm while the workers, who are over 300, were relaxing after the little rain earlier in the day.
Ayodele who is a security in the company said he was at his post with some other people when he heard the gun shots.
According to him, he initially thought it was some cult groups who were fighting themselves but was taken aback when the sound of the gunshots increased and the men swooped on the place as they made their entrance into the mini estate housing the construction company office.
He said that it was at this point that everyone in the place started running to find a safe place to hide.
Ayodele said the men continued shooting at all the buildings in the mini estate while they also threw Improvised Explosive Device at some of the heavy equipments of the company.
He disclosed that the operation lasted for 15 minutes.
Similarly, Mr Skin Obadeyila, another security officer of the company said the attack was never expected.
Obadeyila said the casualties of the shooting could have been more if not for the rain and cold weather which drove many inside.
According to him, the blackout by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company also prevented people from coming to the place as students of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, used to come to the place to relax.
Speaking on the mission of the gunmen, Obadeyila said it might be a way to halt the ongoing construction work in Owo for the fact that an expatriate engineer of the company was kidnapped sometimes ago.
He, however, called on government and security agents to beef up security in all towns of the state and construction sites in the state.
However, the Owo residents appeared to be apprehensive and worried about the security situation in the town.
People were seen discussing the latest attack while others felt the town is no longer safe.
A market woman, Mrs Titilayo Adeniyi, said traders are now afraid to come to the markets while parents are worried about sending their children to school because they do not know when the gunmen will strike again and which place is going to be their target.
A septuagenarian, Pa Adebayo Aruna, said the people of Owo can no longer sleep with their eyes closed.
Pa Adebayo called on the people of Owo to pray fervently to God to rescue the situation.
The Chairman of Owo Local Government, Chief Samuel Adegbegi, described the shooting as wicked and barbaric.
Adegbegi who appealed to the people of Owo to be calm, said the situation is now under control.
He, however, said government is doing everything possible to secure lives and property in the state.
Meanwhile, Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Oyeyemi Oyeniran has sued for calm while encouraging well-meaning residents of Ondo State to cooperate with the police in the course of investigations into the shooting incident.
Oyeniran in a statement by the command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Funmilayo Odunlami said the affected area had been cordoned and investigation has commenced to unravel those behind the incident.