The case of a strayed elephant in a Saki community in Oyo State is generating heat as concerned members of the Sobo Onigbongbo, Saki community are accusing the chairman of Saki West Local Government of conspiracy and claimed death of the animal.
Below is the copy of the petition sent to the Executive Governor of Oyo State.
His Excellency, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde,
Governor, Oyo State,
2nd March, 2022
PETITION ON CONSPIRACY AND PURPORTED DEATH OF THE STRAYED ELEPHANT IN SAKI WEST
We are the concerned youth of Saki. We express our sincere appreciation to you for all the giant strides your administration has been taking in Oke-Ogun, particularly in Saki. You are not only undertaking new developmental projects, but you are also completing your predecessor’s abandoned projects – the path not usually taken by many. All these strides have made you a proverbial elephant too giant even for your political enemies to deny sighting. We wish your administration continued successes. We write this petition to officially acquaint you with the crude and cruel; illegal and unprofessional evacuation of a strayed elephant from Kobo, Onigbongbo, Saki by some supposedly stakeholders and the conspiracy that surrounded its purported death.
Your Excellency Sir, On January, 2022, Adesope Abeeb, a farmer and member of concerned Saki youth sighted an elephant in his farm at Kobo, Onigbongbo, Saki. He immediately alerted the people around and posted the information on his Facebook account for Public awareness. Soon afterwards, the place literally turned to a tourist centre as people from far and near started trooping in to the farm to have a close-range sight of the elephant. Sir, it may interest you to know that throughout this period, the animal was harmless, calm and friendly. Moving forward, the media houses, both print and electronic media reported the news which attracted more people to the place.
Sir, on the 9th February, 2022 the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture headed by Honourable Niyi Adebisi sent a letter to the chairman, Saki West Local Government instructing the latter to take charge of the animal and should, on no account release it to any person or institution while the Ministry was working round the clock to take the appropriate steps. As part of the efforts, an inter-ministerial meeting was proposed involving the Ministries of Agriculture, Justice, Local Government Matters and Environment with an agendum of how to handle the animal matters without violating any laws and constituting threat to life and property. Unfortunately, however, the meeting could not hold because the elephant was mischievously evacuated before the meeting date.
Your Excellency Sir, while the news on the animal was going round , the Forestry and Research Institute sent a letter to the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture seeking the custody of the animal on a deal, but the Ministry did not yield. Then, University of Ibadan wrote a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture seeking the evacuation and custody of the animal, but the Ministry declined. The University would not budge still as they came down to negotiate with the Okere of Sàkì, Oba Surveyor Khalid Olabisi on how they could have the custody of the animal. We have reliable information that the University offered the king a sum of N13,000,000, but the Oba rejected the offer and told the University he wields no such power. Committed to their selfish interest and hidden agenda, the University did not rest. They contacted Saki West Chairman, Engineer Sarafadeen Omirinde presenting to him the same request of having the custody of the strayed elephant on a deal. The chairman agreed with the University to the disregard for the earlier instruction of the Ministry of Agriculture. He then conspired with the Ministry of Environment to get a predetermined permission from the same Ministry.
Sir, after the trio of the University of Ibadan, the Saki West Chairman and the Ministry of Environment perfected their connivance, conspiracy and deal, the University came down to Saki on February 17, 2022 and evacuated the elephant. Of importance to mention is that the evacuation team was led by one Dr. Kabir Popoola from the zoology Department of the University not a wild life biologist as one would expect. No wonder the evacuation process is a definition of cruelty to animal. The animal was wickedly tied and unprofessionally lifted to the truck as if it had no life in it. In fact, it was pathetic!
Your Excellency Sir, we wish to inform you further that after the evacuation, the Saki West Chairman, Engineer Sarafadeen Omirinde transferred a sum of N180,000 to Okere of Saki, Oba Surveyor Khalid Olabisi as the latter’s share from the elephant’s deal. The king in his usual style rejected the money. We are also aware that the chairman gave some of his accomplices a sum of N200,000 as their own share from the deal.
On 18th February, 2022, a day after the evacuation, we heard a sad rumour that the animal was dead. By implication, the animal did not survive the mistreatment. However, this remained a mere rumour until the said Dr. Kabir Popoola declared the animal dead on Punch newspaper. Our hearts have been heavy and our eyes filled with tears since this sad news of ‘murdering’ the harmless animal broke. Sir, the most surprising thing is that up till this moment, the University have not proved the death of the animal beyond mere declaration. All efforts to see the remains of the animal or the pictorial evidences its death were truncated.
Sir, the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act prohibits individual trade in wildlife. It also emphasizes that if such animal should be transported, its safety and survival must be guaranteed. The questions begging for answers now are: did the Saki West Chairman sell the animal to the University? If he did not what was the money he was sharing meant for? Why did he go over board to get the harmless animal evacuated against all instructions? Did the University of Ibadan purchase the animal? If they did not why did they explored all means – legal and illegal to have the custody of the animal? Why did they keep people in darkness as to the remains of the animal and the circumstances surrounded its death? Why did they evacuate the animal when they could not guarantee its safety and survival? In whose interest are they keeping the purported tusks? The questions go on and on. Your Excellency, Sir, it may interest you to know that the elephant weighed 5 tones, and it is worth $1.7 million in the International market.
Your Excellency, the sustained public records of your stewardship in the last two years have proved beyond any reasonable that you have zero tolerance for corruption. The fairest TESCOM appointment and establishment of Oyo State Anti-Corruption Agency (OYSACA) by your administration lend credence to this position. This is why we believe strongly that you would not allow this kind of conspiracy and corruption to slide. We are confident that you would use your good office to investigate the matters and take the appropriate steps. We awaits your actions, Sir. Attached with this letter are some exhibits. Thanks.
The Concerned Saki Indigenes
1. The Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly
2. The Chief Judge of Oyo State
3. The Commissioner of Police, Oyo State
4. The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan.
5. The Commissioner for Agriculture, Oyo State.
6. The Commissioner for Environment, Oyo State.
7. The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matter, Oyo State.
8. The Chairman, Oyo State Anti-Corruption Agency (OYACA)
9. The Chairman, Oyo State House of Assembly Service Commission.
10. The Chairman, Saki West LG
11. The Political Head, Asabari LCDA
12. The Political Head, Wewe LCDA
13. The Okere of Saki Land
14. Saki Parapo, National Body
15. The Dean of Faculty of Sciences, University of Ibadan
16. The HOD, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan.
17. The Director of Zoological Garden, University of Ibadan.