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Abuja hotel explains what happened the night Toju was killed

By Tina Abeku, Abuja
27 January 2022   |   4:10 am
popular hotel in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Toprank Hotel, Abuja, has said it has nothing to do with the brutal attack and killing of a corps member, Toritseju Jackson, in the hotel’s premises on Sunday the September 12 2021...


• Alleges it could be a case of drug deal gone awry
• It’s sheer blackmail, Toju’s spirit will fight back, family cries out

A popular hotel in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Toprank Hotel, Abuja, has said it has nothing to do with the brutal attack and killing of a corps member, Toritseju Jackson, in the hotel’s premises on Sunday the September 12 2021 by unknown men.

Toritseju was a 23 year old law graduate from Buckingham University, United Kingdom, who headed home as a patriotic Nigerian to complete the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the Nigerian Law School. Alas, just like the story of others who returned and ended up in disaster, he was brutally murdered, stabbed several times right in front of Toprank Hotel, Wuse zone 4.

A friend had taken him out for leisure.

The bereaved family members claimed that by Monday morning, when they were was called to identify the body, which was abandoned overnight at the crime scene, the hotel had already tampered with the evidence by cleaning up the bloodstains as if nothing happened the previous night.

Media consultant to the hotel, Mr. Chris Richards-Jonal, however, told The Guardian that the late Jackson was never a guest of the hotel but only came in company of a male friend to visit some guests under very suspicious circumstances at about 3:30 a.m., on the night of the gruesome murder.

He said that the hotel had no inkling to reason for his attack and killing outside its gates.

While not directly responding to the query that the hotel tampered with the crime scene by cleaning it up, thereby erasing any sign of murder, Mr. Richards-Jonal suggested the killing could be drug related.

He said the late Jackson Junior came to the hotel in company of a male friend, Sani Saleh, to visit two ladies, who were guests of the hotel on the night he was killed.

After identifying the person and room number of whom they were going to see and the security confirmed the guests through the receptionists, they were allowed into the hotel.

He said CCTV footage of the hotel recorded the deceased and his friend coming into the hotel at about 3:30 a.m. and that Toritseju Jackson, fondly called Toju, was given a signal by his friend, Sani Saleh, before he went on to speak with the security man.

“They came to the hotel around 3: 30 a.m. and this is questionable according to my statement to the Police. When he (Saleh) mentioned that he had some friends that lodged in the hotel and mentioned their names and the security knew that persons with such names actually lodged in the hotel, he had to direct him (Saleh) to the receptionist for further interrogation.

“They came into the reception, the receptionists asked questions and they were able to identify that the guests were the people they wanted to see. The receptionist had to call the guests to confirm and when they gave her (receptionist) the go ahead to allow them in, that was when the receptionist gave the visitors (Saleh and Toju) the room number of the guests they wanted to see.

“They went there and stayed for about one hour. Around 4:28 a.m., they came down, opened the gate and went out, the security man had gone to sleep. It was when they were attacked that Saleh ran inside without even alerting anybody. So it was when Toju was overpowered and they thought he had died after stabbing him all over, that he too ran inside. That was when the manager of the hotel called the DPO, Wuse.”  

Mr. Richards-Jonal continued: “The Divisional Police Officer quickly came down and as they were taking the body of Toju to Wuse Hospital, the boy gave up on the way. Searching him, they (police), discovered some drugs (not specified). Searching his vehicle, they also discovered more drugs. Some of the places he went to that night include a medicine store. So the Police carried all those items recovered from the deceased.”

He said Saleh, who brought Toju to the hotel did not appear to be a true friend based on the CCTV footage and the numerous signals he gave.

In addition to the fact that he ran away and did not seek help immediately when Toju was attacked.

“From the security CCTV footage that I watched, the friend stands indicted. He knew what happened to that man and the identity of the two girls they met inside, because the victim also spoke with the two girls. If the two girls can come out together with Saleh, they will be able to explain exactly who attacked that boy outside the hotel,” he said.

Reacting to the hotel’s narrative that drugs were found on the body of the deceased and his car, Toju’s father, Mr. Jackson senior, described the allegation as false, cheap blackmail and an attempt to smear the name of the deceased.

He said the hotel is looking for a way to exonerate itself, by trying to pin something evil against his son.

He said it is not possible to claim that drugs were found inside Toju’s car when he did not even drive a car. The said car belongs to the friend, Selah who picked him from home earlier that Sunday. He said his son does not deal in drugs to the best of his knowledge.

“They are just trying to use blackmail because he doesn’t own the car. It was Saleh, who came to pick him up. What I am saying is that if you look at all these, it was Saleh who came to pick him from the house. Toju did not drive out that night, so how could drugs be found in his car? He just went out with only his phone, nothing else,” he explained.

According to him, “whatever evidence they have does not stop the fact that he was killed in the hotel and by the time we came the next morning, there was no blood stain. Even if he came to the hotel at 3 a.m., is that a reason why he should be killed and they didn’t do anything and they even cleaned up the evidence? Now they are saying drugs were found on his body, is that a way to exonerate themselves? Who put the drugs on him? He doesn’t deal in drugs and they said they found it in his car.”

Jackson said every party that tries to blackmail and hide the truth regarding what happened that night will all be exposed because an innocent child was killed and instead of exposing the killers and getting justice for the deceased, “they are diverting attention, to make it look dirty? His spirit will fight them.”