Cut in his prime
Father of 19-year-old boy felled by stray bullet in Ogun community seeks justice
RESIDENTS of Oke-Ore Community in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Council of Ogun State are yet to come to terms with the tragedy that befell them concerning the death of a teenager, Bidemi Akinde, who was cut down in his prime.
The whole community is in a mourning mood, as grief and pain have enveloped the entire town.
The 19-year-old secondary school leaver was hit by a stray bullet on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, when thugs allegedly led by a land grabber, Alhaji Mutairu Owoeye invaded Oke-Ore and its neighbouring communities, which include Ajibawo, Onse-Olose, Kajola-Iboro, Olorunda/Olowo and others, to dispossess them of their lands.
On that fateful day, Bidemi, who has been working as a barbing apprentice since he finished secondary school in 2014, left home early in the morning for his master’s shop.
A few hours after his resumption with his colleagues, gunshots rented the whole area and his master quickly ordered them to close shop and go to their various houses.
It was on his way home that he was shot by the hoodlums. He died instantly, in the pool of his blood, before help could come, as the bullet pierced through his stomach.
His death has not only caused his family an endless grief, it has also sparked off anger among the neighbouring communities, who vented their rage in a protest staged on Monday, calling for justice to prevail over the death of the innocent boy.
The deceased’s father, Mr. Rotimi Akinde, who could not hide his grief, told The Guardian that he had no premonition of the death of his son, as he was the one who hastened the boy and his elder brother to leave early for their places of work that day.
He noted that as at Bidemi’s time of leaving the house, there was no sign of the hoodlums in the community but he later heard the noise of commotion and people scampering to safety. He rushed out of the house towards the roadside, but couldn’t get to the road because of the incessant gunshots.
“As at that time Bidemi had left the shop, it was on his way home that he was hit by the bullet. Immediately I heard of his death, I nearly lost consciousness but for God and people around, it would have been another story.”
“We don’t have the power to kill Owoeye by ourselves, it is the government that can handle him adequately. The Bible says whoever kills with the sword, shall be killed by the sword. If he is let off the hook, he would continue with his dastardly act of terrorising the people and killing them. If proper investigation is carried out, Nigerians will be surprised that many lives had been lost and property destroyed, due to Owoeye’s criminal acts. Their determination was to invade these communities, kill people and make this area desolate. Though he is using his money and position to do this, but the blood of this innocent boy will cry out against him,” he said.
Bidemi’s father appealed to the government not to handle the issue with levity, noting that they should remember that they also have children.
The Chairman of the Oke-Ore Community Development Committee (CDC), Apostle ‘Kunle Amosu, who spoke on behalf of other communities, appealed to all Nigerians who believe in protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians to rise up and make sure that justice is done and is seen to be done on the matter.
He revealed that the land grabber and his cohorts have been used severally to terrorise the communities with the purpose of dispossessing the people of their inheritance.
“Since late December 2014, Owoeye had been using policemen from various units and his thugs to terrorise, brutalise and dehumanise our people, leading to detentions and prosecution of many, including our chiefs.”
“We now live in perpetual fear of Owoeye, our youths keep vigil every night and day since January 2015 and this has been counter-productive to our security and economy. In fact, some people have been forced to abandon their homes in these communities. The name, Owoeye is common and affluent in the mouths of our kids and babies,” he stated.
He called on the government to ensure that the activities of Owoeye and his company be investigated to expose the evils he and his cohorts have perpetrated in other communities.
The Baale of Kajola-Iboro, Chief Julius Adisa Dada told The Guardian that in 2012, Owoeye signed an agreement never to disturb the communities anymore but his recent disturbance is a violation of a peace accord reached then.
He noted that any time he invaded the area with his thugs, the communities always informed the police, adding that they had taken several steps to curtail him but due to his influence, their efforts have always been futile.
While adding that the August 19 incidence was his third time of invading the communities, he alleged that he always came in company of officials of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), to terrorise the people.
The community leader appealed to Governor Ibikunle Amosun to rescue them from the hands of the land grabbers.
When the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi was contacted, he confirmed the incident. He said Owoeye and some people have been arrested in connection with the case.
He noted that the Department of Criminal Investigations and
Intelligence, Eleweran was handling the matter and investigations had begun, as directed by the state Commissioner of Police.