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‘I want justice for my late husband’


The late Ogunlaja

The late Ogunlaja

Wife of murdered NURTW treasurer pleads

BARELY three months after a loyalist to one of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) leaders in Oshodi area of Lagos, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, was gruesomely murdered by an alleged rival group in the union, another officer, treasurer of the Marina branch of the NURTW, Taiwo Ogunlaja, has been murdered in cold blood by unknown persons after he attended the state meeting of the union held every first Thursday of the month.

Wife of the deceased, Tawa Ogunlaja, cut a pitiable sight as relatives and sympathisers surrounded her, but immediately she was informed of the presence of The Guardian, her mood changed, she sat upright with a glint in her eyes. Reason: she was ready to tell the world her story and hope the police would find it useful in the hunt for the killers of her husband.

“Before he was murdered,” she began, “my husband always talked about one Wasiu Onibudu, popularly known as Shile Burger, who was a threat to his life. My husband stopped attending meetings when the trouble was getting too much.”

Reflecting on what happened the day her husband was killed, she said: “He was reluctant to go for the meeting because of the threat he recently received. But he went to remit the union’s money he had on him; he fasted and prayed before he left home. I spoke with him at about 2.00p.m. and he told me he was at the meeting and he assured me that there was no cause for alarm.

“Some minutes later, I received a call that my husband had been murdered. And people at the scene told me he was attacked with machete and cut beyond recognition after performing ablution and was stepping out of the mosque.”

The bereaved widow said the genesis of the trouble between the two, once bosom friends, started months ago when Onibudu stopped visiting the deceased at home.

“When I inquired from my husband why his friend stopped coming to visit us, I was told that the factional crisis in the union was responsible for the strained relationship.

“Onibudu accused him of supporting a rival group against the state chairman, Tajudeen Agbede. But my husband told him that he did not belong to any faction and he would never work against anybody. I was even told there was no more faction in the union and that everything was settled recently in Abuja. I believed my husband because we’ve been together for 20 years and I have not found him wanting.”

Tawa hinted that her husband was shortly before his assassination, planning to quit the union and travel abroad because of the continued threat to his life, but he could not secure a visa until he was murdered. What she lives for at the moment is getting justice for her slain husband.

Efforts to reach Onibudu were futile, as his number remained switched off, as at press time and he didn’t respond to text messages sent to him. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Panti confirmed the incident and promised that the police were getting close to arresting the perpetrators.

“The information you have got is true and the victim was buried last Thursday. The deceased attended their monthly meeting but left the venue of the meeting even before it ended for reasons best known to him. He was killed as he was about crossing the road. I can, however, confirm to you that all allegations against any of the union members are not true because we invited top officials of the union to our office and none of them have any link to the murder.”

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