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Akinyele … Peaceful domain unsettled by violent killings 

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June 2020 was replete with gory narratives that oozed from Akinyele Local Council of Oyo State. Specifically, the gruesome murder of no fewer than five people in the council jolted many Nigerians.

The last of the killings in the council was that of a 42-year-old woman, Olusayo Fagbemi, which occurred on June 24, 2020, at the Sasa area of the council. That came after a five-year-old boy, Mojeeb Tirimisiyu, was murdered at the backyard of his parents’ house at Tose area of the council on June 22.

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The first reported case was an 18-year-old Barakat Bello, who was killed on June 1 at Akinyele town of the council. Mrs. Azeezat Somuyiwa, a pregnant woman was the second to be killed on June 5, while the third victim, Grace Oshiagwu was a student of Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki. She was reportedly raped to death at her parent’s residence in Idi Ori Sasa, Ojoo, Ibadan.

However, on July 17, the Oyo State Police Command calmed frayed nerves when it paraded three suspects arrested in connection with the killings.   

Narrating how the suspects were arrested, the state Commissioner of Police, Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu, disclosed that, “the mobile phone of one of the victims was recovered from one Shehu Usman by the police, and upon interrogation, the suspect denied involvement in the crime but gave useful information, which subsequently led to the arrest of Sunday Shodipe and Adedokun Yinusa Ajani.”

Enwonwu said the suspects were responsible for the killings of Wasilat Adeola, Barakat Bello, Grace Oshiagwu, Mojeed Tirimisiyu, who was just five years old, and the attack on Adeola Azeez, and her daughter, Dolapo Oyeyemi, which both survived.

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“The incident was reported at Ojoo Divisional Police Headquarters, Ibadan on, 5th April 2020 and I mobilised SARS operatives with policemen from the State CID, Ibadan and visited the scene of the crime for an on-the-spot assessment.

“After a discreet investigation by a team of SARS operatives, one Shehu Usman was arrested in connection with the crime. A Techno Mobile phone belonging to the slain woman was recovered from him. Though the suspect denied his involvement in the crime but gave useful information, which led to arrest of one notorious hoodlum who identified himself as Sunday Shodipe. 

“The suspected criminal confessed to having singlehandedly masterminded the crime and explained in details how he invaded the victim’s residence, where she was brutally attacked, robbed her before she was later murdered in her cold blood. He said he usually rob female victims after attacking them with dangerous objects (including shovel) before hacking them to death,” the police chief disclosed. 

The 19-year-old suspect, Shodipe while narrating how he carried out the killings, claimed that a 50-year-old herbalist, Adedokun Yinusa Ajani, whom he worked for was the one sending him on such assignments, adding that anytime he was heading for an operation, the herbalist would instruct him to kneel down in front of him and he (Ajani) would make some incantations and then put something on his tongue three times.

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The suspect said after locating his victims, he would hit them with a shovel and once they collapse, he makes some incantations and move around the body three times, and then back the body of his victim for about five minutes with his eyes closed before leaving the scene. This ritual, he said, would ensure that nobody comes around during the period of operation. After the operation, he would return to the herbalist, who would make some incantations again.

He confessed to having carried out five of such operations and anytime he returned to the herbalist, the 50-year-old would buy food for him and give him N500.

But the herbalist, Ajani, nonetheless, denied sending Sunday on a killing spree, alleging that Sunday’s mother brought him to his house some time ago saying that he was a wayward child, and asked him to spiritually return him to the right path. He further alleged that after two months, she returned with the boy to learn the trade.

While it was generally believed that only five deaths were recorded in the council area within the last two months, the Alakinyele of Akinyele Town, Oba James Oluyemi Adeniran (JP), informed The Guardian that no fewer than 12 people have been murdered in a similar circumstance.

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“Let me clear some misinformation about what is happening. Akinyele Town is quite different from Akinyele Local Council.  Of all these incidents, it was only the one that involved Barakat Bello that happened at Akinyele Town. All others happened within Akinyele Local Council. There is relative peace in Akinyele Town.  Akinyele Town is about five kilometres to Moniya, the headquarters of the council.  

“If I am not exaggerating, at least 12 killings have taken place in the local government in the last two months. They are many. I want to tell you that these boys are part of a syndicate; they belong to different groups, but doing the same type of criminal job,” the royal father revealed. 

While alleging that some young men in the council were living beyond their means, the monarch also disclosed that those responsible for the nefarious acts were most likely to be ritualists judging by their modus Operandi. 

The Alakinyele said: “Don’t let me deceive you, they are ritualists, who are just deceiving people in the guise of raping their victims. By their acts, we can conclude that they are ritualists, especially with information received from one of them that was caught. He said that some times they carry out operations without carrying any harmful material along. On those occasions, they only operate with handkerchiefs they obtain from herbalists. Immediately they use that handkerchief to touch the head of their victim, he would be unconscious. They would now use anything available around there to injure or kill the victim. Once blood comes out, they just use the handkerchief to clean the surface. In order to further their deception, they just go to their victim’s genital and remove the covering to make it look like a rape case.

“As against what is being insinuated, it is not traditional leaders that are selling land to them. Really, these people are living beyond their means as reflected even in their lifestyle and the vehicles that they drive, which are very expensive…” 

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The monarch also revealed that aside from those suspected ritual killers, some other men of the underworld known as “Badoo Boys” were also into kidnapping for ransom in the council. A lot of kidnappings have taken place in Akinyele local government.  But we must thank the police. They have arrested some people, including four army officers.”

He said: “With what we heard now, they said Badoo Boys have houses in Moniya now, and they are many of them around now. The police are aware of this and they are doing a very good job. I appreciate Governor Seyi Makinde for picking Mr. Fatai Owoseni as his Special Adviser on Security Matters. He is doing well.”  
 
On the way out of the security conundrum, the king urged the state government to provide jobs for the teeming youths, who are jobless.  

The traditional leader said: “All these boys are youth and most of them are unemployed. When you don’t have any means of livelihood, you are bound to become the devil’s workshop. The government has to provide jobs for these young school leavers.” 

The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Enwonwu who resumed duty on June 1, 2020, assured that all would be done to ensure that peace returns to the state

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He told The Guardian days before the suspects were paraded: “I’m one leg here one leg there (Akinyele Local Council). That is what yielding all these results. At Akinyele, people are now sleeping with their two eyes closed because immediately we came in, those things happened in the first few weeks. We had to restructure the whole arrangement. I did that by first and foremost removing the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in that area because of language factor. He is non-Yoruba speaking and the area is predominantly Yoruba and many of them cannot speak English. So, it became a problem because they can’t communicate with him. We had to look for somebody, who is conversant with the area; speaks the language, and from this area to replace him. He was a very effective police officer, but those few things that happened made us pull him out and put him where we think he can function effectively.”

On whether the perpetrators were ritualists or rapists, the police commissioner said: “It depends. The one we got has confessed to being a serial killer, who is also involved in raping and possibly ritual activities. We are trying to pick up his collaborators. Even though he admitted that he committed all these atrocities alone, we are trying to establish the motive behind all what he did. 

“We are also working on another theory that there must be people that are working hand-in-hand with him, especially in the area of doing rituals. But the suspect, who has been involved in the first three killings, who are in our custody is yet to give us a good response on the motive behind the killings that he carried out…?”

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