…a tale of woe and genocide at Ikire, Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State, a border town to Oyo State by men of the Nigerian Army.
A 29-year-old popular Baker in Ikire, Osun State, Kehinde Akinlabi, woke up Monday morning of October 26, 2020 to continue his normal engagement of the day. This father of three could not return to his family after a stray bullet hit him from the back inside Asupoto compound where he ran to, for safety.
He died 20 minutes after, at St. Jude hospital, Ikire where it was confirmed that bullets from the Nigerian Army had hit him very close to the heart, as his family and staff endlessly waited for his return.
At the time he died, Kehinde, a graduate of Mass Communication, had a two and half-year-old son. He was one of the innocent residents who were allegedly massacred in cold-blood by men of Nigerian Army, in a retaliatory mission in Ikire, Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State.
“What should I do? I have accepted my fate. What will you do when the powers that be crossed your path?” the depressing mother of Kehinde, Mrs Akinlabi, told DAILY POST. She sat on the mat at her husband’s compound while mourning her son.
But Taiwo, Kehinde’s twin brother narrated thus: “My late twin brother and I were bread bakers. We were staying in the same place. We operated the same purse and were doing almost everything together. On 26th October 2020, Kenny and I woke up in the morning to prepare to go to the family house because that is how we normally do before we go to work on a daily basis.
“But it happened that I had a flat tyre. I took the tyre to the vulcanizer, and he told me that the tyre had condemned. He recommended a new one. So I parked the car at the vulcanizer’s shop to get a new tyre at Apomu, a neighbouring town, while my twin brother had rushed down to the family house to check on our people.
“Immediately the shootings started, my twin brother was trying to trace me to where I was to confirm my safety. It got to a stage that he couldn’t move further, so he sought for cover in a nearby compound and that was where a stray bullet hit him on his back. We quickly rushed him to the hospital, and he eventually gave up the ghost after 20 minutes in the hospital,” Taiwo narrated.
The genesis: Earlier on Monday, October 26
Impeccable sources revealed that on October 26, at about 8am, some youths in Ikire protested against the monarch of the town, Oba Olatunde Falabi, of Lamboye ruling house, after a Supreme Court pronounced his removal as the king, but the state government has failed to implement up till date.
It was gathered that the youths had written a letter, informing the commissioner of Police in Osun State – signed by about 11-12 people – that they wanted to protest against the non implementation of the Supreme Court judgement on Akire Obaship title.
The youths, armed themselves with placards and canes, stormed the palace and beat the traditional chiefs they met, as they ordered the monarch to vacate the palace immediately.
After succeeding in chasing the monarch out of the palace, the youths continued the demonstration at the entrance of the palace. Every effort by the police to dispatch the irate youths proved abortive as they allegedly attacked the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) of the Nigeria police and forced it to leave the vicinity.
After the attempt by the Police to dispatch the protesters failed, some soldiers in a Hilux vehicle also attempted to calm the youths down, but the soldiers were also attacked, one of them was allegedly beaten while two rifles were reportedly seized from them.
“The restive youths started hurling stones at the soldiers and in the process, their Hilux car was stuck in the gutter while trying to avoid the mob. They were later overpowered by the youths,” an eyewitness narrated.
Soldiers on revenge mission ( The same day)
“At around noon on the same day, soldiers were mobilized to the town. The soldiers were on a revenge mission; they were shooting indiscriminately from all fronts.
“They were shooting directly at people even in their houses. Nobody was safe either on the streets or in the house.
“They slaughtered people with bayonet where bullets could not penetrate. They shot directly into whichever house they see light or hear phones ringing or hear any sound, we dare not switch on the light. They went inside houses to kill anybody noticed filming them,” sources told DAILY POST.
The Soldiers were also accused of destroying property including houses and vehicles belonging to some individuals.
A source who craved to be protected said his 19-year-old son was arrested alongside his friends around 1am by soldiers and was brutally tortured for allegedly taking a shell case even after the boys had returned it. The source further alleged that the soldiers jumped on his son and friends’ chests which according to the source led to the death of one of his son’s friends.
Even after a month of the Nigerian soldiers’ attack on the rustic community, DAILY POST observed that there is still palpable fear among residents of the town.
A video filmed at 8:37 AM on October 29, according to metadata and topography shows that Nigerian soldiers were present at Ikire.
According to the investigation conducted by this medium, many persons allegedly died of stray bullets, some were beheaded, others died as a result of direct shooting of residents, while many died after sustaining varying degrees of injuries as a result of torture by the soldiers.
It was further revealed that men of the Nigerian army allegedly took corpses of many of the victims away, while some of them who got away with the bullet wounds later died at their residence or in the hospital.
“In the evening of October 26, during a downpour, about three Hilux vehicles belonging to the Nigerian Army, along Olori-Oko area were loaded with corpses. I don’t know where they took them to.” a source who did not give his name told DAILY POST.
Some affected families told this medium that their family members have been missing since the men of the Nigerian Army came to the town.
DAILY POST went further to verify these claims by visiting some hospitals in three different Local Governments of Irewole in Ikire, Apomu and Ikoyi in Isokan Local Government and Ile-Ife.
Some hospitals confirmed that they received patients with bullet wounds at the period under review.
A man, Abiola Omoboriowo, told DAILY POST that someone broke the news that Opeyemi Omoboriowo Fatoba, his brother, was beheaded at Oke-Ola area, Ikire, while he was peacefully passing on his motorcycle.
A source who witnessed the killing told DAILY POST that the 35-year-old herbalist and father of three was shot several times before he was beheaded.
The source, who according to him was watching from afar narrated that, “He was on his motorcycle when the soldiers stopped him, then I think one of them ordered him to be going. Another soldier stopped him again and ordered him to step down from his motorcycle before he was shot. He was slaughtered by the soldiers when bullets could not penetrate his body.”
Omoboriowo was confirmed to be the first child of his parents, and the bread winner of the family since their father died three years ago.
“On that day, my brother and I were together with our mother. My brother told me he wanted to go to his house to be with his wife. He said he was going to pass through some shortcuts due to the unrest in the town.
“About 10 minutes later, some people called me and informed me that they were standing beside his motorcycle, adding that my brother had been killed by soldiers. I didn’t know what to say again than to call his wife. Despite the heavy rain, I had to go in search of my brother. I later discovered his motorcycle, slippers and blood at the spot.
“ I asked some individuals who witnessed the killing, and they told me that he came across those soldiers who instructed him to stop, which he did and later they said he should go but one of them asked him to wait, raised his hand and he shot at him three times, but the gun didn’t affect him. He used his jack-knife to slaughter him.
“I then called one of my friends, who is also a soldier, and he came from Lagos. We went to Ede barrack together in search of my brother with his photograph, and they told me that my brother is still alive, that they didn’t kill anybody.
“I tried his number several times and someone who identified himself as a soldier was picking the calls, telling me that my brother was in good condition that he was receiving treatment and responding very well. He even described the brand of his motorcycle. I told him that I found blood at the spot, and he said that he was not the only victim on that day,” Omoboriowo’s younger brother explained.
Recently, International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said her office had enough evidence to open a probe into human right abuses perpetrated by members of the Nigeria Security Forces (NSF).
ICC said its preliminary investigation into the situation in Nigeria has revealed that members of security forces in Nigeria are culpable of committing what she described as crimes against humanity and war crimes.
“We have also found a reasonable basis to believe that members of the Nigerian Security Forces (“NSF”) have committed the following acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes: murder, rape, torture, and cruel treatment; enforced disappearance; forcible transfer of population; outrages upon personal dignity; intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such and against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities; unlawful imprisonment; conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces and using them to participate actively in hostilities; persecution on gender and political grounds; and other inhumane acts,” part of the statement said.
The same October 26, in Ikire, was a terrible day in the family of Oyebamiji, as a mother, and her 8-year-old son, Abeeb, were hit by a stray bullet fired into their house at Iyana Egba, around 1 PM. The bullet entered through the door and pierced her lap and her fingers, and later hit her son in his ear. Her fingers have remained deformed due to the bullet.
The 35-year-old petty trader was later taken to the hospital after two hours.
“I was taken to the hospital by 3pm when the area was peaceful. Before we got to the hospital, we had to pass through different shortcuts.
“We couldn’t get to the primary health centre due to several roadblocks, so, we had to turn back to Isale Abata where we came across some soldiers, in which we had to hide inside a toilet till they left. I was later taken to another hospital but they rejected me. That was how I was taken to Oluyoro hospital in Oke Ola, Apomu”, she told DAILY POST.
A doctor who received Oyebamiji at Oluoro hospital, Apomu, the neighbouring town to Ikire confirmed to DAILY POST that he treated her of gunshot wound. The medical doctor explained that the hospital had to admit the patients to save their lives.
The hospital confirmed that they received Oyebamiji and one Olaniyi Sodiq, who was shot in the stomach. The doctor said the hospital did not admit Sodiq as his case was beyond their capacity.
Bullet hit Sodiq in my presence – Cousin
Sodiq, a 23-year-old plank dealer was killed at Iso Arobo, Ikire. He was living with his uncle identified as Alhaji Adeyemi. His cousin, Nurudeen Adeyemi, a phone accessories dealer, who witnessed the incident said both of them were on their way to shop in the afternoon when the bullet hit Sodiq.
Adeyemi, said they could not save Sodiq’s life due to sporadic shootings and attendant panic in the town, which lasted for several hours.
“We thank Almighty Allah that Sodiq Oyeyemi’s corpse was not taken away by the soldiers”, Adeyemi concluded.
Soldiers took my brother’s body away – Jamiu
Jamiu Oladeji, 35, was at home when he got a call that his brother, Olaide Oladeji, 32, was hit by soldiers’ stray bullet at Oja-Ale market while playing lotto.
“He was hit by stray bullet when the soldiers were shooting around the town. After then, those individuals who wanted to rescue him could not do so due to sporadic gunshots.
“I was told that It was the soldiers that later carried his corpse away inside their vehicle. We went to Osun State Police Command, Osogbo, in search of his corpse but to no avail.” Jamiu told DAILY POST.
Ogungbemi held his intestines till death
Another victim, Tajudeen Ogungbemi, a motorcyclist, was allegedly shot at Oja-Ale.
The 62-year-old father of three went home with bullets in his abdomen before he died on the same October 26, at home. Ogungbemi went for his daily job when soldiers shot at him, an eyewitness confirmed to DAILY POST.
“We were seeing the whole scene from the storey building we live. The man did not do anything, everyone was running for cover, unfortunately, there was nowhere he could hide. He was shot while equally running to safety,” eyewitness told this reporter.
”Ogungbemi went back home, holding his intestine with bare hands. He couldn’t go to any hospital since shootings were ongoing in all parts of the town. He later died of the bullet injury.
Ogungbemi’s nephew, Kehinde Rasheed, who was living with him said one of their neighbours called to inform him that his uncle had been shot. Rasheed narrated, “On getting home, I met my uncle holding his intestine in his hand. I heard he was coming home on his bike on that fateful day before he was shot at by the rampaging soldiers, he was in that position till death.
“We are pained and extremely sad by his gruesome murder, unfortunately, we can’t do anything because we can’t face the soldiers, all we have to do is to leave them for God,” Rasheed told DAILY POST.
We can’t find my nephew’s remains – Late Jide Bashiru’s uncle
Bashiru’s uncle explained that his nephew has been missing since the the day of the shooting in Ikire. He told DAILY POST that Bashiru’s sister later informed him that he has been allegedly killed by soldiers.
“I became Bashiru’s father since their biological father who is my brother died. So Jide is my son. We are unable to find his corpse since the day of the incident. I was in my house when his younger sister called me on phone that his brother had been missing.
Later, someone told us that that Jide had been killed by the solider. We have been grieving since then. I am now taking care of their mother and consoling her of the incident.
“There is one of my friends at Oke Alakire who was also shot while he went to empty his bowel beside the banana tree. The place was behind his house. Bullet hit him when he was coming from the toilet. Horrible smell coming from the place attracted the people which made them to check before they found his corpse.”
DAILY POST could not get further details on the story of Bashiru’s uncle about his friend who was allegedly killed inside banana platantion. But multiple sources informed this reporter about the incident.
A stray Bullet hit a teenager
A 15-year-old Toheeb Kazeem was hit by a stray bullet at Iyana Oni Maluu, Lakosin area, Ikire while going inside the house after hearing a gunshot. Kazeem, an SS2 student of Gbongan Grammar School, Osun State who was in the community to collect his school fee from his father in Ikire was hit by bullet in the lap three days after his arrival.
Alimat told DAILY POST that she and her brother, Kazeem sat in front of their house when she heard a gunshot. “I and toheeb were upstair when we heard gunshots and we decided to go inside. I just noticed that he couldn’t leave his position, suddenly he fell on the ground and I decided to lift him up because we thought that he just fell not knowing that he had been hit by stray bullet. I had to call for help when I saw the bullet wound.”
Kazeem’s father who is a driver further told this reporter that he rushed his teenage son to St. Jude’s hospital in Ikire where they were later referred to Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital in Ile-Ife.
“When we got to the hospital, the doctors said that they didn’t have the chance to go out and get drugs and he was later referred to the General Hospital in Ife. We are still on it since then. I have spent almost N 330,000 on his treatment.”
My son died after beaten by soldiers
Dauda Wahab, 39, according to his father, Wahab Oladejo, was a student of the University of Ilorin but was at home due to ASUU strike.
On October 27, Wahab told DAILY POST that he sent his son, Dauda on an errand to his friend at Olufinrin area in Ikire when soldiers attacked him.
“Dauda was attacked by soldiers when he was passing through the compound. He did not notice the soldiers arrival because he was chatting with one of his friends in the compound. The soldiers beat Dauda and his friend on the street after they captured them in the premises. My son died at Oluyoro hospital at Apomu after some days.”
Ridwan Ayoade hit by soldier’s bullet – mother
Motunrayo, Ayoade’s mother told this investigating team how he found his 21-year-old son in the pool of his blood after returning from Ibadan, Oyo State.
“I came back from Ibadan, I was told that Ridwan was hit by gun on his lap when he wanted to enter the house. He cannot walk with his leg yet.”
Ayoade is still down at a local wound clinic (name withheld). Speaking with this medium, Ayoade said he was outside their house with other people when they saw army van coming. “I wanted to run to the house when the bullet hit me at the door.
“It was those who were around at the time of occurrence that helped me and took him to the hospital. My mother was not around,” Ayoade said.
Meanwhile, the state government has refused to speak on the issue of killing, but the Chief Press Secretary to Oba Falabi, the embattled king, Chief Falana Muritala said the palace was not aware of any killing. He said the soldiers came to restore peace in the town.
Chief Falana who is also the Aare omo of Ikire Land affirmed that they received a letter that some people wanted to protest over the non implementation of the Supreme Court judgement on Akire Obaship title.
He said, “On 26th of October, 2020, more than 100 hoodlums came to the palace, they came en mass around 9:30am with dangerous weapon. They attacked all the chiefs and Kabiesis. They sent everybody out of the palace. They injured some of us and along the line, some of us who were injured were in the hospital especially myself. So, I couldn’t know how the military came in, but ordinarily, the military are invited by the government to make peace. It was simultaneously the period of Endsars, knowing fully well that what is happening in Ikire could be End SARS Saga in order to avert the escalation.
“They came to the town to make peace. The first set of military that came to the town were disarmed by the hoodlums. They took their guns, their weapons and burnt their Hilux vehicle. From the information available to us, they took two guns.
“We don’t know how the soldiers mobilize themselves into the town and also we at the palace level are not aware of any killing in the town. I have not seen any dead body with my two eyes. I only read it in the media that there were killings because we were chased away by the hoodlums. So it is military that can answer if there was any dead body,” Chief Falana told DAILY POST.
The Osun State Police Command claimed the command did not know anything apart from the signal sent by the Ikire Division in the early hours of October 26. The Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, asserted that the division called for reinforcement of police after its attempt to restore peace failed.
Contacting the Nigerian Army, the Public Relations Officer, Colonel Sagir Musa, promised to respond to the allegations. But the army failed to react following days of calls, text messages to follow up on the promised response.