“Immediately it was 12 midnight, my mother called to greet me ‘happy new year.’ I didn’t know it would be our last interaction”

“Immediately it was 12 midnight, my mother called to greet me ‘happy new year.’ I didn’t know it would be our last interaction”

ON Saturday December 31, 2022, just before 12 midnight struck to usher in 2023, 57-year- old Madam Kemi Okeseeyin danced inside Saint John’s Anglican Church, Akinmoorin in Oyo State, thanking her Maker for the opportunity of being alive. Little did she know that she would just have a bite of the new year for a few minutes.

As the clock struck at midnight, she joined others in shouting “happy new year,” but less than two hours after, the happiness turned to sadness for her family, friends, sons and daughters of the town.

A 26-year-old, identified as Tayo, was alleged to have run over innocent people at the town Square and crushed some of them to death with his Toyota Camry (Muscle) car with registration number EKY 714 HP, while others were critically injured.

Though Tayo initially escaped, it was learnt that he called one of the indigenes to tell him where he was. He was reportedly picked up and taken to Jobele police station in a tinted car so that the irate mob would not descend on him. From there, he was taken to a safer security zone distant from Jobele.

Before then, his younger brother, Moses, two of his friends and an Akinmoorin dweller who aided his escape had been apprehended by the people of the town and handed over to the police. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING….

One of the eyewitnesses said that before running over the victims, the suspect allegedly threatened: “I will kill people (maa pa’yan), I will shed blood (maa gb’eje, I will drink blood (maa m’eje).”

On Wednesday, January 4, Saturday Tribune was in the town which has links with Jobele, where the murder suspect comes from. Other adjoining towns are Awe, Ilora, Fiditi, Imini and Iware. It could be seen that the Akinmoorin indigenes were in a sad mood. It has been difficult for them to take it that their friends and relatives who they were rejoicing with in the new year met their untimely death in their domain less than two hours into it.

The burnt remains of the suspect’s car which crushed the victims were seen at the scene.

At the palace of the traditional ruler, the Amoorin of Akin- moorin, Oba Olayemi Iyiola Solomon, told Saturday Tribune how it happened.

“On December 31, 2022, my people went to church in preparation for praising God for crossing into a new year. I was on bed at home. At about 2pm, I heard a loud wailing and asked a security guard with me about what was happening. He told me that the vehicle of a Yahoo guy from Jobele deliberately ran over my people and crushed them to death after threatening that he wanted to drink blood.

“It was a time Christians came out from churches and to celebrate the new year together. I learnt that he was just speeding around the town and he was cautioned. I didn’t know what happened between yahoo guys before the killer said he wanted to drink blood. He is a grandson to late traditional leader (Baale) of Jobele. I learnt that after threatening, he got into his car, drove to a filling station at a short distance and made a turn.

“As he was approaching where people gathered, some discuss- ing among themselves and others enjoying in the celebratory mood, he was said to have switched off his headlights, crossed a narrow and not-so-deep drainage by the roadside and ran into the gathered crowd. If some of them had not been lucky to escape, the casualty would have been more.

“In the morning, I went with chiefs and youths to the scene. It was horrible and heart-rending.”
Past incidents

According to the king: “A drunk Yahoo boy in Jobele once destroyed the chief hunter’s statue erected at the town centre as an honour in memory of the hunter who emigrated from Gbagura to found/establish Akinmoorin.

The erected circle around it was not spared. Till today, we are yet to erect another one.

“An elderly woman in Akinmoorin was also crushed to death by a Jobele man. This is the third time, and my people were killed. As I’m talking to you, we have buried those who died. The victims were from Oyo town and other places. Jobele has not come to us since the occurrence but other surrounding towns and communities have come to commiserate with us. I don’t want such a thing to happen here again.”

Saying that Yahoo boys are widely known to kill for renewal of money rituals, the monarch said that such would not be allowed in Akinmoorin. “You can’t kill one of us and go scot-free.

“We won’t allow the Yahoo boys to renew their money rituals with the blood of our people in Akinmoorin,” the monarch said.

On what preceded the incident, Oba Solomon said that there was no fight as people who gathered from surrounding communities to celebrate the new year were just enjoying themselves. Also on the claim that the murder suspect must have been drunk, he said that should not be a factor in deliberately running over people.

“Many people take alcohol, but it is unheard of that a drunkard would leave his house and drive his car over people sitting in their own abode. Yahoo boys kill people for money ritual renewal. The suspect’s mission was to kill, and he achieved it.”

He disclosed that a son of the town who helped the principal suspect to escape by ferrying him into safety was also arrested as an accomplice.

“The indigenes who were indignant wanted to kill him but I appealed to them. The killer’s three friends who came with him to the scene of the incident were initially apprehended by my people, followed by our indigene who aided his initial escape, before he gave himself up by calling one of us to tell him where he was.”

It was learnt that one of the corpses at the scene had yet to be identified.

A retired Director of Education and current chairman of Akin- moorin Descendants Union (ADU), Mr Paul Majesty Aworinde, said that he witnessed part of happenings in the early hours of the new year.

According to him, “Every year, our people come from different parts of the country to celebrate the new year with their kith and kin, but this year’s own turned into sadness.

“Late on December 31, 2022, I was there as music was being played and we were all rejoicing. The people at the square would be above 300. It was, however, noticed that some yahoo boys were driving around recklessly. They were stopped and cautioned, and told to be careful of those sitting around.

“At about 11:30pm, I locked my shop and left for church. In the morning at about 7am, I met a multitude wailing. Our people were enraged by what the suspect reportedly said about drinking blood.”

He repeated what the traditional ruler said, emphasising the need for the Akinmoorin people to prevent further occurrence. “Even if he had a quarrel with some of his friends, were the two women and the boy that died fighting with him? Or others? We have not been told what really happened. This young man from Jobele has a barber’s shop in his community.

The car he drove to crush our people was a new one. He just built a hostel which he wanted to declare open with fanfare. He had already bought a cow. How did he get the money?

“We suspect that he wanted to renew money ritual when he declared that he wanted to drink blood, and he accomplished his mission. Many of them abound. This is the time to save ourselves. Enough of the killing of our people. For the friendship between Akinmoorin and Jobele to continue, we demand justice. If anyone uses power or influence to subvert justice, it will lead to another thing. It is already dawn for a masquerade dancing naked,” he said.

One of the witnesses of the incident, Mr Dele Olasupo, gave his narration thus: “At about 11:30pm on December 31, four young men came out of a car and sat by a car wash stand op- posite the Square. Not long after, there was a quarrel among them. Some elderly people urged them to settle it. They went into their car and drove towards Jobele. At 11:45pm, I left for church and returned at about 12:25am on January 1. I saw the guys had also returned. I went to toilet and came back to see another quarrel. I was told that that youngman came back to the Square with reckless speed which met frowns and disap- proval. He was said to have insulted one person. What I caught him saying was ‘you want to beat me, T-Fresh, at Akinmoorin? Ah! I will kill someone, I will shed blood. I want to drink blood.’ He went to his car boot and brought out a metal object. I moved back. Someone held him to prevent him from harming anyone and the object fell from his hand. He went to take his car key from one of his friends and in anger drove towards a filling station ahead. He made a turn, moved slowly and switched off his headlights. On getting close to the central mosque in the area, he stepped hard on the accelerator with the lights still switched off. That was how he ran over people seated there until he hit a mud house.

“We started running helter skelter to save the crushed people. Bodies were strewn on the ground. We didn’t know whether to pursue the driver or his friends. One of the de- ceased, a woman, had her back to the approaching vehicle, discussing with her brother’s wife when they got crushed. Our people pursued and caught the three friends and we tied them with a rope. We called security agents and Amotekun came and helped us to take the eight casualties to the hospital. We were with them. Two were first declared dead on our arrival.

“Amotekun also helped to keep the three friends we appre- hended in custody before they were later handed over to the police. One of the female victims had spinal cord injury and was referred to Ogbomoso hospital with a young male victim. On getting to Ogbomoso, the female victim had yet to be admit- ted when she breathed her last. She was buried on Tuesday.”

He said that apart from the eight taken to the hospital by Akinmoorin indigenes, others were taken away by their rela- tives. “We don’t know if they survived or not. We are only sure of the eight we took to the hospital, out of which three died. We have collected their death certificates.,” he stated.

The son of one of the deceased, called Kayode Ogunwemi- mo, who said he was in Awe at the time of the incident, dis- closed that he sent money to his mother in the evening of December 31 when he couldn’t fulfil her desire for him to come celebrate the new year with her. “Immediately it was 12 mid- night, my mother called to greet me ‘happy new year.’ I didn’t know it would be our last interaction until my sibling called to tell me what happened.”

Next was a visit to the traditional leader of Jobele town, Chief Isaiah Sunday Oyerinde Okesanya to know how he got the news. Chief Okesanya said that he was called by the king of Akinmoorin that a Jobele son had killed his people.

“It is saddening, and we have not been able to to visit the place because of the fear that we might be attacked in revenge of the killing. However, I call the Amoorin regularly. This hap- pening is so shocking because we are same with our people in Akinmoorin,” the Baale said.
The traditional leader confirmed the presence of Yahoo boys in the town, which he said was just like in other towns and cities. “They are many in this town like other places, and I always counsel them and their parents. But they usually laugh over it,” he said.

It was learnt that the case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, Ibadan, for further investigation.

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