The killing of Olokose Ojo

BARELY six days to his wedding ceremony scheduled for March 12 and 13, Mr. Olokose Olusola Ojo, a member of staff of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, fell victim to a gruesome subterfuge by a trusted friend and neighbour who had volunteered to help him purchase a cow for the ceremony. Kazeem Mohammed, a native of Patigi in Kwara North Local Government Area of Kwara State, had assured Olokose that procuring a cow for the wedding at a relatively cheap rate wasn’t going to be a problem. Armed with the specified sum, they had both headed for Patigi to purchase the said cows. Unknown to Olokose, however, his so-called trusted friend, a jailbird and notorious felon who had in the past betrayed many people, including his compatriots in Patigi, had already arranged for members of his gang to lie in wait.

Posing as kidnappers, the gang seized the intending groom at a remote part of Patigi and shot him dead. The killers then removed vital parts of his body which Mohammed then used for money rituals. But they were not done yet: they contacted the victim’s family and obtained ransom to the tune of N1.3 million, ostensibly to secure his release. Having gained possession of his mobile phone, the attackers proceeded to access his bank account, from which they reportedly withdrew a huge amount of money, including the victim’s last salary. They also reportedly poured acid on the body to hasten its decomposition, then buried it in a shallow grave. According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Kwara State Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, on behalf of the state Commissioner of Police, the suspects arrested in connection with the incident are Mohammed Kazeem Belwa, the ring leader and the victim’s next-door neighbour and friend; Mohammad Chatta, Jimoh Abdulateef, and Madi Jeremiah, and they have confessed to the crime.

The statement reads: “I wish to inform the general public of the arrest of the leader of a kidnap gang, one Kazeem Mohammed of Patigi in Patigi Local Government Area of Kwara State who collected the sum of N160,000 from one Olokose Oluwasola Ojo, now deceased, under the guise of helping him buy a cow to be used on the deceased’s wedding scheduled to hold between 12th and 13th of March 2021. Since the victim left Ilorin with the suspect, he could no longer be reached by anybody, including his intending wife, one Ilori Oluwakemi. On 3/3/2021, the wife received a phone call from her husband’s line demanding N12 million ransom if she hoped to see her husband again. When the incident was reported, the Commissioner of Police directed an all-encompassing investigation into the matter, ordering the arrest of the kidnappers and the rescue of the victim unhurt at all costs.”

During the investigation, the police had reportedly paraded Mohammed before his own kinsmen, who were so outraged at his sight that they nearly lynched him for the serial frauds that he had committed against them before fleeing from the long arms of the law. Now that these felons are in police custody, it is hoped that they will get their just deserts for the crimes against humanity. This is a narrative that is grisly in its details and discouraging in its import. It is most disturbing that Mohammed didn’t have the littlest compassion for Olokose despite their friendship.  It is nevertheless important to take valuable lessons from the incident. Although trust is basic in all human interactions and relationships, there is nothing wrong with a dose of methodological scepticism. To all intents and purposes, the late Olokose reposed great trust in a serial felon. While this may have been due to the killer’s subterfuge, there is nothing wrong in exercising greater care in dealing with people.

Ideally, an intending groom leaves the kind of journey embarked upon by Olokose to someone else, but that also raises the question whether the killer would similarly not have killed whoever accompanied him on the ill-fated journey, being intent on bloodshed and diabolic commerce. What is not in doubt is the fact that the security situation in the country needs overhauling. While criminally-minded people will always embrace evil thoughts, there is no doubt that better security arrangements in the country could prevent them from actualising their plots.

We are deeply saddened by citizen Olokose Olusola Ojo’s gruesome killing and hope that his family and friends would have the fortitude to bear the great loss. Without doubt, hundreds if not thousands of people have been left devastated by the incident orchestrated by a lazy, money-grabbing criminal. We urge the Kwara State government to take active interest in the case and ensure that the killers get the maximum sentence allowed by law. Betrayers in the mould of Kazeem Mohammed should always get their comeuppance.

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