Ila Orangun, a sleepy ancient community in Osun State, was recently thrown into shock when some hoodlums overpowered and killed Taiwo Hammed, an okadaman carting away his motorcycle. When AKINWALE ABOLUWADE visited the town, the family expressed their anguish and insisted that justice must be done.
Kehinde Hammed is an emotional wreck at the moment. She gapes into the atmosphere looking forlorn and absent-minded. Life, for her, is a big tragedy, too hard for a young lady in her twenties to bear. Kehinde has just lost her husband to death in a grievous circumstance that is most horrifying and saddening.
She manages to control herself but can hardly suppress her hurts and heaviness. For an expectant mother who just received the news of the gruesome killing of her husband by some bloodthirsty hoodlums, her burden begins with concern for the growing foetus in her womb. Her bitterness cascades down her body like a corrosive poison causing her to shiver. Apart from the pain of losing her husband, she will soon face the burden of being a lone parent.
Her husband, Taiwo, was reportedly hacked down on August 5 this year by some merciless messengers of death that specialised in snatching commercial motorcycles popularly called okada. And just as the spirit of her dead husband cries for vengeance, the widow, her mother-in-law, Mrs Hammed and the deceased’s kinsmen are also calling for justice.
Some relatives of the deceased, who converged on their Oke Ola family house when Saturday Tribune visited during the week, said they would stop at nothing to ensure that they got justice on the matter. Taiwo’s aunt, Mrs Mopelola Adewole, said that the family had not known rest since the incident occurred. “Unless justice takes its course on the suspects they may turn back to visit greater havoc on the people calling for justice.”
The tragedy happened late afternoon on Sunday, August 5. As the story goes, Taiwo who resides at Iperin community, Ila Orangun in Ila Local Government area of Osun State had dropped his wife off at his parents’ home at Oke Ola. Unknown to the couple that it was their last meeting ever, Taiwo had assured his wife that he would come and pick her up for home by 6pm that day. But the plan was never to be as her husband was nowhere to be found at the agreed time.
After waiting for some time, she said: “I decided to go home to prepare dinner. His friends and mother said he must have probably taken some passengers to a neighbouring village and would soon be back. But in such cases he usually called to inform me that he would be back late. He never stayed longer than 8pm. I was disappointed that my husband failed to come and pick me home from his mother’s house as planned, because it was unusual of him but I never sensed that it involved life”.
Kehinde and her mother-in-law said they thought that his motorcycle could have developed a fault. She went home to prepare the dinner. She decided to watch a movie pending when her husband would arrive. But the waiting was longer than expected as minutes stretched to hours. She was very worried when, at 9pm, her hubby had not arrived.
She alerted family members through telephone calls and a search party was launched to comb the town in search of the young man. That night at the Idi Igba Police Station, Ila Grammar School area in Ila Orangun, they had an inkling that something bad might have happened to Taiwo. It was later confirmed that the case that was earlier reported had to do with Taiwo. The sleepy community was in shock when the news was broken. Wailing cries of family members cut through the dark and silent night.
In a jiffy, news of the tragedy went wild and viral like a wild fire in the harmattan. People converged in groups and discussed the topic in hushed tone. They scouted for details of the story. And in no time more facts unfolded.
An unsuspecting young man had approached Taiwo, a commercial motorcyclist to take him to Osolo farm on the outskirts of the town in the evening on Sunday. The bargain was attractive. Some okada riders at the park said that the deceased rode with the passenger at about 4pm. When interrogated, Opeyemi Adeyinka (Oladosu), one of the suspected killers who was paraded by the Osun State Police Command, Osogbo, said that the okadaman was hacked to death with an axe.
The deceased reportedly bought his bike only six months ago so the hoodlums were attracted to the fairly new bike. Oladosu who hinted that it was the seventh motorcycle that they had snatched since they started the illicit trade, said their mission was not to kill but to snatch Taiwo›s motorcycle. It was learnt that they decided to kill the young man because they discovered that he knew one of them.
The suspects, Isiaka Azees a.k.a Sikobe, Adeyinka and Kayode (surname not confirmed) reportedly fled to Ado Ekiti where they initially planned to sell the motorcycle. They were said to have escaped to Ile-Ife in Osun State when the bubble burst at Ado Ekiti as news filtered that some hoodlums had murdered a bikeman and snatched his bike in Ila. But the gang ran out of luck at Ile Ife as Kayode was said to have been crushed to death by a truck while trying to sell the stolen motorcycle It was that accident that exposed them to the police.
When they were paraded, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Folasade Odoro, who advised okada riders to be vigilant by screening the passengers carefully before carrying them, said Adeyinka and Azees confessed to the crime and would be arraigned after investigation had been concluded.
The deceased’s family is still agonising over the death of their son, Taiwo. They said that their wish was to see the killers of their son put to death. Mrs Hammed said that “My misfortune is much and my loss is irreparable. My son was as gentle as a dove. He could not hurt a fly but was hardworking. As you have heard from family members, he was killed in the cause of trying to find his daily bread. All I want is justice. The killers of my son must not go unpunished”.
The deceased’s uncle, Chief Lawal Ganiyu, who recalled that he saw Taiwo a day before he was murdered, described the incident as heart-rending, saying: “I saw him on Saturday, he even bought me ‘akara’(bean cake). Taiwo was loved by all. He had no close friend but he was jovial and friend to all”.
One of his close acquaintances, Mr Razaq Jimoh, said having been faced with the fact of Taiwo’s murder, family and friends were making efforts to recover the stolen motorcycle from the police so that the family could decide the next step regarding his wife’s welfare. Mrs Adewole later confirmed that her brother, Lukman alongside others, retrieved the deceased’s motorcycle from the police on Tuesday.
Hammed’s family is below average. Findings by Saturday Tribune showed that Taiwo’s father, Saka, died a few years ago as a result of a protracted sickness. Taiwo’s eldest brother has been battling cerebral palsy from birth, a condition that ate deep into the family’s finances.
Taiwo, in an attempt to make ends meet, cultivated a farm, was selling building materials and engaged in transportation business (okada riding). As the Hammed family grieve over their loss, the suspects families, also in Ila Orangun, continued to nurse the agony of trouble into which their sons have plunged their homes.
At the time of filing this report, the Hammed family said it was shocking that the suspects’ families had not deemed it fit to come and commiserate with them over their ordeal.
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