Saturday 22 April 2023

‘My Regrets’: Suspect Who Lynched Uber Driver In Ondo •Piggy bank mistaken for coffin, underwears belong to me – Wife

Easter Monday of every year will remain indelible and bring back sad memories to the family of Temitayo Olorunfemi, the 25 year old Uber driver, who was gruesomely stoned to death by some Okada drivers and hoodlums, at ljoka area, Akure, the Ondo state capital.

Temitope, was lynched by the irate mob after he was accused of being an internet fraudster, otherwise known as “Yahoo boy”, having crushed four persons on Okada to death. The mob didn’t spare his vehicle, as it was set ablaze.

An eyewitness who gave a graphic description of the ugly incident said that “the auto crash occurred when the driver of the car who was on top speed rammed into other road users as the car suddenly skidded off its lane and crushed the victims, who were on commercial motorcycles and tricycles.

“The driver had first rammed into a commercial motorcyclist and his passenger at the Ijo Mimo Bus Stop, but refused to stop, and in the bid to escape, crushed three others on motorcycles and a tricycle.

“On his way to Sunday Bus Stop, the driver, who did not sustain any injury, was trying to escape the scene before he was caught by some youths, most of whom were commercial motorcyclists, who descended on him.

“The mob became more infuriated when they discovered some fetish substances and items inside the car, raising suspicion that he was a “Yahoo Boy.

“Following the discovery of the items, the mob beat and stoned him to death.

Seven suspects nabbed, four paraded by police

Four principal suspects out of the seven apprehended by the detectives in the state police command, have been paraded. Police spokesperson, Funmi Odunlami, while parading the suspects said “last week Monday, we had a case of jungle justice in Akure in which a young man who was driving along Ijoka road had an accident and unfortunately killed one commercial motorcyclist and injured six others. Unfortunately, those who were around and ought to have helped, resorted to jungle justice. Some of these people have been arrested. Seven people are in custody but four principal suspects are here.

“Jungle justice is illegal, it’s against the law. There is a reason why there is the police. It’s wrong for anybody snuffing life out of anyone under the guise that the person had killed someone else.

“We are not through with the arrest of suspects. Some suspects are still at large. After investigation, all suspects involved will be charged with arson and murder.”

Principal suspect confesses

One of the four suspects paraded, a painter, Amos Victor, 30 years, said that he actually participated in the act because he was moved by the deaths of those who were crushed to death by the deceased.

According to him “On getting to the scene of the incident, the deceased had been beaten to a pulp and he had been soaked in his own blood.

“The okada riders beat him mercilessly. I didn’t even know those that stoned him. I was moved by the deaths of those that he killed and that made me to pick up a stone and hit him on the head.

“I didn’t even know that he was the younger brother of my friend. When I gave him some punches, he held on to my leg and in order to release myself from his grip before he could drag me into the drainage, I tried to choke him holding his neck.

“It’s true that I saw a small coffin and tortoise inside the car before it was burnt. But I was no longer there when the car was set ablaze.

“I was not arrested by the police. I went to report myself at Ala Police station when my picture was being circulated as being one of those who participated in the beating.

“I told the police that I beat and stoned him but I did not kill him.”

Three other suspects denied killing victim

Another suspect, Samuel Olatunji, 20, in his testimony said “I did not know anything about the incident. They lied against me that I was among those that beat the deceased.

“I know nothing about the incident. I was arrested at Davoc, Ijoka. I’m a barber and they came to arrest me in my shop. I was in my shop when the incident happened but I went to the place briefly.

“I didn’t touch the deceased all through.”

Also speaking, Ismaila Durotoye, 32, said “I was never at the scene of the incident. I’m an okada rider. The police arrested me at Intercontinental axis in Akure.

“When the incident happened, I was carrying passengers at Oda road but I stay at Ijoka.”

The fourth suspect, Pelumi Farotimi, 42, said “I was not at home throughout that day. I work with the Ondo State Park Management and I’m the unit secretary.

“I was actually at Benin Garage on that very day when the incident happened.”

I watched my son stoned to death —Mother

The mother of the victim, a Cocoa merchant, Mrs Olorunfemi Mojisola and the victim’s elder brother, Oyindamola who rushed to the scene to rescue him, were almost lynched by the irate mob.

It was the timely intervention of the police detectives that saved them from receiving same treatment.

Madam Mojisola, while speaking after she was rescued by the police detectives, dismissed the insinuation that his son was an internet fraudster.

According to her “his father bought him a vehicle about three years ago and he began as a Uber driver. His wife is here with me in Akure. They came to Akure from Lagos for the Easter celebration.

“When he arrived I noticed he was emaciated. When I asked him, he said the Lagos stress was just too much for him. Later his wife told him they should return to Lagos but he said he still wanted to stay behind and was not ready to travel. 

“On Monday morning, it was his father that called me and said they were beating our son (Tope). By the time I got there, he was in a pool of blood, his face was on the ground.

“I called his name, he raised his head and looked at my face. I asked his siblings to help me carry him to a hospital but the people there hit me with sticks and said I must not carry him.

“That was how someone from the crowd poured petrol on him, lit a cloth and threw it at him. I ran there and picked the cloth up and threw it away.

“Someone said they should hit me with sticks again; they said, ‘Who is this woman?’ I said he was my son and begged them to help me carry him.

“Someone threw the burning cloth at him again, but he took the cloth and threw it away himself because it was already burning him.

“As he threw the cloth away, there was one tall man, his name is Luku; Luku is a friend to Tope’s elder brother. Tope’s elder brother shouted at Luku that Tope was his younger brother, but Luku pushed him away; he carried a stick and hit Tope’s head in my presence.

“Another man, Jobe, also carried a stone and hit his face. I left there crying when I realised I was helpless. They said they saw a snake in his car. I said where was the snake, because I didn’t see any.

“They said they saw a piggy bank and children’s clothes; they were his wife’s and child’s clothes that he left in the car that they saw.

“He was not a Yahoo boy. All what they claimed to have found inside my son’s vehicle were tissues of lies. My son had been a hustler since his childhood.

“He had engaged in many menial jobs like bricklaying before he grew up to start doing this driving job. All I want from the government is justice. 

“The government should help me to bring those people who deliberately killed my son to book. Someone said in the video that he was arrogant and that he could not even afford what my son was wearing.

“The case should be handled thoroughly. They were saying he was a Yahoo boy because whenever they see a young guy with a big car, they believe he is a Yahoo boy.

“His father is rich, he has a big cocoa company in Akure with four trucks he uses for his cocoa business.

“The people around there that were saying he had an apartment he rented for some guys who were doing Yahoo for him are lying, because he did not stay in Akure. He was based in Lagos and was an Uber driver.

:They were only saying that because they were envious. He was only a hustler, a Uber driver.”

Piggy bank mistaken for coffin, underwears belong to me – Wife

The wife of the victim, Mosunmola Bosede, who is nursing a child less than six months, said “my husband was to return to Lagos where he was working as a Uber driver before his life was cut short.

“The piggy bank, utensils and women’s underwears found in his vehicle belonged to me. The killers of my husband should be made to face the full wrath of the law. They’ve killed my joy”.

Ondo govt kicks against jungle justice

In his reaction, the state Acting governor Lucky Ayedatiwa, said “the situation where people resort to jungle justice on one flimsy excuse or the other, especially on allegations of internet scam, laced with ritual killing, commonly referred to as Yahoo Plus is worrisome.

“The government condemns the incident in strong terms and all those found culpable will be made to face the full wrath of the law. While the government does not condone criminality in whatever guise, it also does not subscribe to people taking laws into their own hands”.

Stakeholders kick, lament upsurge of jungle justice

Critical stakeholders in the state have blamed commercial motorcyclists for the upsurge of jungle justice in the state. A youth advocate, Mr Yemi Fasipe in an open letter said: “this letter was informed by the proclivity of commercial motorcycle riders in resorting to mob action whenever the least accident occurs between them and motorists.

“The lynching of 25-year-old Tope Olorunfemi in the Ijoka area of Akure on Sunday, April 10, 2023, underscored the security threat that Okada riders pose to innocent vehicle owners and successful youthful entrepreneurs across the Sunshine State.

“Regrettably, the preposterous mindset and perception of nearly all the commercial motorcyclists in Ondo State is that all the successful youths in Ondo State are ritualists.

“It was this same mindset that propelled the Okada riders to brutally snuff life out of Tope Olorunfemi. Painfully, one of the Okada riders was caught on video telling his fellow Okada riders at the lynching scene that any young man that wears an outfit that is worth N150,000 must be a ritualist.

“This mindset of the Okada riders indeed spoke volumes of their unfounded claim that the lynched young man was a ritualist. All the claims that fetish items were found in his burnt car could not be substantiated with pictorial or video evidence.

“After all, the lynched Tope Olorunfemi was only rushing down to his parent’s house to settle a fight between them. Even if not for the timely intervention of the police, the disputing parents of late Tope Olorunfemi that rushed down to the scene were almost lynched by these same commercial motorcyclists.

“I will strongly advise that all the killers of late Tope Olorunfemi should all be fished out and diligently prosecuted to serve as deterrence to other bloodthirsty Okada riders in the Sunshine State.

“Also, the leadership of the Okada union across Ondo State must be made to sign fresh undertakings that their members will no longer resort to mob action whenever an Okada-motorist accident occurs in any part of the state.” 

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