Kolade Gbadebo, a 27-year-old student of the University of Ibadan, went to eat at Sabo area of Oyo town, Oyo State on Friday, December 18 but never returned home. He was gunned down by officers of the Southwest Security network codenamed Amotekun.
“At 7:45 pm, he spoke with our mum who was not feeling fine and promised to return home once school closes on Friday,” Gbadebo Habeeb, Kola’s younger brother, told HumAngle.
After initial denial by officials of Amotekun that no one was killed, Olayinka Olayanju, a retired Colonel and Commandant of the security network on Saturday, December 26, confirmed that his men shot dead a resident in the town.
“On Sunday 20th December 2020, at about 0040hrs ( past 12 midnight), a mobile patrol team of Amotekun operatives from Oyo East and Atiba Local Government Areas ran into an illegal roadblock mounted around Sabo area in Oyo town, opposite old Isale Oyo Community Bank along the Oyo-Ogbomoso expressway,” Olayanju was quoted as saying in a statement.
“While the team was attempting to clear the barricade to facilitate a smooth passage for interstate commercial vehicles plying the road, a group of armed men, suspected to be robbers, fired at the Amotekun operatives and a gun duel ensued. In the process, one of the robbers, nicknamed Akin Sarz, was neutralised and two other gang members were arrested at the scene with a locally-made pistol with cartridges.”
“The men of Nigeria Police from Atiba were called to the scene while Amotekun operatives handed over the two arrested armed robbers along with the corpse of Akin Sarz to men of the Atiba police. The Atiba police later handed over the surviving gang members to the State CID, Iyangaku for further investigation.
“Preliminary investigation conducted at Atiba Police Post revealed the identity of the deceased as a student of the Federal College of Education Special (SPED), Oyo and a known cultist. The gang members confirmed that the deceased was their leader and that they had been terrorising the general area of Afijio and Oyo town for some time.”
In the statement issued by the Commandant of the security network, he claimed that Kola was shot “on Sunday 20th December 2020, at about 0040hrs ( past 12 midnight)”, however, multiple eyewitnesses explained that the incident occurred on the night of Friday, December 18.
Habeeb, the deceased’s younger brother put his death time at 10:27 pm on Friday night.
“We have heard rumours they (Amotekun) said that my brother was killed at 4 am on Sunday. It’s false. He was killed at 10.27 pm on Friday night,” Habeeb noted.
An eyewitness who did not want to be named for his personal safety but was one of those present at the Sabo area of Oyo on Friday night when officers of Amotekun stormed the place in two red-coloured Hilux vans and several motorcycles gave an insight into what happened that night.
“Sabo is a very busy place at night. When we sighted the Amotekun guys, we started hailing them ‘Amotekun squad, Amotekun squad’, but the moment they alighted from their vehicles they started shooting sporadically into the air,” he said.
He explained that the moment he and other residents heard the gunshots, they scampered to safety but Kola was not lucky.
“Kola moved to Sabo area because the Caretaker of the house he lived locked the house as he could not afford his rent about a month ago,” he said.
The eyewitness refuted the claim that the deceased and others mounted roadblock on the express road.
“The claim that Kola and some other guys mounted a barricade on the road and were the one shooting is not true. I swear to God, it is false; but since they are the government we can’t do anything. The reason why a lot of people are not coming out to talk is that Amotekun officers are searching for those present at the scene that day,” he said.
“Since the occurrence, I have been hiding in a village.”
After bagging an NCE certificate from the Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, in 2015, the late Kola started a four-year degree program at the affiliated campus of the University of Ibadan in Oyo. He was until his death a final year student of Education Management/Mathematics.
His immediate younger brother, Habeeb, is a part three student of the College of Education. “I was waiting for him to complete his degree so that I can start mine,” he told HumAngle in a creaky voice.
“I was at our home in Ibadan when I got a call that my brother had been killed. Our Dad fainted immediately.”
But he and his uncle who went to Oyo town the following day to confirm the incident were threatened by officers of Amotekun at their office.
“The next day, I and my dad’s junior brother left Ibadan for Oyo and went to the office of Amotekun at Atiba local government secretariat. But on getting there, they didn’t give us any attention,” he said.
“In fact, they corked a gun at us and told us to go to Atiba police station. At Atiba police station, they told us to go and identify the deceased at the General Hospital, which we did before returning to the police station.”
However, when the deceased family returned to the office of Amotekun in the town and the Atiba Police station, they were told to go to the Police Headquarters at Iyaganku in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
At Iyaganku, he narrated how Jamiu Razak, the deputy head of Amotekun in the state, who was one of the officers who led the invasion, told the family that the deceased shot at the officers immediately they alighted from their vehicles, a claim that eyewitnesses strongly disputed.
“When we inspected my brother’s remain, we discovered he was shot at the back. If he was the one shooting how come the bullet hit him in the back?” Habib asked rhetorically.
“After confronting him, the Commandant then said what happened was that it was someone else who was shooting them but the bullet hit my brother mistakenly.”
Asked whether the family would take legal action against the security outfit, Habeeb said: “We are yet to decide whether we will go court”.
When the incident happened, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the umbrella body of Nigerian students also accused the security outfit of killing one of its members.
It was reported by The Punch, that Mayowa Opakunle, the NANS Joint Campus Committee Chairman in Oyo State, said that Kolade was shot dead by the security officials some minutes after their arrival at the scene.
The NANS chairman who spoke in Ibadan said he and other student union leaders went to the Criminal Investigation Department at Iyaganku in Ibadan on Monday concerning the killing.
Opakunle said he met with the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of CID at Iyaganku and he told him that the case was reported as robbery and cultism.
“We want the police to investigate the matter thoroughly and Governor Seyi Makinde said during the inauguration that he should be held responsible for any crime committed by Amotekun because he is their overall boss,” he said.
“We, therefore, call on the Oyo State Government to ensure justice is served concerning this particular case. They should also conduct necessary orientation and training for this set of supposed security operatives, else the Amotekun corps will worsen the situation they were recruited to solve.”
The management of University of Ibadan has not made any official statement on the incident.
Tunji Oladejo, spokesman for the university directed this reporter to contact the affiliated institution for comment.
“Kindly get in touch with the management of the affiliated institution. Thank you,” Oladejo said in a response to an SMS sent to him.
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