Six Years On, Ohu’s Blood Fresh On Killers’ Hands
SIX years after his gruesome killing, the blood of Bayo Ohu, the late Assistant News Editor of The Guardian is still crying for justice.
Today marks the 6th anniversary of the cold-blooded murder of the journalist.
Effort by The Guardian to get police authorities to comment on the state of investigation into the matter met a brick wall, as no police office wanted to comment.
Ohu’s murder is among dozens of extra-judicial killings in Nigeria begging to be resolved.
The late Ohu was getting set to attend a church service, six years ago, after seeing off his wife, Ochuko, and sister-in-law to the early morning service when gunmen came knocking on his door at about 6.52am.
According to eyewitnesses, the five or six gunmen came in a white Toyota Camry saloon car, wearing white flowing gowns with matching skullcaps. They made no attempt to enter any other apartment in the four-flat house. Ohu heard a knock on the door. As he opened it to know who it was, the gunmen hit him with a volley of bullets. His blood splashed all over the door. He staggered back into the house crying for help, but his assailants followed him and rained more bullets into him.
Curiously, the attackers made away with only his laptop and mobile phone.
The landlady, who was just opening her shop that morning, was the first who came in contact with the assailants. She was ordered to lie face down by a man she identified as leader of the gang. He warned her in the Yoruba dialect to stay in that position if she didn’t want any harm to come to her.
She said: “The man went ahead to show me a big gun hidden under his flowing gown. I started pleading with him that he should have mercy on me, that I had no money, and was only a poor trader who sells soft drinks. He told me not to worry, that nothing would happen to me, if I stayed face down to the ground. From my shop, he started shouting orders to others.” Soon after she was deafened by the gunshots.
The Guardian confirmed then that no less than a dozen rounds of ammunition were fired. The police recovered most of the expended bullets.
One bullet went through the right side of Ohu’s chest and exited through the left side, tearing through the arm. Two of Ohu’s children, who were yet to go to church, had gone to fetch water from another house in the neighborhood. They ran into the assailants and were immediately chased into hiding.
Those who watched the gory scene from adjoining buildings said the assailants, after completing their task, still had enough time to wash their hands and feet while two of their colleagues fired shots into the air to scare people away.
Speaking with journalists, the then Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Frank Mbah, said: “We are leaving all options open in our investigations.” Mba said that with more evidence coming to the Force after the recovery of the vehicle used in the operation, things were beginning to point to a possible case of armed robbery. But he quickly added that all leads were being followed.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police at the time, Marvel Akpoyibo, said the police had already commenced investigation into the death, adding: “We are investigating a case of murder and robbery. We sympathise with our friend, The Guardian, for what happened. We shall investigate the death discretely.”
Ogunbayo Ayanlola Ohu was born on June 18, 1964. He started his education at the Local Authority Primary School, Iseyin, Oyo State, from where he proceeded to Progressive Grammar School, Ado-Awaye, also in Oyo State, where he finished in 1976. He had his tertiary education at The Polytechnic, Ibadan between 1988-1990.
Bayo Ohu joined The Guardian in 1991 and distinguished himself early as a reporter. He covered Katsina State as a State Correspondent and his performance recommended him for promotion to Assistant News Editor. His flair for reporting made him move from the desk and back to the beat to cover politics, which he did very well.
Ohu’s was yet another in the list of journalists’ murder. Dele Giwa, Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, was killed through a parcel bomb on October 19, 1986 during the military regime of President Ibrahim Babangida.
Godwin Agbroko, the Editorial Board Chairman of ThisDay newspaper, was gunned down on Oshodi-Mile Two Expressway in 2006 on Christmas Eve.
Yet, another mysterious death was that of Abayomi Ogundeji, also a member of the Editorial Board of ThisDay newspaper on August 17, 2008. He was shot in his vehicle on his way from work late in the evening.
Six months after the death of Ohu, the Lagos State Police Command claimed it arrested the man that allegedly pulled the trigger that snuffed life out of him.
The suspect paraded by police then was identified as 23-year-old Dada Ganiu Adesanya. Also arrested were two other members of the gang, which the command confirmed to be notorious robbers that had been terrorising the state.
The suspects were questioned at the State Command. Ganiu, however, denied the allegation.