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Alleged murder:  Witness narrates how he escaped death in the murder of APC member in Ikorodu 

Ayodele Olalere

A prosecution witness, Babatunde Olayinka, who is a marble contractor,   in the trial of five alleged murderer of an APC member in Ikorodu  has told an Ikeja High Court,  Lagos, how he narrowly escaped being attacked by the alleged assailants.

The suspects namely Atunrase Sodiq Omolabi ‘M’ 28 years, Shittu Michael Olawale ‘M’ 28 years, Olaide Opeifa ‘M’ 40′ years, Olanrewaju Adebiyi aka Maja ‘M’ 35 years and Jamiu Omosanya aka Orobo, as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants respectively, are being prosecuted by the Lagos State government  for attempted murder and murder of Ifeanyi Godfrey Etunmuse, a card carrying member of All Progressives Congress, APC, at Western Funeral Home, Ijede, Ikorodu, a company which belong to  an APC chieftain, Tosin Onamade.

In April 2023, the court was shown the video of how the suspects invaded Onamade’s office with dangerous weapons, attacked his staff and murdered the victim. They were caught on CCTV cameras.

The incident occurred on April 16, 2021 during the build-up to the local government election in Lagos in which Onamade contested for the post of the chairman of Ijede Local Council Development Area.

At the resumed trial of the matter before Justice Hakeem Oshodi on Monday, while being cross examined by the counsel to the 1st, 2nd,  3rd and 5th defendants, Olanrewaju Ajanaku, the witness told the court he narrowly escaped being killed as he had to hide himself and later jumped the fence of the cemetery to escape.

Asked if he witnessed the atrack and how he escaped, Olayinka said:

” When the attackers came, i ran towards the vaults and I hide myself in between two vaults in the cemetery. The victim was inside one of the vaults. I later ran towards the fence of the cemetery and jumped to the other side.”

When cross examined by counsel to the 5th defendant, Mahmoud Adesina (SAN), the witness admitted he had never met the attackers before the attack, nether did he know them by their names at the time the attack took place.

He further said the suspects came twice to carry out the attack wielding dangerous weapons, adding it was during the second attack that he made way to escape.

The witness also told the court that the attack took place few minutes after he arrived at the cemetery to meet with the owner, Tosin Onamade who was also present at the time of the attack.

“I arrived Onamde’s office at 4:30pm. I saw Tosin Onamade, his younger brother, Femi Onamade, one man bearing Godfrey as well as two ladies. I saw the suspects; they came twice. I saw the 4th defendants among them that day. When i noticed they might see me where i was hiding between two vaults, i stood up and ran towards the fence and jumped it,” he told the court.

The prosecution counsel, Michael Adeyemo urged the court to issue r a witness summon on Femi Onamade to appear before it.

The court adjourned the matter till February 19, 2024 for continuation of trial and  gave  order for  Femi Onamade to appear as prosecution witness.

However, a mild drama played out at the end of the hearing when Justice Oshodi warned family members of the suspects to stop ‘forgetting your juju’ in the court.

He noted that at the last hearing of the matter, some substances that looked like ‘juju’ were picked up by court officials after the litigants had left.

Justice Oshodi warned that such would no longer be tolerated and told them not to forget their ‘juju’ again in the court while leaving.

According to him, ‘ juju no longer work in the court