Govt consoles families
THE grim import of the murder of 10 Ibadan traders by the Boko Haram sect was felt yesterday in the Oyo State capital.
Women were crying as the bodies were offloaded from a truck. Men were shaking their heads in deep dejection as the caskets were lined up in a row at the Bodija market.
The traders, who were beans sellers, went to Borno State — the heart of the sect’s insurgency— to buy beans for sale in Ibadan when they ran into an ambush by the deadly sect members. They were killed in a most gruesome manner.
A survivor of the attack, Taoheed Adewuyi, 32, recounted the chilling moments of the attack, in the early hours of Friday in Munguno, Borno State. They left Ibadan on Thursday.
He said: “God saved me from the attack. They stopped us along the way and asked us to come down from the vehicle and lie down. They thereafter started shooting us one after the other as we lay on the ground. I was the third on the row. I was shot but the bullet did not hit me very well. I was gone. It was after an hour that I discovered that I was still alive.”
Asked how he was so sure that the attackers were Boko Haram members, he said: “When they discovered that one of the victims was still breathing, one of the attackers went into their car pulled a knife with which he ‘slaughtered’ him. I almost cried out at that time but I could not do so. Our man who was slaughtered was Ninalowo (a.k.a AY).
“I’m sure they were Boko Haram members”.
The bodies were received at the Ibadan/Egbeda toll gate, amidst tight security, by a delegation of over 1000 traders and sympathisers, led by the Babaloja of Oyo State, Chief Dauda Adisa Oladapo. The dead are: Seye Adegboyega, Jelili Popoola, Ojo Mosobalaje, Fatai Kareem and Femi Oyetunde.
The other are: Ninalowo Saheed, Saburu Lanlehin , Lekan Oladokun, Sola Adeoye and Nurudeen Lawal.
Bodija Market Union spokesman, Akeem Emiola gave the list of the victims.
Security was tight as the bodies were brought into the ancient city at about 3.30pm in two white Fiat buses marked Lagos GGE 96 XD and Abuja AA317 RBC.
Security was tight at the scene. There were 12 police patrol vans, one Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and police trucks were deployed to forestall crisis.
It was gathered that majority of the victims were mainly apprentices in the business.
Two of the traders, Ibrahim Ademola and Taoheed Azeez Adewuyi, escaped narrowly.
Emiola said he could not confirm that 25 people were killed as being speculated in some quarters. “We cannot confirm that. What we know is that 10 of our people were killed; may be it’s true that 25 people were killed, we don’t know.”
As the brown caskets were being brought out of the vehicles, the traders, families and sympathisers who had waited hours wept uncontrollably. They lamented the havoc Boko Haram had created for the family of the victims.
Four other traders were allegedly killed by the sect on May 5.
Shops and stalls were firmly shut at the market yesterday.
The market and its environs wore a gloomy mood.
Oladapo urged the Federal Government, which has declared a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa, to take drastic measures against the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Is it after they have killed all of us that the government will act? Many of us have been killed,” he lamented.
Oladapo said the death of the traders would lead to scarcity of beans in the market, adding that most of the traders are no longer willing to travel to the North.
At the scene, Oyo State Commissioner for Trade and Investment Mr Adebayo Olagbenro Kareem said: condemned the killings, saying the government would address the crisis.
He prayed for the repose of the deceased and urged their families to take it as the will of God.
Fatai Kareem, a brother to one of the victims, said they were calling his younger brother’s phone number but he did not pick it up while on the trip. Unknown to them, he had been killed.
“ Our mother died just last year and we are still mourning her. Now it is our brother. He was the youngest of the six children of our parents. We cannot tell the members of our family about his death because it is going to be very devastating.
“I did not know that the day he was traveling to buy beans will be the last day I would see him. Boko Haram men have done their worst and I know God will judge them accordingly.”
Abiala Emmanuel, a friend to one of the victims, said the late Sola Adeoye was preparing for his brother’s marriage next week.
“We were friends for over three years. He was a cool person who could not hurt a fly. He was kind and generous towards his parents. I learnt they used matchette to cut him and that his body was not found,” Emmanuel said.
Emmanuel, who was wailing, recalled that it was the second time the deadly sect has killed traders from the market.
The head of the Hausa community in Bodija market Alhaji Isiyaka Hassan, called on the government to provide adequate security in the community.
The Hausa community in the market also gathered to mourn the slain traders.
The Sarkin Hausawa, who spoke in Yoruba, said what happened to the traders was disheartening.
He said: “It is disturbing because it is beyond our powers and disheartening because of the innocent souls that were killed without any just cause.”
He called for adequate security in the market for fear of reprisal from angry traders against Northerners.
Hassan prayed God to rescue Nigerian from the hands of evil men who kill under the guise of religion.
He recalled that the traders in the popular Bodija were brothers and sisters, who have been living in peaceful for decades, irrespective of tribe or religion.
“We are brothers and sisters here without any quarrel. We share things together and we don’t have any cause to disagree. It is the evil people who are planning to a division among us, but Isha Allah they shall not succeed “, Hassan said.
Those in the neighbourhood expressed fear that the traders could become violent.
A banker, who simply gave her name as Tonia, said: “We expect the security agencies to be on standby to curtail violent reaction from the traders who are in a tense mood because of the tragic news.”
A woman trader, Mrs. Titi Odejayi, urged the government to ensure protection of lives and property.
She said: “We warned our people to stop going to the place (North) until peace is restored. How can you risk being killed because of means of survival?
“The government should seek a lasting solution to the issue of Boko Haram.”
Another trader, Mutiu Jamiu, who linked the surge in food stuff to insecurity in the North, said: “The situation in the North demands urgent attention before it spreads to other parts. Already, we are experiencing the pain of the trouble.”