By Evelyn Usman
An unkind fate like a bull in a China shop recently attacked popular sports broadcaster and member of the Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, Aisha Folade, following the gruesome murder of her 19 year-old son , Oluwadamilola Oloruntoba, in far away Dubai, the United Arab Emirates,UAE three months ago.
The late Toba , as he was popularly called, was said to have left London where he was with his sister, for Dubai , after he gained admission to study Audio Production at the SAE Institute,sometime in October, 2013.
But four months into his studies, an incident that changed the course for the family occurred , following a telephone call received by his mother in Nigeria, at the wee hours of February 15, 2014, that her once bubbling son had fallen from the balcony of his apartment located on the 17th floor of Manchester Towers, Dubai Marina, where he lived!.
One death too many
Unfortunately, the tragic incident which no doubt, has dealt the mother of two a devastating blow, leaving her to wallow in grief, pain and sorrow, is not the first time the lives of Nigerian students have been cut short in their prime.
In Ghana for instance, a 300 level student of Social Sciences at the University of Cape Coast , Godwin Ayogu, was murdered in cold blood on February 20, 2014, with his killers yet to be brought to book.
Record at Saturday Vanguard disposal showed that Godwin Awogbo was the fourth Nigerian student to lose his life in the space of four months in Ghana. The first death case was that of a 15 year-old Senior Secondary School Student of Ideal college, Community 5, in Tema, Master Austine Chukwuebuka Ogukwe, on October 2013.Barely one month later, two Nigerian students identified as Eddy and Charles of KNUSFORD University, Accra , died under mysterious circumstance when they went for an excursion at the Volta region.
Another Nigerian student in the northern city of Arkhangelsk , Russia, Akinola Olufemi, was reportedly stabbed to death in southern Moscow, with his ears cut off.
Again, one Kelvin Chibueze ,17, a student in London, was stabbed to death at a birthday party in East London in August 2011 by one Lerone Boye , 27.
Also in London, a 22-year-old Nigerian student, Baba femi Junaid was reportedly stabbed in the chest and in his bid to apparently rush to the nearest hospital, his car collided with a bus in Clapham Road, near Stockwell Tube station, south London, resulting in his death..
One of the most recent was that of 17-year-old Forester Samson, in far away Moscow, capital of Russia, on March 4, 2014, by yet-to-be-identified Russian gangsters. The late Forester who hailed from Igbekhue in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, only completed her secondary school education in 2013, before leaving for Moscow, with the hope of furthering her studies.
Unfortunately, she did not live to see her dream come true , as she was reportedly stabbed to death . As if that was not enough , the perpetrators reportedly locked her body in a room and set it ablaze.
It has almost become a routine to hear that Nigerians, particularly students, are gruesomely killed, often by citizens of their host countries. But more worrisome is the role played by the Nigeria government in ensuring that these cases are not only swept under the carpet by policemen in the countries the crime is committed but its seeming lackadaisical attitude towards ensuring that justice is done.
A case at hand is that of late Toba, whose death the Dubai Police reportedly claimed was an accident. But tell tale signs and evidence reportedly showed that it was a clear case of murder, which allegedly involved the son of a Dubai billionaire.
The Dubai Police said it had concluded its investigation and arrived at the conclusion that on that fateful day, Toba was drunk. They told the bereaved family that information gathered from those who were with the late Toba showed that Toba was seen sitting on the railing of the balcony with his feet off the floor, and was swinging back and forward in this position, adding that he could have fallen down from the balcony railing.
But the deceased’s family has described this claim as false and an attempt to shield perpetrators of the murder. These followed what were described as contradictory reports between what the police gave and those of the eye witnesses.
Senate president petitioned
In a petition to the Senate President, David Mark , Lawyer to the bereaved family, Festus Keyamo, said: “ Because of the various inconsistencies in the Police report given to the family of our client, Mrs. Aisha Falode, our Head of Chambers, Mr. Festus Keyamo and another family member with Aisha Falode traveled to Dubai in the UAE on Friday, the 18th day of April, 2014 to see and hear things for themselves. Whilst in the country, the three of them met with the friends of lateToba Falode who were present in the apartment on that fateful day.
“The summary of the accounts of these friends were totally different from what the police report indicated and this has revealed a most shameful and disgraceful attempt by the authorities in Dubai to shield obvious murder suspects from the long arms of the law.
“The friends and witnesses in question volunteered written statements to us and we summarize their account as follows:
a. That sometime in December, 2013, the said Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser stormed the apartment of the deceased, Oluwadamilola Oloruntoba Falode and ordered Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans (his supposed girlfriend) out of Toba’s apartment, accusing her of having an affair with Toba Falode.
b. That a fight was to have ensued from this confrontation, but for the intervention of other mutual friends. Since then, there was no love lost between Toba and Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser.
c.That in the evening of the 14th of February, 2014, Toba with his three friends went to a club in Dubai ,where they met the said Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans .
e.That again an argument started between Faisal and his supposed girlfriend and this quarrel continued till both of them left the club.
f. That the quarrel was to the effect that Faisal was still accusing her of dating Toba.
g. That shortly after the two left the club, Toba and his friends also left the club.
h. That on getting to his apartment, Toba again met Faisal and Miss Olivia who was crying in front of his door, waiting for him.
i .That Toba let them into his apartment.
j. That after they all got into the apartment, Toba, Faisal and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans entered his room “to sort things out”.
k. That shortly after, the three of them exited the room and went on to the balcony of the apartment on the 17th floor (though the account of who first went to the balcony and who joined thereafter slightly varied).
l. That a serious argument with raised voices and raised hands went on at the balcony.
m. That about twenty seconds later, Faisal and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans came back into the room and announced that Toba had fallen off the railings. However, Faisal had blood spatter all over his shirt and bloody knuckles. There was also a noticeable cut on his finger.
At this point they all rushed downstairs to see Toba’s dead body lying several meters away from the building (approximately twelve to fifteen meters).
n. That the position of Toba’s body (which can still be verified today) was not consistent with someone dropping from the balcony but was consistent with someone that was violently pushed or thrown from the balcony.
o.That the police arrived thereafter and arrested all of them to the station.
p. That before and during the journey to the station, Faisal kept repeating to the hearing of everyone that the maximum punishment for him would be twenty-five (25) years in jail and that the other boys should not worry. Meanwhile, Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans was hysterical and did not say anything.
q.That at a point, one of them had to shut Faisal up when this repetition of “at least 25 years in jail” kept going on and on.
r..That at the station, Faisal and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans were kept away from the rest and were interviewed separately, whereas the other three were kept at a separate room and interviewed separately. Later that night, Faisal and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans were released to go home without taking the blood stained dress from Faisal. Meanwhile, the other three were charged with drinking and other sundry offences and are facing these charges in court at present”…, the petition stated in part
My son was a perfect person
Describing his son as an amiable fellow, devastated Aisha said in a tears: “ Life cannot be the same again for me. May this not happen to any body, not even my enemy. I can’t wipe away the sorrow. My son was a lovely boy. He was a gentle, humble, respectful, innocent and very generous boy. In fact he was a perfect boy.
All I want is not just for justice to prevail but to prevent a re-occurrence of such on another family.
This is is the best time for the Nigeria government to act by prevailing on the authorities in the UAE to re-open the investigation into the murder of my son and to bring to book Mr. Faisal Aldakmary Al-Nasser and Miss Olivia Melanie Richards Evans both of whom murdered him in cold blood”, she stated .
Tambuwal charges UAE
In an apparent response to this call, Speaker of the House of Representatives , Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Tuesday, urged authorities of the UAE to find the killers of Toba Falode. He made the call when he received the outgoing UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Rasheed Aldhaheri, in his office.
Unless urgent steps are taken by the Nigeria government to place a premium on the lives of Nigerians living abroad, cases of hostilities and murder of Nigerians elsewhere in the globe will no doubt continue unabated.