September 21, 2009

Bayo Ohu’s murder: IG sets up panel

By Emma Nnadozie, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Evelyn Usman & Bose Adebayo

LAGOS — INSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, has set up a team of police detectives headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killing of the Guardian Newspapers Assistant News Editor, Bayo Ohu, in his apartment in Egbeda, a suburb of Lagos on Sunday morning.

This is just as fresh facts emerged yesterday that the leader of the gunmen that snuffed life out of the journalist was a woman.

A terse statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu said, “The Nigeria Police Force regrets the death of our journalist friend, Bayo Ohu, particularly the violent way his life was cut short.

We commiserate with the family and loved ones on the demise of this promising Nigerian. The Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, hereby restates the resolve of the Police to fish out the killers and bring them to justice. To this end, he has set up a crack team of detectives led by one of the best hands in the job, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) attached to the Force Headquarters in Abuja, to head the team”.

The woman whose identity is yet to be ascertained, was said to have led the gunmen through the kitchen door, where a second shot was aimed at the victim.

The woman, as gathered, was said to have left the premises last, after ascertaining that the late Ohu would not survive the attack.

An eye witness who craved anonymity said the woman nodded her head in affirmation, after taking a close look at the victim who was left in a pool of his own blood, before leaving the scene.

She was quoted as asking other members of her gang, “have you collected the laptop and phones” on their way out of the premises, before they zoomed off in their operational car.

Narrating how it all happened, the late Ohu’s first child, Lara, recalled how she passed by the gunmen who stationed their vehicle right in front of their number 9, Oyeniji street in Odukoya estate, Akowonjo area of Egbeda, Lagos that fateful morning, as she was about entering the gate with a bucket of water on her head.

Lara, a 15-year-old Senior Secondary School 2 student who was in the company of her younger sister Labake, said she actually asked the unknown men to shut the door of their car which was blocking her way and they obediently did, without an inkling that her home was their target.

“To my shock, I noticed one of them in white jalamia (flowing robe usually worn by Moslems) was holding a gun. That was when I became suspicious. As I entered the compound, I heard gun shots and quickly dropped the bucket of water and ran to the backyard to hide under my daddy’s car.

Then I heard another shot. After they left, I rushed out of my hiding and asked my sister where my daddy was and she said she did not know because she too hid inside the cupboard with the other children. When I entered our apartment, I saw my daddy at the passage inside the house with blood all over the place.”

It was also gathered that the gunmen, six in number, positioned themselves in twos around the building. While two were in the car, another set were said to have been right inside the premises.

One of the two in the premises was said to have pointed a gun at the landlady, instructing her to keep quite or risk losing her life, the fifth one was being instructed by the leader of the gang, a woman, said to have been clad in buba and wrapper lace material. There were two bullet holes on the steel doors.

When sympathisers who heard the gun shots arrived the scene and were ruminating over what action to take next, the widow, Mrs Ochuko Ohu, who left for church earlier arrived later.

The widow who was sleeping when Vanguard arrived her residence around 2:00pm yesterday, could not talk to anyone after she woke up. Mrs. Ohu who was yet to come to terms with the reality of her husband’s death, gave a blank stare and sympathizers were consoling her.

Describing her late father as the best dad in the world, Lara said, “My father was a caring, loving and hardworking man who always wanted the best for us his children. His dream was for us to become great women in life and he always instructed us to read