By Bose Adebayo & Evelyn Usman
WHEN the white Toyota Camry arrived with its six occupantsÂ and parked in front of the single storey, four-flats buildingÂ painted in brown and butter colours,even curious neighbours did not notice anything to excite alarm.
Time was about 7.15 a.m. that Sunday when two children from one of the flats, â€˜Lara and â€˜Labake, came out to fetch water, oblivious of any lurking danger. Their mother, Blessing, had however gone to church.
The situation, however, changed when the occupants of the car disembarked and made their way for the block of flats identified as No 9, Oyeniji Street of Oduwole Estate at Akowonjo, Egbeda, Lagos.
They were led by a light complexioned, tall woman, who was dressed in a lace material.The leader of the gang was soon seen and heard dishing out instructions to the five men who were armed with guns. When the landlady of the house later came down to pick something from her shop, she was pounced upon by two members of this group.
But it soon emerged that their target was Mr. Bayo Ohu, a respected journalist with The GuardianÂ who had been living in the building with his family for the past eight years.
Bayo, the father of Lara (15), â€˜Labake (9), Moyoyin (7), Fehintola (5) and Modesola (8 months) whose apartment was close to the gate was said to be lying down on his bed and had no premonition of the tragedy that was about to befall him. Attracted by the sporadic gunshots outside, he hadÂ opened the door of his flat to find out what was amiss. That was the last action he took before he was cut down by a volley of bullets.
In spite of accomplishing their dastardly bloody assignment,Â the six-man gang made straight to the compound, shooting sporadically into the air after various attempts to gain entry into Bayoâ€™s flat failed.
They laid siege for one of the children who came outside to continue fetching water.Â They seized the opportunity to gain entry into the apartment through the kitchen.
The child escaped and hid herself under her fatherâ€™s car while others in the apartment hid themselves inside the wardrobe in one of the rooms. Bayo the main target of the attack was found in his own pool of blood at the passage of the apartment.
An eye witness who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard MetroÂ was of the opinion that the late journalist must have hadÂ a form of contact with the gang leader during his life time. â€œWe were at the corridor of our own house when we spotted the white car, although nobody knew their mission.
They were outside for a while before they entered the compound. But suddenly, there was sporadic shootings which scared all of us. We knew something deadly was happening and I decided to peep through my window but what I saw made me to tremble.
The woman in question did not come out immediately after the operation, rather the five men rushed into the car first. She later came out of the apartment nodding her head and thumbing up for a job well done.
This shows clearly she was never a stranger to Bayo. What we do not know was if there was a business transaction or deal between both of them. From the way she dashed out of the apartment, it was obvious she was a key factor in what happened.
People should find out if he had previously had any rapport with that woman. The front seat was reserved for her and when she joined them in the car, she rejoiced before they sped off,â€ he said.
Another family source said the deceased threw a birthday party for two of his children, 15- year-old â€˜Lara and five-year-old Fehintola on Saturday August 29. Unfortunately that was the last family gathering this father of five girls attended before he died.
A barber who was occupying a shop in the apartment described the deceased as an easy going person. â€œYou know all his children are girls and none of them could help to wash his car. I used to help him do this and he normally reciprocate with a token, I opened the shop today only to hear he had been killed. I shall miss him greatly,â€ said Damian.
When Vanguard Metro visited the apartment on Monday, there was an army of sympathisers who sat round his wife Blessing as she was lying down on a couch. She refused to utter a word. â€œPeople have been coming here to snap me, I am tired of this and nobody should snap me again,â€ she said after much pressure by these sympathisers.