•How Bishop escaped death
By Dayo Johnson, Akure
DEATH came right into the house of God on Thursday in Akure, Ondo state capital as some gunmen invaded the Diocesan office complex of the Akure Anglican Communion, leaving on their trail blood, sorrow and anguish.
The Anglican Communion across the state went into mourning after the Bursar, Gabriel Abiodun, was killed. The deceased was described by many church members as gentle and soft-spoken.
Anxiety mounted as reports said insecurity across the state had assumed a worrisome dimension.
Before now, it was the frightening rate of kidnapping and now it had turned to daylight robberies and killings of innocent people in the state.
Another set of bandits, also on Thursday, at gun point, robbed the paymaster of the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Abiodun, of the N500,000 he had collected from a bank as he alighted from his car at the ministry premises. Top officials and other staff members looked in amazement as the robbers fled with the cash unmolested.
While the church Bursar was murdered, the Bishop of the Akure Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Simeon Borokini, escaped death as he was reported to have left the office complex minutes earlier.
The robbers’ target was the N500,000 workers salary the deceased had just withdrawn from a new generation bank situated metres away from the church office complex.
Apparently being trailed from the bank, Abiodun alighted from his car, walked into his office and, about five minutes after, the unwanted visitors walked to him and demanded for the exact amount he had cashed from the bank.
According to sources, while the deceased was pleading with them that the money was for the church and not his personal money, the bandits, who were in haste, shot him in both legs. He fell on the ground bleeding profusely and became unconscious.
The gunshots reportedly attracted other workers in the office complex and there was pandemonium.
Amid the pandemonium, the robbers took the money and drove off in a Toyota Corolla car.
By the time the office workers returned to their offices to find out what had happened, the Bursar had bled profusely and was gasping for breath.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that Abiodun later died at the state Specialist Hospital, Akure where he was rushed to by fellow workers.
A church member said that the gunmen, numbering three, arrived the church office at about 9.35am after the deceased had returned from the bank.
“ Two of them alighted from the car and came to the office brandishing a gun and demanding for the money that was cashed from the bank”, the church worker narrated.
“ The deceased ran to another office and the assailants pursued him, shouting that he should bring bring the money and him explaining to them that it was the church money and not his personal money. They shot him twice.
“ I ran out and raised the alarm but everybody had taken to his heels after the gunshots. Those at the gates took to their heels when they sighted the robbers driving in”.
The deceased, who had been working in the office for almost ten years, hailed from Ayetoro-Ekiti in ldo- Osi council area of Ekiti State.
Following the gruesome murder of the Bursar, the lnspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, deployed the AIG Zone 11, Leye Oyebade, to Ondo on a fact-finding mission and to commiserate with his family, Anglican Church and the people of the state.
Adamu said that detectives would, in a matter of days, apprehend the killers going by the leads they had already.
He pleaded with the Bankers Forum to upgrade their security to guard against criminals loitering around bank premises.
Adamu directed that security should be beefed up around churches in the state.
While sympathising with the family of the deceased and the church, Adamu said police authorities would go back to the drawing board to ensure that such heinous crime does not rear it’s ugly head again.
Responding, the Bishop of Akure Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Borokin, called for enhanced security in Akure especially around banks following the killing of Abiodun.
“We are sad, we are concerned that such ungodly and devilish act could be perpetrated in the house of God. A fine gentleman, he had been working with the church for about eight years, he was 58 years and had four children”.
The police chief later visited the wife of the deceased at the family’s Ode community residence in Akure North area of the state to commiserate with her and family members.
The family spokesman, Oladele Olugbenga, said the only way the deceased could rest in peace was for Abiodun’s killers to be apprehended and made to face justice.
Olugbenga pleaded with security operatives to do a thorough job during their investigations.
The spokesman for Ondo State Police Command, Femi Joseph, described Abiodun’s murder as sad and vowed that the killers would be tracked.
Joseph said the police had begun investigation into the incident.
“We will make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice. In fact, as I speak, we have already launched a manhunt for the culprits to ensure that they are arrested and dealt with according to the law.
“We want to plead with those who are eyewitnesses to the incident to come forward and talk to us so as to get to the root of the matter. I also advise our people who plan to visit banks to withdraw big amounts of money to always go with police escort. We would do our job to ensure that justice is served.”
The late Bursar, according to reports, was due to retire next year.
Police sources hinted that the security man at the Diocesan office has been arrested by the police for questioning on the armed robbery.