Ayanwole Oluwabamise

By Olasunkanmi Akoni,  Bose Adelaja & Ebunoluwa Sessou

The family of the 22-year-old  fashion designer, Ayanwole Oluwabamise, who was found dead in Lagos after boarding a Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, bus heading to Oshodi from Chevron bus stop, Lekki, has demanded justice for her.

Addressing journalists,  yesterday, at the Right’s House, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos, the Ayanwola family lamented the complicity of the Nigeria Police and Lagos Bus Services Limited, LBSL, in the matter. Also, they said Bamise’s elder sister, who is an expectant mother, is currently hospitalised due to the trauma she suffered when information got to her that her younger sister had been recovered dead.

The family also said Bamise’s friends, who were in touch with her throughout the journey on the BRT are both in critical condition as a result of the loss.

The elder brother to the deceased, James Joel, who represented the family at the press conference, said it took 10 days before the Nigeria Police could come out to say that the body had been found, whereas, it was found the same day she boarded the bus.

We were tossed to and fro by Lagos Police

Narrating the ordeal the family went through in searching for their loved one before her decomposing body was recovered, James said the incident was first reported at Akinpelu Police Station, Maroko and Ikeja.

Unfortunately for them, they were tossed to and fro. He said: “Our sister graduated from apprenticeship in September 2021, secured a job at Chevron in December but died in February 2022.

To worsen our plights, the Nigeria Police knew that she died the same day but kept mute until the media stepped in

.“Bamise engaged in a live conversation with two of her friends after boarding the bus on February 26, if not for this forensic evidence, the case would have been swept under the carpet as it took the Nigeria Police and LBSL over a week to disclose her whereabouts.

“Details available to us revealed that she boarded the bus on Saturday but when her whereabout was uncertain, we went to report the matter with Akinpelu Police Station but we were told that the incident scene did not fall under their jurisdiction and we were referred to Maroko Division.

“Unfortunately, we were left to our fate at Maroko Division and we headed for Area F, Ikeja and other Police stations in search of our missing sister.

“We intensified efforts in search of our sister on Sunday by going to LSBL Yard, Ilupeju, Oyingbo and BRT terminal, Oshodi where the bus was identified as Bus code 257 but the driver, Nice Andrew, was nowhere to be found. To our surprise, LSBL management did not show any sign of seriousness that one of its passengers was missing.

“On Monday, we got a hint that the bus was operating along the axis and we rushed to LSBL only to discover that the driver reported for work on that day. This brought an altercation between us and LBSL security but we maintained peace. To our dismay, a combatant team from the Nigeria Police arrived at the premises but we were able to control our emotions.

“When the Police knew that the matter could no longer be swept under the carpet, it sent a signal on Tuesday about our missing sister and this generated sympathy from many Nigerians.

“We were at a family meeting last Sunday when we read on the social media that the lifeless body of a lady was found at Ebute-Ero/Carter bridge and we sent delegates to the scene only to discover that it was that of our sister.

“Immediately, we incidented the report with Ebute-Ero where the Divisional Police Officer was civil. If he had been the one that attended to us at Akinpelu, Maroko and Ikeja, perhaps, we would have been able to rescue our sister alive.

“The body was later deposited at the morgue but we are not in a hurry to go for burial because we want the government to unravel the situation.

“We later gathered that our sister’s body was dumped on Cater/Ebete-Ero Bridge the same day she boarded the bus. Information at our disposal revealed that a Sports Utility Vehicle was behind the BRT when our sister was being dumped.

“She was said to be crying for help as at the time she was dumped but nobody could rally around her for fear of being implicated.

“The Police kept the secret, which later found its ways into the media and the Police Public Relations Officer hurriedly wrote a press statement when the press mounted pressure on him.

“It was discovered that the driver had left the address he registered with LSBL over a year ago while his guarantor had vacated his apartment without the consent of the government.

“In the cause of the search for our sister, a special adviser to the governor, told us that the bus service is a franchise scheme and may not be able to assist in finding the whereabouts of our sister. He told us it is the Commissioner for Transpiration that can help us out. “The Police and LSBL have questions to answer in this regard,” he said.

Corroborating James’ narration, Ayanwola Titilayo, the elder sister to the deceased, lamented the fact that this is happening when their parents are advanced in age.

She said: “Our mother is 74 and father is 84, why is this happening at a time when they are both advanced in age? My sister’s death is more of connivance between Lagos State Government, LSBL and the Nigeria Police, if not, why was this kept secret among them. This means that they all knew that our sister had been killed as at the time we were being tossed about.

“The driver, Nice Andrew, alleged that it was a case of an attack but never reported to appropriate authorities and only reported for work two days after.

“I urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to unravel this matter because it is beyond us. My sister was agile and hardworking before she was cut in her prime.”

Our demands

The lead counsel to the family, Ayo Ademiluyi, enumerated the demands of the family, saying: “We have forensic evidence to back our testimony. All arrested persons should be tried in a competent court as soon as possible.

“Others are arrest of LSBL Managing Director in the next 24 hours, autopsy report and Corona Inquest to be published as soon as possible and that the Nigeria Police to track the second mobile number of the deceased which is still inactivation.

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“Finally, the right to life should be upheld. This matter should not be treated like that of Sylvester Oromoni.” 

Military, police storm Gani Fawenhimi Park, stop planned protest

However, the protest declared by friends and sympathisers of Bamise, yesterday, failed to hold, as armed military personnel and members of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of Lagos police command cordoned- off Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos, the venue of the proposed protest, to maintain law and order.

The protest, tagged ‘Justice for Bamise,’ had been slated for yesterday morning beginning from Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, Lagos.

In an earlier flier distributed, the youths had threatened to storm the state Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, and all BRT terminals in the state.

They also demanded justice for the deceased, the family and the prosecution of all suspects in the death.

The groups accused the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Lagos Bus Services Limited, LBSL, management of the BRT used in perpetrating the dastardly act for their silence on the issue.

To maintain law and order and safety of lives and property, security operatives cordoned-off Fawenhimi Freedom Park as they prevented any form of gathering in the area.

Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, yesterday promised that murderers of Bamise must be brought to book. The Speaker disclosed that the legislative arm of the state government must ensure justice in the case of the alleged murder of Bamise Ayanwole.

It’s sad, shocking, devastating—Mrs Sanwo-Olu

Also yesterday, the wife of the state governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu described the killing of Miss Oluwabamise Ayanwole as sad, shocking, and devastating.

She  said this while leading a rally of women from different walks of life against the recent rejection of gender bills by the National Assembly, demanding an immediate passage of the bills on Tuesday.

“As mothers, we are devastated; we are in shock; we are not happy. Lagos State is not known for ritual killings and we will not tolerate such.“Investigations are going on and I am sure there will be justice. Mr. Governor is not sleeping. There will certainly be justice,” she said.

Sanwo-Olu talks tough says justice will be served

Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, has reacted to the death of Miss Oluwabamise Ayanwole,  vowing that justice would be served.

Sanwo-Olu, however, commiserated with the family members and friends of the deceased over the unfortunate loss.

He said: “Dear Lagosians, the life of every citizen of the state matters to us, and we do not take the security of our people for granted.“We will, therefore, leave no stone unturned in the investigations and arrest of everyone found culpable in the kidnap and death of Miss Oluwabamise Ayanwole.

“The driver of the BRT bus involved in this unfortunate incident has been arrested, and the management of Lagos Bus Service Ltd has been directed to cooperate fully with security agencies in their investigations so that the full weight of the law is brought down on everyone involved in this ugly incident.

‘To Bamise’s family and loved ones, my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time, may the Almighty God console you. I hereby give you my word that justice will be served.

“To fellow Lagosians, I assure you that I am following all the investigations closely, and will ensure that Bamise gets the justice she deserves.

‘’I also assure you all that the BRT services remain safe, despite this condemnable act. Once again, my sincere condolences to the Ayanwole family. May Oluwabamise’s soul Rest In Peace. Amen.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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