September 27, 2023

‘How bandits shattered my dreams’— 45-yr-old secondary school teacher recounts ordeal


Laolu Elijah, Ibadan

As for Mr. Odukunle Israel, a 45-year-old teacher at the Community Junior School, Ayepale, Saki, whose family members had initially depended on him for survival, life has turned upside down for him.

He is now dependent on the same family members to make ends meet. What a sharp reversal of role! No thanks to the bandits who attacked him and his 13-year-old son on their way to the farm on July 3, 2023.

It was a day he wouldn’t want to remember because of the irreparable injuries his attackers left on him.

Odukunle, a father of three, a very agile and hard-working man was hoping for a better tomorrow but all his dreams just collapsed like a pack of cards.

When narrating his ordeal with Vanguard on how he narrowly escaped being butchered by two bandits who were armed with a sword and machete, he said he wished that the whole episode that left his wrist amputated was erased completely from his memory.
According to him, the unforgettable incident happened on July 3, 2023 around 4:30pm in Saki West Local Government area of Oyo State.

He said, “I was going to my farm to feed some labourers working for me. Unknown to me, some bandits were laying ambush for me. They were just few metres away from me but some big stones I was trying to navigate through did not allow me to raise my head to see them. I was on my motorcycle with my 13 year old son.”

“As I slowed down, I saw two men armed with machetes and sword coming towards me. Their looks were so unfriendly. I tried to run past them but one of them wielded his machete and all I knew was that I was down. At this time, my son had jumped down and fled sensing their evil intention”.

“No sooner had I fallen than two bandits who covered their faces with hoods pounced on me with machete blows. They were targeting my head but I was preventing my head with my two hands. They continued hitting me on all parts of my body”.

“I struggled to run away from them but I could only cover about three metres from them before I fell down writhing in pain. My left thumb has been cut off. The other two fingers were merely dangling. Of course, I was covered with blood all over my body.”

“Not satisfied with their mission, one of the attackers was coming towards me with a sword but I courageously asked him, “What do you want from me? If it’s my motorcycle, the key is on it. He just turned back, joined his colleague and went away with my motorcycle.”

“After they left, my son who was hiding in the bush nearby moved towards me to see the extent of the injuries they inflicted on me. He supported me and with the help of a farmer nearby, I was rushed to the Baptist Medical Centre, Saki”.

“When we were going, I saw my left thumb which they cut on the ground. I picked it with the expectation that doctors would stitch it to my wrist but I later knew it was no longer useful. My brothers buried it.”

“Apart from my thumb, two other fingers had been affected. They cut one that’s dead and the other one too was in bad shape. So, doctors advised me that they needed to amputate my wrist otherwise the whole hand would be at risk”.

“Eventually, they amputated my wrist and since I have been going to the hospital for treatment. I can’t do anything for now. When it happened, I vowed never to go to the farm again but my brothers stepped in and helped me on the farm”.

Two others killed

He said while on admission to the hospital, three similar cases were brought. “While my attack happened in Saki West, the other attacks were carried out in Saki East Local Government. One man was slaughtered and another succumbed to the injuries he sustained. The remaining one was seriously injured.

He said when his brother contacted Amotekun personnel in the area, they directed him to report to the police.

“When he told the police, it was later around 8 p.m. that police went to the scene. Also, men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps came about five days after.”
A policeman in the area who was not given permission to speak on the issue told Vanguard that an investigation is still ongoing to arrest the bandits.

A lawyer, Mr Adeola Fehintola who is resident in the area said attacks on innocent people in that axis have been a recurring decimal pleading with the state government to help find a solution to a constant security breach in the agrarian town and its environs.