•‘I met my sister in pool of blood, with her pants down her ankle’
BUT for the national strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in July 2013, Taiwo Shittu, a 500 level student of the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, University of Ibadan would have become a graduate.
But the hope of her parents that she would soon be out of the university system, after her second semester exams which would commence this month of March, was brutally dashed on Wednesday, February 19 when her naked body was discovered in their room by her elder sister in their rented apartment at Alakia Adelubi area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Ikere-Ekiti-born 27-year-old lady was reportedly macheted by unknown person(s), with the cutlass used in perpetrating the act smeared with blood and thrown beside her in the room she was found. She was hacked at the neck region and her pair of underpants was also found half way down her ankle.
According to the sister (names withheld) while speaking with Sunday Tribune, “a gardener came on Tuesday, February 18 and said he was sent by the landlord to go and cut the grass. I opened the gate for him, and my sister and I went out. On Wednesday, February 19, he came again and I opened the gate for him.
He went on with his work and my sister and I went out again.
“At about 9.30a.m., I came back home. The landlord came and I greeted him. He said he learnt the other occupant in the building had packed out. He also promised to fix the damaged pumping machine. I went back inside afterwards. At about 1p.m., I went out again and returned at about 5.30p.m. I opened the door to the sitting room, but didn’t see anyone.
“I opened the bedroom door and was shocked as I beheld my sister’s body, naked, on the floor. She had been brutally macheted and the machete was placed beside her. She was also strangled and her pants were down to her ankle. She was covered in her own blood. I rushed outside and raised the alarm but those opposite our house did not even respond to me. They told me to go and report at the police station.
“The authorities of the University of Ibadan have already taken up the case and they insisted on the transfer of the case to State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku. I packed into the house in May, 2013 and I only spoke with the landlord for the first time on the fateful day.”
From his own response during an interview, the gardener, who give his name as Azeez Arisekola-Alao, and claimed to be Aare Arisekola Alao’s child, indicted the landlord, saying he was the one who entered the apartment of the deceased and killed her. But his incoherence was noticed when he, in one breath, said he was the one who raised the alarm when the landlord killed Taiwo, and in another breath, said he heard someone shout that the landlord had killed someone, which made him run outside the compound to alert people.
In response to the question about his own family, Azeez, smiling, said his wife and two kids were in London and he had also gone there thrice in a truck to see his family. He displayed imbecility.
The owner of the building who was also arrested, Mr Agboola Lawrence Oyawola, however said he knew nothing about the death of the 27-year-old girl as he had no reason to do such. “I am a 1976 graduate of Banking and Finance from University of Lagos. I am a pensioner and retired from National Board for Community Banks. I am 65 years old.
“On February 18, I gave a job to Azeez to cut the grass in my house at Alakia-Adelubi, though I live at Monatan area where I have another house. He has been working for me on the premises for the past two years so I didn’t need to follow him. On February 19, I went to the house at Alakia-Adelubi to see my carpenter to give him an advance payment for the doors he wanted to do for me.
“I gave the house at Alakia-Adelubi to an agent to get tenants for me. As I waited for my carpenter in his shed opposite the house, I saw a lady come out of my house. She introduced herself as the tenant while I told her I was the landlord. She informed me that the pumping machine in the house was no longer functioning and I replied that it had been removed, promising to replace it if another tenant moves in.
“She also said that the agent had not been treating her well, asking for my number which I gave her. She informed me that a single room had been taken up by someone but I told her I was not aware. She called the tenant-to-be in my presence and that one said she had paid to the agent. I told her that the agent was yet to inform me. I reiterated my promise to buy a new pumping machine since the agent had collected house rent.
“Meanwhile, as the conversation was going on outside the building premises, Azeez was cutting grass inside. I saw some Bagco carrier bags dropped in the compound by the tenant who packed out of the house so I asked Azeez to help me bring them along whenever he was coming home since he lives close to me. Thereafter, I left for my house after noon,” he narrated.
The landlord continued: “In the evening, some landlords at Alakia Adelubi called me and said someone had been killed in my house. I went to meet them at the police station. When we got to the house, we met the door to the lady’s apartment locked. There was a huge crowd. . The police, after getting approval, forced the open and we saw the younger sister of the lady I saw earlier on the floor, dead. I didn’t know what happened.
“They called my attention to Azeez and I said he had left for home because I saw the Bagco bags I asked him to bring in my house. I usually give Azeez a cutlass to do the cutting and he would keep it within the compound until the day he finishes, after which it would be returned to me. On February 20, the police took Azeez to the scene and asked him to show them where he kept the cutlass. This was because the cutlass was found beside the lifeless body of the girl killed.
“I learnt that Azeez was transferred from the police station to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, Ibadan. I was invited to the department on Monday, February 24 and I have been detained ever since.”
The deceased’s sister said her parents have taken everything with equanimity. “What can they do? They have accepted their fate and looking unto God for justice. My sister was in her last semester in the school and was on her final year project. She was the third in the family and her twin is also late. However, we are happy that UI has taken up the case,” she said.
The police image maker in Oyo State, Deputy Superintendent of Police Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor confirmed the story, saying detectives at the homicide section were doing all within their powers to unravel those behind the killing.