•Guard killed two weeks to wedding, pregnant fiancée, family in distress
From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
By now, the gunmen that unleashed terror on Otun-Ekiti, a sprawling border town in Moba Local Government Area of Ekiti State on November 11, 2016, would probably be relishing the proceeds of their crime. But relatives of the deceased and the entire community are still relating tales of woe, grief, pain and anguish.
The robbers emptied the vaults of two new generation banks in the town and, in the course of their satanic mission, they dispatched four innocent residents to their early graves.
The mauraders had stormed the community in the evening of Friday, November 11, in a commando-like manner. They reportedly secured the four outlets leading into the community and rained bullets and explosives on all corners of the town.
According to the town’s royal father, Oba Adedapo Popoola, Oore Otun of Mobaland, the robbery incident was so terrifying that he thought it was a sudden attack by the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
Hear the monarch: “It happened around 6pm on Friday evening. I was relaxing with my chiefs in front of the palace when we heard what first sounded like some fireworks and we dismissed it as the antics of children getting set for Christmas. But we later heard heavier and more shocking sounds that resembled gunshots and explosives. That was when we realised it was no child’s play.
“Gunshots and explosives were all over the place and heard from all corners. I couldn’t situate the incident as we ruminated whether it was a robbery, Boko Haram attack or some kind of war happening. We later learnt that the robbers mounted their men at the four outlets into the town. The first was the roundabout at Orimope Road, second was outside Moba Local Government secretariat, he third was in front of my palace and the fourth was in front of the Technical College outside the town on the way leading to Kwara.
“The sporadic gunshots and explosives lasted for about an hour before the dust settled. And by that time four innocent lives had been wasted. The manager and cashier of one of the banks attacked, the security man at the second bank and my night guard who had just resumed for night duties and wanted to close the gate.
“I reported the case to the governor and he immediately called me and mobilised security operatives. They promptly followed the governor’s instructions and came around past 7pm. But by then, the robbers had long left.”
The monarch, who said the incident was the first ever in the town, explained that Otun was actually prone to such attacks as the town borders Kogi, Osun and Kwara states.
“The border towns and local government areas should be given very tight security so that such incident would not happen again. Government should put in more effort into seeing to the protection of lives and property,” Oba Popoola said.
Olaoluwa Afolayan Jimoh, 29, was the young security guard working with one of the banks that was attacked. He was killed during the robbery.
At the family house at Odo-Iladun area of Otun-Ekiti. And many grief-stricken faces greeted the reporter. The eldest woman of the family, Mrs. Bolanle Bello, who couldn’t stop the tears streaming down her face as she spoke with the reporter, recalled that all preparations for the wedding of the deceased with his now pregnant fiancée, Damilola, were in top gear even on the day of the incident when she saw him last.
Said she: “I spoke with Olaoluwa an hour before his death. He had come to see me here at our family house at Odo-Iladun area of Otun to discuss about his wedding plans. We had discussed how we would buy the items on the engagement list that his fiancée’s family had sent for the wedding ceremony. My younger brother, who remains as a father for him since he lost his father some years ago, had come visiting on the wedding preparations. He had prostrated to us all in gratitude after our deliberations.
“When his pregnant fiancée heard the shocking news of his death, she immediately fainted. She is still in the hospital.”
What kind of a man was the young man? Her response: “People around us knew him much more than I do. Since the time he was killed, our family house has become a Mecca of sorts as many young and old people who knew Olaoluwa for his benevolence have been coming here in hundreds to sympathise with us. Many of his colleagues who he was farming with said he was a very humble and easy-going man. No one ever reported him to me on any misconduct. They said he was generous. At his farm, he would prepare roasted yam or pounded yam and make soup and invite anyone around to join him.”
An elderly woman who said she used to buy yams from Olaoluwa’s farm also spoke about the deceased’s generosity. She recalled that the deceased would always prepare food for everyone around.
Mr. Oni James, a maternal uncle to the deceased, fought back tears as he told the reporter. “On the same day that he was shot dead, our mother had called in the morning to tell me that our family head from Akure had visited and dropped his own part of the money that we were contributing for Olaoluwa’s wedding which was to hold in two weeks’ time. She had told me that in case we would not make the wedding, we should send our own part of the contribution. It was however, disastrous for me to also get another call in the evening that the boy, whose wedding we were preparing for, had been shot dead by some armed robbers.
“This morning, we had to rush down from Ado-Ekiti. We went straight to the palace of the Oore Otun who took us to the police station and we also went to the scene of the crime at the two banks. Everyone who witnessed what happened testified to it that he died while he had already resumed work. We met with his bank manager and a regional manager who had come from Lagos and they also confirmed this and also promised to assist during his burial. The bank also sent representatives to commiserate with us. We have also followed all due processes and procedures in documenting his death.
“His wife-to-be is just a school certificate holder and is teaching at a private nursery and primary school in Otun.”
The security guard attached to the monarch and who was also shot dead by the robbers was 65-year-old Philip Abiodun Sunday. He was killed as he struggled to close the palace gates. He was a bricklayer before he took up the job as the royal father’s security guard in 2002. A father of nine children from three women, the deceased’s last child is just three years old, in a kindergarten in the community.
Eldest child of the deceased, 30-year-old Odunayo, could not control her tears while she spoke to the reporter at the family house in Odo-Mayan area of Otun-Ekiti.
She told the reporter: “My father had secured a plot of land six months ago and was planning to start building on it. He would now have to be buried there.”
His 17-year-old daughter, Ruth Abiodun, will be sitting for the upcoming West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE). Another child, Ebenezer, just turned three. “I spoke with my father about three weeks ago and he promised to assist me on getting the equipment for my tailoring business and also assist me during my freedom ceremony, which had been put on hold for over six months now due to lack of money. My father had promised that he would make sure everything is done by next year January. But see what has happened to him now,” he said.
Odunayo pleaded with government to assist the family in sponsoring the three youngest children in the family, aged 10, six and three, as well as the girl about to sit for her school certificate examinations.
Excitement as Ideato folks celebrate New Yam festival
By Gilbert Ekezie
Communities in Ideato North and South local government areas of Imo State resident in Lagos recently gathered at the Calabar Hall, Surulere, to celebrate their annual New Yam Festival, also known as Iri Ji.
The group, under the aegis of Ideato United Association, also used the occasion to present its 2017/2018 almanac.
The socio-cultural event was well-attended by all the autonomous communities in Ideato, friends, well-wishers and other guests. The roasted new yam was blessed, cut and shared by the attendees, who ate the meal with fresh palm oil, pepper and other ingredients. The event also created an opportunity for the people to discuss social, cultural and political developments in the area.
President of the of the association, Comrade Bruno Ezinwa, said the programme was all about the culture of the people and how the Ideato area could come into the limelight and benefit more in the scheme of things in Imo State.
He described Ideato as a place rich in culture and tradition, and the people were hard-working Christians who have the fear of God.
“We arranged this programme to promote our culture. Even as Christians, we know it is good to learn from the Bible, promote good things and drop the bad ones. So, we decided to allow our children to learn more of our rich cultures and traditions that are good. We formed this association to meet with one another and deliberate as brothers and sisters to chart a common course for our people,” he said.
Ezinwa noted that Ideato had produced prominent people that have for years contributed to the development of Imo State and Nigeria.
“Personalities like Mazi Mbonu Ojike, Dr. Kingsley O. Mbadiwe, Dr. Collins Obi and Owelle Rochas Okorocha are all Ideato sons who have achieved a lot for this country. We also have successful businessmen and women as well as learned personalities. So, our struggle did not start today. That is why we should not relent,” he said.
Chairman of the occasion, Deacon Obinna Nwabueze, thanked God for bringing the people of Ideato together under one umbrella.
He said the occasion would help solidify their relationship and ginger them to do more for the peace, progress and development of Ideato area.
“This project of bringing Ideato people together is good and needs to be supported by all so that it does not fail. We should look beyond our town unions. You can see that Ideato people have no one in the executive arm of government in Imo State and that is not good for us politically. It is true that all of us cannot reside at home, but we can push from here. Our vision of peace and progress is good but there should be a force to project it. For us to get what we need is not by force, but with good thinking and perseverance…We should give ourselves targets for what we will achieve next year and other years ahead. Let us think about the development of Ideato and stop this pull-him-down syndrome that we are applying.”
Special guest of honour, Chief Chris Ekweilo, commended the people for their efforts.
He noted that Ideato deserved more than what the people were getting and advised them to work towards breaking through in politics.
Ekweilo, an Igbo leader in the All Progressives Congress in Lagos, charged Ideato indigenes to look beyond what they had on ground. He urged them to be more active in politics.
“Today is a great and important day for the people of Ideato. I would say that they are lucky because they have personalities to reckon with. The immediate past Vice Chairman of Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government, Lagos State, Deacon Obinna Nwabueze, is their son. But they need to give him and others support to get to higher political positions so that they would be represented well in Imo State.”
Brazilian firm brings succour to farmers, youths
By Kehinde Aderemi
Nigerian farmers and youths interested in farming now have a cause to be optimistic. A Brazilian company, Tramontina Nigeria, has announced its presence in the country to boost agriculture, provide jobs and help the country through its present economic challenges.
Marketing and sales executive, Tramontina, Funbi Sowande, spoke recently at the unveiling of the company’s products in Lagos. She said the company was ready to reduce unemployment by partnering with the stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
“Tramontina produces various agricultural products, tools, and other household equipment, including machetes and shovels.
“We are in Nigeria to boost the agricultural sector. We are also ready to produce quality products and provide quality services to Nigerian farmers and others by making available all agric products to Nigerians,” she said.
She stated that Nigerians farmers and entrepreneurs who deal in agric products would soon heave a sigh of relief.
“The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is seriously considering the option of diversifying the Nigerian economy by investing in agriculture and other sectors. Therefore, we are supporting government’ s initiatives by producing different products in household, agriculture tools, homeware products, furniture and kitchen equipment, thus creating employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the country,” she said, adding that the company had, since 1911, operated in over 100 countries across the world.
Sowande, explained that the choice of Nigeria as the next destination was born out of the company’ s desire to boost the agriculture sector and reduce unemployment in the country.