…3 weeks to her death
- How she was killed on Abuja Road
From CLEMENT ADEYI, Osogbo
Permanent Secretary, Bureau of General Services, Office of Osun State Governor, Mrs Olufunke Oluwakemi Kolawole, who was murdered on the Okene-Abuja Road in Kogi State, on her way to Abuja last Thursday, was not actually killed by kidnappers.
Fresh facts have revealed that Kolawole was killed by suspected armed robbers.
Investigations by Sunday Sun indicated that the assailants, numbering about 10 attacked the permanent secretary, who was with a woman simply identified as Olori and her driver, Babaniyi Adesanmi, in a commando style. Once they forced the vehicle to stop, the hoodlums quickly pulled her out and immediately dealt fatal machete cuts on her with full intent to kill.
While Mrs Kolawole was being manhandled by her attackers, three of the hoodlums were busy ransacking her handbags in search of money and other valuables.
One of her personal assistants (name withheld) who visited LAUTECH Hospital Osogbo, where her driver, Adesanmi is recuperating, following the major injuries inflicted on him during the attack, gave a blow-by-blow account of what happened, as it was related to him by the late permanent secretary’s driver.
On the fateful day, the driver, the source said, had set out from Osogbo in the early hours to Abuja with his boss who was going to felicitate with a colleague (name withheld) who had just been promoted to a prominent position.
“When they got to the point where she was attacked, they suddenly heard a sound but thought it was the tyre of their vehicle that burst. It was when a vehicle blocked their own that they realized what they heard earlier was a gunshot. Time was about 10.00 am.
“Suddenly, heavily armed men, including a woman came out of a vehicle. It was the woman that first blocked the deceased’s car. Briskly the hoodlums bundled the deceased out of the car and whisked her into a nearby bush where they dealt several machete cuts on her,” the source said.
According to him, as soon as the driver saw blood gushing out of his boss’ body, he fainted. Yet, he too, was brutally attacked and hit severally with some dangerous weapons. Also attacked by the hoodlums was the woman in the car with them when the incident happened.
“The hoodlums made away with an undisclosed amount of money, mobile handsets and other valuable items,” he said.
Sunday Sun further learnt that some Osun State Government officials who were ahead of them during the trip, after getting a hint of the attack, made a U-turn and took the victims, including the deceased, to a hospital in Okene where Mrs Kolawole later gave up the ghost.
The driver and the other female victim (Olori) were later brought to LAUTECH Hospital Osogbo for treatment.
While the woman was discharged immediately, the driver is still recuperating.
The grief-stricken husband, Tunde Kolawole, told Sunday Sun at the family house that the corpse of his late wife was brought to Osogbo last Friday night in a government ambulance and now in the mortuary at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, awaiting burial arrangements, which would soon be announced.
He commended the state government for its prompt response in rescuing the other two victims who were with his wife when she was attacked and for ensuring that the corpse arrived Osogbo without delay.
Kolawole, who is based in Lagos where he practices Law, shared painful memories of his last moments with his wife with Sunday Sun: “About three weeks ago, she sent a text message to me. I was in Lagos then. When I read the message, it said: ‘In case anything happens, please take care of the children. Make sure they are comfortable.’
“When I read the message, I thought it was her normal way of asking me to care for the children. I never suspected anything bad, neither did I imagine that anything was going to happen to her.”
Prodded if the deceased had any premonition of her death, he said: “I don’t think so. I don’t want to believe that she had a premonition of her death before sending that message to me. I only felt that it was her normal way of asking me to take care of the children.”
Expressing his opinion on how his wife lost her life, Mr. Kolawole said: “I can’t say whether they were kidnappers because the manner in which they attacked her showed that they were not kidnappers, but robbers because some of them searched her bags and made away with money, her handsets and other valuable items.”
On what he will miss the most about his wife, Kolawole said: “She was my backbone in all ramifications. She was a very close friend. She was not just a wife but like a mother to me. She was my counselor. She was intelligent, very hardworking and industrious. She added value to people that worked with her. She was very generous. She related with people freely. Without the huge help she gave me, it would have been difficult for me to achieve all that I have achieved. I will continue to miss her.”
Her younger brother, Femi Ajibade, who narrated the family’s experience about the demise said: “The family members became so worried when we could not reach her on the phone on that Thursday evening she was killed. I spoke with her last on Wednesday, and one of my sisters called me on Thursday evening that her number could not be reached. I rushed down to her house at Ofatedo, where I gathered that she was in critical condition after being attacked and shot by armed robbers in Kogi State, on her way to Abuja for an event.
“We later arranged among the family members to travel to Kogi and ascertain her condition, but we were prevailed upon not to go again, as some of her associates confirmed to us that she was already dead.”
On how the family would miss her, Ajibade said: “She was the first in the family of seven. She became the breadwinner of the family as soon as our parents died in 2005. She was a faithful Christian and very religious. She was hardworking and benevolent. She was very generous. She was our hero. She put smiles on anybody that came her way because she did not discriminate but assisted anybody that needed her help. Her death has created very big vacuum that only God Almighty can fill. The family will miss her greatly.”
Amid tears, her younger sister, Mrs Oluremi (Nee Ajibade) told Sunday Sun: “She replaced our parents as the breadwinner. She was kind to us and other people. Whenever she bought foodstuff, she would also buy for people that came across her. She was very generous. She made all of us happy. Everyday was like Christmas in her house. We will miss her kindness. We will miss her dearly.”
Speaking on behalf his siblings, the third of her four sons, who graduated in Law from the University of Ibadan, Oluwole Kolawole, said: “We will miss mum dearly. She was everything to us. She was our closest friend. I personally will miss her words of advice. I will miss her prayers and I believe people will also miss her because she lived for people.
In the same vein, her in-law, Innocent Abesi said: “I valued her more than my life because of her kindness and generosity. Her memories will continue to linger in the heart of everybody that knew her because she was too nice.”
The Osun State Head of Service, Sunday Owoeye, said government and the people of the state received the news of Mrs Kolawole’s death as a rude shock.
Owoeye in release signed and made available to Sunday Sun lamented: “We commiserate with the family of the deceased, the entire public service and the State Government of Osun on this irreparable loss.”