The Rasaq Bello twins of Essa Atagisoro’s Compound, Offa, Kwara State, Taiwo and Kehinde, are endangered; and it is for real. Not only that, assassins hired by land grabbers, are on their trail after killing their father in a shadowy circumstance.
They claimed that this might not be unconnected with the fact that their was the heir apparent to his father’s vast landed property, being the only male child amid two other siblings. They inferred that his life must have been abruptly terminated so that the transgressors would have unfettered access to the property, which they did and are illegally selling now. Despite the threat to their own lives, they warned the trespassers to keep off the family land.
In what looks like an enactment of Yoruba popular saying: “If a child has not come of age and lays hand on sword, he must not inquire of his father’s death,” Taiwo and Kehinde, having grown into adults now want to know what killed their father.
They are calling on Kwara State Governor and the Inspector General of Police to come to their aid, after they barely missed assassins’ bullets. They want them to ask their first cousin (one of their aunt’s sons), whom they claimed confessed to police that he was their father’s last caregiver, who saw him die and solely buried him.
They alleged that the cousin buried their father without the consent and knowledge of the immediate family. They also blamed him for leading a gang to the land, that straddles three villages; Moselu, Opekan and Igonno. They appealed to government to assist them extricate the vast properties from his vice-like grip.
Taiwo said their late father, Rasaq Bello, about 54 years old at his death, an itinerant goldsmith-cum-watch repairer, started his journey of no return when he decided to lodge in his father’s compound in 2001 after returning from a trip:
“He returned from his journey sometimes in 2001 and lodged in his father’s house, a day to his death. Then, we were about 17 years we visited him to welcome him home after a long journey. While leaving in the evening to our mother’s village at Ira, nine kilometers away, we had no premonition that that would be the last time we would see him.
“In fact, we had promised to come back the following day. But on the wee hours of that fateful day, when we had barely rested from the trip, an emissary came calling to inform our mother of her husband’s sudden death. The man we just left barely 12 hours ago! What could have killed him? Off we rushed down to Offa ahead of our mother.
“When we got to the place, we met people washing the floor of the family house where we had left the man the previous day. ‘Where is our father’s corpse?’ We inquired. But we were met with a rude response from the people; ‘Which corpse are you asking for? Or do you want to go the same way your father had gone?’ We were shocked! We had to scamper for safety.
“We were too afraid to lodge a complaint at police station or at the Oba’s palace. We didn’t have the guts; we could not even try it then. They could kill us.
Our mother told us to run for cover. She too could not lodge complaints. If she had tried it or probed her husband’s death further, they could have maimed her with juju or killed her outright. She still bears the scars of their brutality on her body.
“Up till now, we don’t know where he was buried and nobody has ever come out to tell us that the man didn’t die. It was that our first cousin (names withheld) that knew everything about the death and his burial. In fact, he told police in 2016 that he was the one taking care of the deceased and administering herbal medicine (being a babalawo) to him till he died.
Bone of contention
“We want to get our father’s body; we want to know his tomb. We want to see whoever buried our father without our consent. Again, we want to get back our family’s land that these people are selling illegally at Moselu, Opekan and Igonno.
“Our first cousin handed the power to be issuing and stamping receipts for the sold land to his accomplice, who is not even from Offa. Our aunt, Halimot, sincerely revealed to us the truth about the family land as well as the conspiracy of those who murdered our father.
“In January 2016, when we got wind of their shady activities on our late father’s land, we took the matter up by contacting a lawyer. He petitioned the state Commissioner of Police on our behalf. The DCP summoned those indicted in the illegal land sale. Over 180 strange people, unknown to the family, turned up at the police station.
“A lawyer contracted by the family of our aunt’s husband, had sued the usurpers over the same land matters. The litigants challenged the usurpers to produce 16 witnesses who would testify that, truly, they are the original owners of the land they had been selling.
“The man told us that these land grabbers had thought that no male child existed again in the family after the death of our father. But since we open this matter, we have not been stable due to our job as seafarers. We have been working on ships from Cameroon to Liberia.
“As we started this matter, we came across somebody, (names withheld) a commercial motorcyclist. We bonded. We always put up with him any time we came to Offa. It was from him that we learnt that our first cousin (names withheld) was after our lives.
“The hired killers had missed us narrowly, came calling just as we left Offa that fateful day. They blocked the okada man, our friend, on the highway and inquired of our whereabouts. They told him that somebody had paid for our heads, showing him the picture of the man, our first cousin. He deceived them that we are his blood brothers and that we had already returned to our base.
“As we charged our dead phones the second morning of our return, it was his call we received first. He explained that we had escaped death by the whiskers through the grace of God and narrated what happened. Since that time, we have been hiding ourselves.
As a matter of fact, only few know that we exist. Many of these people busy selling our land illegally, do not know us. They are seriously looking for us.
Calling for help
“We are begging the whole world to intervene in this matter. We are the only surviving male children in Essa Atagisoro family in Offa. If there is any other male, they should come out so that we know them. The usurpers selling our land, we don’t know them.
“When we took the matter to the Commissioner of Police, he invited all of them. They wrote statements.
But when we returned to Lagos, our lawyer informed us that money was now involved; that we should look for N500,000 to bring all of them from Offa to Zone 2 in Lagos. Since, then, despite all our efforts, we have not been able to raise the money.”
Kwara police react
When contacted on Wednesday evening, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Kwara State Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, could not comment immediately on the matter. He said: “There are many departments in the police command.
“Unless you are able to identify the department handling the case.
That is when I can lay hold on the file and give you update on the issue.” He promised prompt response the following day.
As early as 8 am the following day, he was sent detail through his WhatsApp: “The case was handled at A Division by the Commissioner of Police (CP) then. I will give you a call.” When called later in the evening yesterday, he said he could not trace the case file.