■ Insider connection suspected
By Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
With Atiba community in Ogun State, still enveloped by grief, the million dollar question being asked by everybody in the area is: who killed Sheik Yussuf Abdul-Salam and his entire family?
Equally disturbed is the Ogun State Police Command, which has launched a massive investigation to unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act, which appeared to have the trademark modus operandi of the dreaded ‘Badoo’ boys, who have been unleashing terror on the residents of Ikorodu in Lagos State.
Hoodlums massacred the Islamic cleric, his wife and four children, whose ages ranged between 10 and two years, in a gruesome manner in the early hours of Tuesday, May 16, in their home.
The sheik was said to have been bludgeoned to death with a huge stone, while the wife and four children (Lateefat, 10 years, Rahmat, two years and the eight year old twins, Hammad and Muhammad), were hacked to death.
When Sunday Sun visited the home of the victims in the Atiba area of Odogbolu town, now in Leguru Local Council Development Area, the unpainted bungalow had been locked-up. The main gate into the compound was not locked, but when Sunday Sun reporter attempted to do a quick assessment of the house, neighbours who were apparently still in shock initially kicked against it. They later relented when the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, led other senior police chiefs in the state, to assess the situation.
Not a few people, including the police, were taken aback by the precision with which the assailant (s) wiped out the family of six, without the neighbours being alerted by sound of the attack. It was discovered that there was no forceful entry into the building, whether through the door or windows. It was this curious discovery surrounding the killing that made Iliyasu to submit that there may have been an insider who helped the killers to perpetrate the heinous act.
But a neighbour who craved anonymity, confided in our correspondent that the assailants, scaled the fence into the compound, removed the mosquito net and louvers from one of the rooms in the house, to gain access into the house.
Speaking with journalists during the visit to the scene of the crime on Wednesday, the police commissioner, who later paid a condolence visit to the League of Imams and Alfas in Ijebu Ode, vowed that the killers of the cleric would be tracked down and arrested.
“A massive manhunt has been launched by the police command to track down and apprehend the killers of Muslim cleric, Sheik Yussuf Abdul-Salam, his wife and four children,” Iliyasu assured.
He said the police could not rule out that the hoodlums had the help of an insider in carrying out the dastardly act, adding that the police were assessing the area, and also profiling the modus operandi of the perpetrators.
The CP said: “We have assessed the situation, we are assessing the area and we are profiling the modus operandi, that is, trying to know how the hoodlums carried out the dastardly act. We have launched a very massive manhunt to track them down.
“The trace of the modus that was used indicates that there was an insider or somebody who had a grudge and chose to vent it in this way. We will not allow that to hibernate in this peaceful society. As a result of that we have launched a massive manhunt to track down the hoodlums, who committed this dastardly act. Definitely, they will be tracked down and they will face the wrath of the law.
“It’s a constructive act; when we say constructive act, it means an act which was done by a knowledge of the internal layout of the place. And in view of that, we don’t have to let out our strategies. All the people in the community are working with the police and we have our covert deployment and definitely we’ll get to the root of the matter.”
Also speaking, the chairman of Odogbolu Local Government Area, Hon. Olawale Shittu, said: “We got the information in the early hours of Tuesday that there was a kind of assassination in Atiba town of Leguru LCDA; immediately the police were alerted. I want to seize this opportunity to commend the efforts of the Divisional Police Officer of Odogbolu, the Area Commander and all officers of the police; they gave us a very rapid response. Within a short period, men of the police had surrounded here and they started combing the area. We know that they would take necessary action by the time they finish the investigation. On our part as government, we want to express our condolence to the family of the departed souls and promise to ensure that every necessary assistance will be given to the police in order to unravel the perpetrators of the assassination.”
Describing the late cleric as not only pious, but easy going and humble, one of the relatives, Abdulhamid Ahmad Adesina, said: “With his death, I believe that many people are dead already because he was a very kind person. I want the security agencies, even the government to nab the perpetrators of this crime. They should not allow them to go scot-free, because if they are allowed to go scot-free, they would still commit another crime.”
In her own view, another relative of late Abdul-Salam Ganiyat Yusuf, said she could not comprehend why anybody would want her brother dead. According to her, the late cleric never offended anybody.
“What happened left me in deep shock and agony. He always greeted people. And if you needed any help and you went to meet him, he would do it for you. That’s what I know. He never offended anybody,” she said.
To a fellow cleric, Alhaji Muhammadu Taoheed Ajibelohun, Abdul-Salam was just a comforter and source of joy to his colleagues.
Ajibelohun, who disclosed that he met with the deceased on Sunday morning, urged the police to unmask the killers.
“On Sunday morning we still spoke. He’s my friend, we learned Islamic and Arabic Studies together. In fact, we belonged to the same set at the Madrasah. I was just called that alfa, his wife and children were hacked to death. We first thought the information was false. But when we got there, we found that alfa and his family had been killed. We are still mourning. The police should expose those behind this. We pray that person behind this crime should experience serious discomfort and have his secrets exposed. The slain cleric was our comforter, our joy,” Ajibelohun said.