Chioma Igbokwe And Moshood Adebayo
The gruesome murder of Qudus Anifowoshe on October 14, 2019, once again brought panic to the residents of Lagos town of Ikorodu.
While they had enjoyed relative safety and calm in the last two years after the killing spree of Badoo Boys, the murder of the teenager was a wake-up call that some ritualists are still prowling in the outskirt town. The victim’s body was found mutilated with missing parts, the unmistakable imprints of ritual killing. It was alleged that the 14-year-old student of Icon Primary and Secondary school Ikorodu, was last seen before his disappearance walking side by side with a suspect identified as Daniel Ameh, who was further implicated when three days later the mutilated corpse was found in an uncompleted building close to the house where he lived at Igbogbo Agunfoye Ire. Daniel Ameh, 17, has since been arrested and detained by detectives attached to the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti.
However, two weeks later, the police are not close to unravelling the why or how he was killed, while the suspect, an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, in his declaration of his innocence, insists the real killers are still at large. His evidence: the victim was once kidnapped and ransomed in the past.
The bereaved family, on the other hand, believed police are dillydallying in what they think should be an open-and-shut case.
Taofeek Anifowoshe, the victim’s father, alleged: “My son was found dead in an uncompleted building around 2 pm on Friday, October 18. They poured chemical on him, removed his eyes, tongue, heart, breasts and private parts. He went missing on Monday night and all the children with him said he was last seen with Daniel [Ameh]. We searched for him all through that Monday night but we did not see him. When we started looking for him, it was Daniel’s grandmother that went to ring the church bell and was announcing that my son had gone missing. But the surprising thing to us is that bloodstains were seen on the curtains of Daniel’s grandmother’s house and on the fence from where Qudus was thrown to the other side. We believe that he was killed inside that room and they dumped his body through the fence to the other side.”
Suspect’s story of innocence
At the SCID where he is currently detained, 17-year-old Daniel Ameh insisted that he knew nothing about the death of Qudus whom he referred to as a friend.
This was the story he told Saturday Sun: “On Monday, October 14, I went to the hospital with my grandmother for my regular check-up. She has made it a routine to take me for checkups to be sure that I did not contract any disease while in school. Few minutes after the laboratory test was conducted, the nurse told my grandmother that there were traces of Malaria and Typhoid fever in my blood. I updated my Whatsapp status to show that I was sick. One of those that commented was Tawa, the sister to the late Qudus, who is also my friend. She accused me of not coming around to see her. I promised to do so as soon as I return from the hospital.
“In the evening, I went to their house and met her plaiting her hair. We were chatting when Qudus came in, took his brother’s slippers and told them that he was going to his friend’s place. On my way out, I saw him standing with some Arabic students watching a movie on his phone. I asked him to transfer the movie to my phone and while he was doing that, a boy who lives on their street, Juwon Adebisi, left with Qudus.
Since we had not finished transferring the movie to my phone, he left his phone with me. I waited in front of their compound till I was done and luckily, he came back and I handed the phone back to him and left.”
Ameh claimed that he was already at home with his grandmother when some women were going around the area searching for Qudus.
“It was around 9 pm that I heard voices of women at our backyard complaining that they were looking for their son. I discovered it was Qudus’ mother and other women who were searching the uncompleted building beside our house.”
By 11 pm, some community women banged at their gate.
“I came out and opened the gate. They asked me if I knew where Qudus was since I was seen with him earlier in the day. In the presence of my grandmother, I told them that I was collecting a movie from his phone.”
The next day, he was at the Anifowoshe home to find out if Qudus had been found. “I was concerned because his elder sister, Tawa, is my friend,” he said. “She told me that they had not seen him.
The following day, Wednesday, he was at their house again. “To encourage my friend Tawa,” he said.
There he heard various accounts of people recounting the last time they saw the missing lad. “A woman said that while he was with the Arabic students, he received a call and wanted to leave when they pleaded with him to go for his 8 pm prayer and he replied in Yoruba that he wanted to go and jump the fence. Another man said that he saw him inside a barbing saloon that day.”
However, before the end of that day, the spotlight shifted to him.
“I went home and started receiving calls from friends asking if I am gay. My grandmother even confronted me with the same question. She said the news in town was that I was last seen with Qudus. She said that she was worried because people were saying that the way I held Qudus was as if I was holding a girl.”
Ameh insisted: “[Late] Qudus is just the brother of my friend, Tawa and I related to him as such. I have never had a reason to walk around with him neither did I force him to join any secret cult.”
Amid this disturbing development, he had to return to Ago Iwoye for his studies. However, distressing calls from Ikorodu kept coming. The most disturbing was from his grandmother who lamented the incessant harassment she was being subjected to by youths in the area who accused her of hiding her grandson.
“At about 10 pm that same Thursday, my aunt called and told me Qudus’ body was found at the uncompleted building close to our house and that angry youths jumped into our compound and started beating my grandmother. She told me she was saved by the intervention of some elders and the police who took her to the police station,” he narrated.
Ameh travelled back to Ikorodu and handed himself over to the police.
“I was the one that the police were looking for; if I stayed away they will detain my grandmother and she might die of heartache. [So] I went to Igbogbo Police Station where they detained her. They arrested me, while she was immediately released.”
In tears, Ameh claimed he had no idea how the mutilated corpse ended in the uncompleted building next to his house.
“This same building was searched by the women in the community that night and they did not find him there. I was among the young men who searched the whole area for him,” he argued. “Initially, we thought that he ran away because of fear that his mother would beat him. We also thought that he was kidnapped.”
He avowed that he was not a cultist or a ritualist and neither did he conspire with anyone to kill the boy.
“The only thing that is true was that I collected an Indian movie from his phone and this was done in front of their house,” he stated. “I never confessed to having killed him.”
The 17-year-old attributed his ordeal to malice. “I know that Qudus’ father does not like me because I was dating his daughter Tawa. He has warned me severally to stay away from his daughter. We like each other, and he is very angry about that.”
On the accusation of his being gay, Ameh denied the allegation with further clarification: “I am not gay. I love women, that is why I am dating Tawa,” he said. “While I was in secondary school, I was sexually molested by my seniors. They’d lure me to a corner and force me to touch their penises.”
He gave further insight into his background: “I was born and raised by my mother because my father abandoned her when she was pregnant with me. My mother remarried and currently lives in Dublin. I had to stay with my grandmother who is doing a wonderful job.”
On the allegation that his behaviours are effeminate, he said: “I grew up among women, who, to some extent, affected the way I walk and how neat I appear; this is why everyone assumed that I am gay and irresponsible men on the street normally approached me to have sex with them. Perhaps what worsened the matter was that during the ASUU strike, I went to learn how to plait hair for women. Everyone close to me assumed that I was attracted to women’s stuff because I am gay. Even my grandma has to visit the school with our pastor to advise and warn me of the dangers of being gay. I swore to her with the Bible and to further convince her, I joined the Christian fellowship on campus.”
He concluded his narration with a twist to the story when he urged the Police to find those who kidnapped Qudus in the past.
His words: “The bad boys in the community are envious of the man; that was why they kidnapped his son in the past and he paid them before the boy was released to him.”
Bereaved family’s version of the story
Mr Taofeek Anifowoshe, father of the late Qudus, a haulage driver, was in his place of work in Apapa when he received the bad news of his missing son on that ill-fated day. “A search party was organised by the community, just as we reported to security agencies and community leaders within our areas,” he recounted.
Mr Anifowoshe and his wife, Risikat, were at Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, October 29, where they spoke with Saturday Sun.
He narrated how Qudus, one of his five children, who attended Arabic school on their street, was reportedly sent home that fateful day to bring his Quran before his mysterious disappearance.
He said: “I was told that after he returned from school on that day, he was seen with one Daniel, a student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye after which his mutilated body was found after three days’ search in an uncompleted building near Daniel’s grandfather’s compound.”
Lamenting the cruel fate that befell his son, he wailed: “This is the height of wickedness by any mortal to his fellow human beings. I never imagined this would happen to me or any of my close relations. It is unbelievable and I still do not know why I’m the target.”
He claimed that the suspect could hardly exonerate himself from the death of his son. He also expressed displeasure with his overall impression of Police investigation. “As much as I appreciate police’s investigations, I wonder why they never deemed it fit to conduct on-the-spot investigations to the scene where the mutilated body of my son was discovered days after he was declared missing.”
He alleged the police had not returned to the scene of the crime or the home where the suspect lived with his grandmother, Mrs Comfort Omoyeghe Dickson.
“They never entered the premises where the Daniels live to see series of evidence that abounds there,” he said.
Anifowoshe appealed to the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to impress on the detectives to carry out thorough investigations into the murder and bring the culprit to book.
His appeal, he said, became imperative as “we are not truly convinced that the police was carrying out any investigation as they had promised.”
His wife, Risikat Anifowoshe, a trader, also denounced the lassitude displayed by the police towards the investigation. She alleged that the police had, a few days ago, tried to assist a family member of the suspect to pack some items from his grandmother’s house.
Reaction from the Police
Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana said there is no basis for the allegation of a cover-up on the part of the police. “The DPO did a good job by arresting the suspect. There is no concrete evidence linking the grandmother with the murder, but the boy is still in custody,” he stated.
Elkana, who insisted that he did not want to join issues with the bereaved, said: “The boy has been transferred to the SCID. It is painful that they lost a child; they should be calm as the police are carrying out intensive investigation and will ensure that justice is done.’’