- They begged me to rush him to hospital, not to give him drinking water –Wife
- He had premonition of his death –Brother
- Police yet to make any arrestRI
By Romanus Ugwu
For the Amenkhenan Oyakhilome family in Ewu, Auchi, Edo State, January 31, 2017, could have passed like every other bright and beautiful day. Their son, Yusuf Oyakhilome, full of life as usual, had enjoyed almost the whole day to the fullest.
He had gone through a busy schedule of taking his children to school, transacting banking business, visiting his construction project sites as a professional building technologist and visiting his friends and relatives, without any intuition that tragedy awaited him that same night.
Barely five months after packing into his newly constructed bungalow at the Kwakwashe Madala Phase 2 area of Niger State, near the FCT, death knocked on his door. Going by the serenity around his house, Yusuf had no reason to suspect that cruel death in the hands of marauders would claim him that night.
Described as accommodating, generous, a peacemaker, the 33-year-old Yusuf, already preparing for his 34 birthday next month, had enjoyed a warm relationship with his neighbours. Highly energetic and industrious, he had everything working for him, wealth, family life and a professional career.
Within a few months of moving into his house, where he eventually lost his life, he graded a road, drilled a borehole and renovated the only mosque for the Muslim faithful in his neighbourhood. He was also said to have reconciled the feuding Muslim groups in his area.
On that faithful Tuesday, Yusuf had had a hectic day putting everything in place for his trip to Auchi the next day, Wednesday, over the death of his grandmother. After visiting his project sites, he rejoined his wife, two daughters and a four-month-old son at home.
With every arrangement for his trip concluded, Yusuf had almost retired to bed when the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) restored power that night, taking him outside to switch on the water pump that provides water to the neighbourhood.
It was shortly after switching off the pump that the strange intruders stormed his compound. Ordering Yusuf’s neighbour, who had raised the alarm to inquire of their mission, to retire to his house because, according to them, Yusuf was the sole target. The robbers headed straight for Yusuf’s compound .
Scaling the fence, they gained entrance into Yusuf’s compound, and they deployed every wicked means to penetrate inside the securely locked living and sitting rooms, including using a gas cylinder to shatter the window glass panes and iron burglary proof.
Perhaps, mistaking the robbers for harmless hungry youths, Yusuf tried to scare away the intruders with a cutlass. But that turned out to be a costly mistake as his action did not only infuriate the robbers but also made them to murder him.
Wife narrates ordeal, how the robbers begged her not to give him water
For the young widow, Rabiat Jafaru Yusuf, a housewife, it was the end of the world, to lose a man who did not only pampered her like a baby but also provided for their three children and relatives.
With tears that refused to stop flowing, she relived how she had a horrific dream shortly after waking her late husband up to switch off the water pump that night.
She equally recalled the agony of watching her husband in a pool of his own blood calling for help before he gave up the ghost. She narrated how the robbers ordered her not to give her husband drinking water and pleaded with her to beg the neighbours to rush him to a hospital before he died.
She also recollected how the persistent, innocent cries of their sick baby gave them out to the robbers that they were in the house, lamenting that not even hiding in the locked toilet could save the situation.
In her own words: “My husband had promised to come and join us in bed when I told him that I was feeling sleepy. My little daughter had told him, ‘Sweet daddy goodnight,’ he replied the compliment, hugging her and myself before I finally retired to bed with her.
“He had earlier switched on water pumping machine that supplies water to the neighbourhood but when I noticed that the water tank was full, I went to the parlour, where he obviously dosed off, to wake him up to switch off the pumping machine. He went outside, did so and came back to sleep.
“But after a while, a horrible dream woke me up. I rushed to the parlour again to remind him to turn off the light; he, however, told me that he had not finished charging his phones. The noise of gunshots and flash of torchlights everywhere woke me up and alerted me that we were in serious danger.
“The next thing I heard was the bang of someone using cooking gas cylinder to break the window and burglary proof, shouting at us to open the door. All these things happened at the same time.
“Our little sick girl became uncomfortable and started shouting. I tried to calm her down but she ran out of the bedroom and headed to the other room. Her dad quickly rushed her to the children’s room.
“What occupied my thought was where to hide to avoid these robbers touching me. When the burglary proof was about caving in, I quickly got up, rushed into the children’s room and tried to lock the door, I noticed that the children had damaged it. I rushed into the bathroom with the kids and locked the door. He equally locked it with a key and threw it away just to make sure we were safe.
“While inside the toilet, the next thing I heard was his shouting for help and I started crying in the bathroom. I also heard them break into the children’s room but did not see anybody. They came and pushed the bathroom door but I promised to open the door.
“When I opened, they ordered me to show them where the money was. As I was going to show them the money, I saw blood everywhere. I saw my husband lying down on the floor writhing in pains with every part of his body covered with blood. I became confused on seeing him, but the robbers warned me not to play smart with them or they would kill my little daughter, pointing the gun at her.
“I pleaded with them to have mercy on my daughter, informing them where the money was. I told them to search a little brown bag for the money. After sometime, they shouted at me that they did not see any money there, but I told them to search the little zip beside it. They finally got the money there and ordered me to open the entrance door and gate for them.
“They equally ordered for the car key and I saw one of them searching the car. One of them warned me not to give my husband water, stressing: ‘He will die if you give him water.’ I had returned to the house when one of them ran back and told me through the window to come out and call our neighbours to help me rush my husband to the hospital very fast before he dies.
“I ran out and started shouting but nobody was courageous enough to come to my aid. I returned and watched my husband in pains begging for water. He kept shouting water, water, water until people started coming. They wanted to give him water but I told them that the robbers warned me not to give him water if I don’t want him to die.
“He kept shouting, Ya Allah, Ya Allah, meaning, my God, my God, and suddenly kept quiet. I touched him to feel his breathing but he was just warm and looking. I thought it was only on his leg that they shot him but I noticed there were more gunshot wounds on other parts of his body. That was how I lost the man that gave my life real meaning.”
Asked what she would miss most in her late husband, she simply replied: “He was the best thing that ever happened to me. Part of me has died and life has actually lost its meaning. But what can I say, alhamdudilahi, the way he died, alhamdudilahi, thank God.”
He had premonition of his death – Elder brother
Yusuf’s calm but traumatised elder brother, Momodu Oyakhilome, told Daily Sun that from the information he gathered after visiting the area, the robbers gained entrance into the compound after scaling the fence, adding that he was shocked to see the walls riddled with bullet holes.
Although he did not rule out the possibility of the robbers targeting the money he sent for a building project the late Yusuf was executing for him, he, however, could not confirm whether he actually withdrew cash or through online transfer, stressing that he would have to go through his account to know the transaction details he did that faithful day.
Lamenting that he had lost a confidant, which might threaten his investments, the elder brother said: “From what I have been able to gather and what I have seen visiting the compound, the robbers gained entrance through the fence.
“I was told that when his neighbour saw the robbers and raised the alarm, they told him to go inside because they were not there for him but for Mr. Yusuf. What it means is that the robbers knew him very well. I can vouch for his innocence in terms of business deals with anybody. The jobs he was currently handling were either for close associates, my friends and myself.
“He was supposed to travel out of Abuja on Wednesday, February 1, to our hometown over the death of our grandmother. He was supposed to see our mum that Wednesday and equally supervise the project he was executing for me at Auchi.
“I gathered that, when he heard the noise of the robbers trying to forcefully gain entrance through the window, he had hit his cutlass on the burglary repeatedly, thinking that they were unarmed, petit robbers he could scare away. But the robbers responded with sporadic shootings. I saw several bullet holes on the wall when I visited.
“I also noticed that they vandalised his car, destroyed the compartment and took away two bags containing his laptop and that of his wife. I have been trying to check his documents and I have been able to secure them.”
Reacting to the impression that an insider must have informed the robbers of his banking transaction the same day.
“He actually made some banking transactions that day. But I need to confirm the kind of transaction he did, whether online transfer or cash withdrawal.
“All I know is that I had sent about N550,000 to him on Monday for the building project he was handling for me as labour for the iron works. I am sure he made withdrawal but, as I said earlier, I have not confirmed whether it involved cash from the bank to pay in another bank or if he did transfer.
“Even without confirming the banking statement, I believe that there was no possibility that he took cash home that day. He may not have been the target of the robbers because I was told that the robbers visited four other houses in the neighbourhood that same night,” he said.
The destraught elder brother, speaking on what he would miss most about the late Yusuf, said: “He was a perfect description of my right hand man. He was behind all my successes in life. He was the better person to tell you who I am. Visitors could not differentiate between us before my children, the way they relate.
“One good thing about him was his independent mind. He was never a burden to anybody. He was industrious and even when I brought him to Abuja in 2013, he rented his apartment to avoid disturbing me and my family.
“I was surprise when he told me he had paid for a plot of land and, before I could say Jack, he had packed into the house. He had been on the fast lane and had proven to be reliable, sensible, focused and prudent.
“He had a premonition of his death because he told one of our sisters recently that his heart was not at peace because of the geometric progression at which he was going, adding that youths on the fast lane like him usually die early.”