Inside story of how Ogbomoso kidnapped victims, okada operator, were slain

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Inside story of how Ogbomoso kidnapped victims, okada operator, were slain

Khalid ABRAHAM

 

Late Gbenga Owolabi

The story has emerged of how the two kidnapped victims from a hotel in Abaa, Ogbomoso, Olugbenga Owolabi (owner of the hotel) and Rachael Opadele (a staffer in the hotel) were killed by their abductors in the night of Tuesday, August 2, 2022; also murdered in cold blood that night, was an okada operator, Idowu Ajagbe, who volunteered to convey the ransom bearer to the den of the men of the underworld. However, the ransom bearer escaped unhurt.

Late Rachael Opadele

Their death evoked anger across the nation and beyond, the hotelier having just returned from his base in the US; he had opened the hotel last year, and the lady, a final year student at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, lost his father in November last year. The two were killed despite payment of N5m ransom. It was a shocking turn of event.

ogbomosoinsightonline.com spoke with the duo of Mr. Caleb Ayo Owolabi, elder brother of Gbenga Owolabi and the traditional ruler of the community, Alabaa of Abaa,, Oba John Ayanpoju, from whose domain the victims were abducted. The two men along with few others knew of the departure of the ransom bearers and spoke with the escapee after he made it back, thus, they knew what actually transpired.

“The okada man, Idowu, was just unfortunate, he knew nothing, he only volunteered to help,” stated Alabaa.

The whole episode was just unfortunate, according to the monarch, who rose to the stool of his forebears 13 years ago.

He disclosed Gbenga Owolabi was not an indigene of Ogbomoso, his brother that brought the ransom travelled down from Ibadan, he knew nowhere in Ogbomoso. Where would he take the ransom to? If told where to take it, how would he locate the place? A complete stranger in the city! Moreover, the abductors, eager for the ransom, instructed him against coming to meet with them in a vehicle, it must be via a motorcycle, and so, which okadaman did he know? That was his dilemma and so, he headed straight to Abaa palace upon arriving in Ogbomoso.

Saying he was not at home when he came down, the Alabaa stressed, “On Tuesday, around 5’0 clock, I was called on phone that I had visitors. And I told the caller that the visitors should wait for me, that I would hasten my return. And so, I rushed back home. I arrived and I saw the car in the premises. Mr. Caleb Owolabi the elder brother of the deceased was the visitor. I was not expecting him.”

It was then he explained the reason for his visit that the kidnappers had agreed to take N5m. But then his brother’s captors insisted on him coming on a motorcycle. When eventually they got someone to convey the ransom, who volunteered out of pity and the okada operator, there was a little relief.

The team departed unknown it was a journey of no return for the okada man, father of little children, being about forty years old.

According to the monarch, corroborated by Caleb Owolabi, the abductors initially directed them to come to the express interchange (roundabout) in front of the Winners Chapel Cathedral at Poat, Isale-General, Ogbomoso, this was another reprieve that it was within the metropolis the exchange would be made.

But they were wrong it was just a diversionary measure to ensure they were not accompanied by security agents. From the express interchange, they were asked to go to Igbon, then to Egbeda and finally to a place between Egbeda and Igbon on the old Ilorin road, about three kilometres from Abaa. “We knew the itinerary based on the report by the escapee,” the elder Owolabi informed.

From the main road they were instructed to take the money into the bush on foot. According to what we were told Gbenga Owolabi especially had suffered a great deal, his spirit was broken, he was near death already.

They met the two, Gbenga and Rachael lying face down. “They beamed light from a torch and asked him (Owolabi), ‘do you know this person?’ To which he retorted ‘no.’ And our man responded, ‘I helped your family to bring the ransom I don’t know you.’ They beamed light on the okada operator also, and asked if he knew the elderly abductee, he said no again and that one also responded that he only helped to convey the ransom bearer.

“From what he further told us, the criminals were well armed, with necessary instruments, they tore open the bag containing the money and confirming the content one of them slung it over his shoulder and so, they retreated with their back hastily into the dark forest but as they did, they opened fire, spraying their captives with bullets,” it was revealed.

The men withdrew into the bush with the ransom money leaving their victims for dead. Yes, they were dead except the man who conveyed the ransom money, who happened to have cheated death, “if not for the grace of God, he said he would have died too, and if not for him, we wouldn’t have found the corpses of the deceased or known what actually happened,” Alabaa further unveiled.

While Opadele and Ajagbe, who were members of the same church, had each been buried, one day apart, Owolabi, is yet to.

 

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