• I didn’t know he was going to be killed - Principal suspect
The suspects. From left: Pa Oluwafemi Fagbemi; Femi Famuyiwa and Tobi Ojo and The deceased, Jacob Ajayi, while alive
Though the story of ritual killing is not uncommon in the African continent, nay Nigeria, people continue to be amazed at reasons given for such acts when perpetrators are caught, and the ages of those involved. It was not different for the indigenes and residents of Oke Omiru in Ilesa, Osun State, who were shocked at the story that circulated around the ancient town on Tuesday April 17 of the killing of a 21-year-old SSS3 Student, Jacob Ajayi, for ritual purposes by some people who connived with his friend and roommate, Tobi Ojo.
Jacob had been murdered on Friday, April 13 and his genitals and head removed, but his death was unknown to his family members and law enforcement agents until that Tuesday.
According to Jacob’s father, Mr Ayo Ajayi, Tobi had lived with him and his family since he was young. Being the son of a friend, Mr Ajayi had taken Tobi as his own son and had been responsible for his upkeep. The 46-year-old man stated further that he was the one paying for the room where Tobi stayed with his son before his gruesome murder. Jacob and Tobi had always done things in common so Mr Ajayi had no qualms about giving his approval when he learnt that Tobi and Jacob would be going to Ile-Ife where Tobi’s father hailed from.
However, the man was said to have been worried when he saw Tobi on Monday and his enquiry about Jacob’s whereabouts was not satisfactorily answered. According to Mr Ajayi, “when I saw Tobi, I asked for Jacob but he replied that he could not say anything about his whereabouts. After that, he disappeared. I became worried and it was one commercial motorcyclist who took me to Stadium area of Ilesa where he told me that he dropped Tobi. I got there and when the gate of the house was opened, I saw Tobi and Famuyiwa cooking soup. I asked him again of Jacob’s whereabouts but he said he didn’t know.
“I proceeded to Ayeso Police Station to inform the police and we went with some vigilance group members to Stadium area to pick Tobi. After much pressure, he told us that my son was in Ikere Ekiti. We went to the town in Ekiti State but my son was nowhere to be found. We came back to Ilesa and after some gruelling, Tobi took us back to Stadium area and led us to a soakaway where the body of my son was dumped. When we beheld the body, its head and genitals had been removed. That was when Tobi confessed that they wanted to do money ritual but he was not the one who killed my son; he said it was the devil’s work.” Mr Ajayi said his son was sitting for the 2012 WASCE before his life was abruptly terminated.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the police immediately swung into action by arresting a 98-year-old herbalist, Pa Oluwafemi Fagbemi and 26-year-old Femi Famuyiwa along with Tobi Ojo while a fourth suspect, Sunday Fagbemi, a son of the herbalist is currently at large as he had reportedly fled when he realised that the lid had been blown off their pot of secrecy. Unconfirmed reports had it that Pa Fagbemi had hitherto been banished from Esa-Oke when babies’ heads were discovered in his house, which made him relocate to Ilesa with his son, Sunday.
In his confessional statement, Tobi, who was reported to have pleaded for forgiveness, had told his interrogators that he and Jacob had planned going for money ritual and had contacted Famuyiwa and Sunday Fagbemi. Tobi was quoted to have said: “We had been going to meet Sunday and Famuyiwa was in the know because he was present when Jacob was there. We went on Friday April 13 but Jacob was asked to come back at night.
“I went back there on Saturday but I was told by Sunday and Famuyiwa that he had left. Jacob and I were supposed to travel and when I didn’t see him, I wondered what happened. On Monday, April 16, Jacob’s family started asking me about his whereabouts and I replied that I didn’t know. I left home for Famuyiwa’s place at Stadium area where I went to resolve the mystery behind Jacob’s disappearance.
It was when I got there and started perceiving a terrible odour that Pa Fagbemi pointed at Jacob’s corpse in the pit, telling me to be a man and keep silent about it. I was still there when the police, vigilance group members and Jacob’s family members came to pick me. I didn’t know he was going to be killed.”
One of the suspects, Famuyiwa, had however been reported to have denied any knowledge of the killing, saying he was not part of it. Sunday Tribune learnt that the house in which the suspects were arrested belonged to a lawyer who is out of the country and who had employed Pa Fagbemi as a security man to keep watch over the house. His son, Sunday, lived there with him. The pit in which Jacob was found was situated at the back of the lawyer’s building.
The incident has thrown Ilesa town into limelight as people have been saying that such occurrence had been common of recent. Tobi’s father, who is said to be a pastor, was reported to be sad over the incident and had been pleading with the Ajayi’s family to forgive his son’s act.
Meanwhile, the case and the suspects had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID), Osogbo for further investigations. Efforts to confirm the story from the image maker of the Osun State Police Command, Osogbo , Mr Taiwo Olugbemileke, proved abortive as calls to his line went unanswered.