COMFORT Ayanwola, the mother of the fashion designer who went missing in transit on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) trip on February 26 and whose body was found on March 7, has described her 22-year-old daughter as “an upright and responsible girl”.
Ayanwola told The ICIR on Tuesday at the family residence on Olorunsola Aladealafia Street in Ayobo, Lagos State, that Oluwabamise (fondly referred to as Bamise), the youngest child in the family, was never in any love relationship.
According to Ayanwola, when it was discovered that her daughter was missing, she was sure Bamise could not have eloped with a man.
Bamise had boarded the bus, which she believed was heading to Oshodi, at Chevron bus stop in the Ajah area of Lagos State.
But while in the bus, she had become suspicious of the antics of the driver and three other occupants of the vehicle and started voice note chats with a friend, whom she alerted to the dangerous circumstance she had found herself. The chats then petered out and the friend could no longer hear Bamise’s voice.
The girl was, thereafter, declared missing.
Her corpse was found on Monday on the Carter Bridge.
The jury, however, is still out on the state of the body: while her elder sister, Titilayo, and her mother alleged that her private parts had been removed, the Lagos State Police Command Commissioner, Abiodun Alabi, said in a statement that police officers and the girl’s family members were all at the mortuary and no part of her corpse was found to be mutilated.
Both parties are waiting for an autopsy to be conducted on the body to determine cause of death and whether the body had been tampered with.
Crying bitterly, Ayanwola said of Bamise, “My daughter had been an upright girl. She never lived a wayward life or jumped from man to man. She never agreed to have a date or a husband until she must have established herself in her trade. She said her bosses had their own businesses and vowed to do the same. In fact, she promised to build a house for me but unfortunately became someone whose body parts they were mutilating.”
Bamise had completed one fashion designing programme and done the ‘freedom’ ceremony. She was on another programme when she met her tragic death.
Charging both the Lagos and Ekiti state governments to ensure that justice was done, Ayanwola, an indigene of Ekiti State, cried, “She died in a vehicle of the government. Why did the driver put off the light in the bus after allowing people into the bus? My child was afraid in a government bus and was killed in that same bus. The government of Ekiti, our hometown, and that of Lagos should come to our aid. We went to the motor park, saw the vehicle but we could not find the driver of the bus. The guarantor too, was nowhere to be found.”
The police has arrested Andrew Nice Omininikoron, the driver of the BRT bus.
In a video that has gone viral, Omininikoron was seen telling a reporter that the suspected killers held a gun to his head and forced him to drive towards the Carter Bridge where they forced the girl out of the bus.
In the video clip shared on Monday night by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, on his Twitter handle, the driver explained what transpired in the bus: “When those guys showed me their weapons, I couldn’t be myself anymore. Fear took over me and Ï only followed orders from the man with the gun who sat close to me. I followed the Carter Bridge, and around the overhead bridge, they ordered me to stop there. And when they ordered me to stop, I was asked to open the door. Her assailants came down and started dragging her down from the bus.
“When I saw that she was crying for help, actually I was helpless and I had thought she was still in the bus holding on to one of the irons that could help keep her in the bus. In that process and with that thought, I moved on. And that is just the truth.”
Lawyer accuses Lagos State government of protecting alleged killer driver
But a lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Ola Adegboruwa, dismissed the driver’s narration as “a cock and bull story.”
Adegboruwa, in a statement on Tuesday described the incident as worrisome.
He accused the Lagos State Government of hurriedly packaging the BRT driver for a media interview “to give the impression that he was innocent of the crime”.
He wrote, “In a homicide matter of this magnitude, how can a prime suspect who was declared missing be handed over to the government by the security agencies?
“A video of his initial arrest showed that the driver confessed to having carnal knowledge of the deceased, in a very remorseful fashion. He was dressed in shabby and disheveled attire, truly reflecting his fugitive status as of the time of his arrest.
“Who then packaged a crime suspect, to turn out clean-shaven, dressed in specially designed Lagos State Government outfit and now well-tutored to claim innocence to set up the cock and bull story of hijack? Why was Lagos State Government romancing a murder suspect?”
Protesters, led by Bamise’s elder sister, Titilayo, and a lawyer, Ayo Ademiluyi, on Tuesday gathered at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, singing solidarity songs and demanding justice for the murdered tailor.