By Banjo DAMILOLA
The earlier parts of this series showed how Kaka, the notorious political thug from the Lagos State slum of Ajegunle, attacked protestors in a manner that reflected his existing pattern of human rights abuse and violation.
This final instalment looks at the stories of three people who died due to the Kaka-led assault on protesters. It is neither extensive nor exhaustive, as some sources declined interviews for fear of being targeted, and some of the deceased were untraceable. These three victims are those this reporter was independently able to trace and verify.
Onyenkachukwu Francis ¨Akube¨ Ajaero
ONYENKACHUKWU Ajaero, 30, was popular in Ajegunle, not by his real name, but his alias – Akube Last Card. He sold fairly used clothes, which is how he got the first part of his nickname, Akube – a colloquial term for fairly used clothing.
Everyone who attended his funeral seemed to agree that he was a happy young man who went about his business with so much excitement.
Akube´s brother, Augustine, remembers him fondly. “My brother was very enterprising, very nice and responsible,¨ he says. ¨In his young life, he made a lot of progress in his business. He sold fairly used clothes and was very popular. He was about to get married. He was just shot.”
The last time Augustine spoke with his late brother, Akube, was hours before he got his death call. Next, he heard, Akube had been shot and was bleeding to death in a tricycle.
On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, Akube opened his store as he did every day, even during the protests. Then, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced a curfew.
By midday, Augustine remembers hearing gunshots from a friend’s shop at Baale street as the protest intensified in Ajegunle. He says he called his two other brothers, including Akube, to warn them not to join the protest or leave the house.
His instruction to Akube was simple: “lock your shop and go home”.
“I knew it was going to turn to something else,” Augustine says of the protest and how tense Ajegunle had become. “At about a few minutes to 5 pm, my younger sister rushed in to say Akube had been shot. She said he was bleeding. Some people took him to Tolu Medical, but he was not admitted, maybe because of cash.”
Tolu Medical Centre denied receiving any #EndSars casualties.
Akube was taken to two other hospitals, still inside the tricycle, bleeding, yet he wasn´t attended to. No first aid, no admission. For four futile hours, his life slowly slipped out of him.
When Augustine finally saw him at the Navy Hospital, Akube´s body had been drained of his life. He was gone.
“When I saw my brother, I grabbed him, but he had stiffened. I called his name, no answer. My wife started crying. I looked at the body and said to myself, “they wasted my brother!”.”
Augustine says he noticed other victims of the protest at the Navy Hospital. The security man at the hospital, according to Augustine, said two people were admitted but many more were turned down – just as Akube had been turned down.
Akube’s remains would later be embalmed locally and transported that same night to his village in Delta state.
“What they did to my brother is wrong,” Augustine laments. “He did not participate in the protest. Even if he did, the protest was peaceful. There is nothing wrong with a protest. The protesters just had flags and placards. They were peaceful. They were just fighting for their rights. It is wrong for the government to have killed them. ”
Asumo joined the protest on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. He was one of many who got struck by bullets when Kaka led his men and the police in an assault on peaceful protesters. Even though Asumo had about 13 metal balls lodged in his body, he miraculously survived the attack.
The 34-year-old was treated locally, and the metal balls were removed from his body.
By 9 pm that same day, he decided to return home to his wife and three-year-old daughter.
He did not make it to his family.
Alongside five others, he was killed, and his body thrown into a canal at Achkpo, a street in Ajegunle.
The following day, residents around the canal found the corpses. They had heard gunshots the previous night and so concluded that the corpses had been victims of the shootings they had heard.
One of the residents in the neighbourhood recognised Asumo and quickly alerted his younger brother, Razak Oluwa. According to testimonies from the area, the other corpses were mutilated – their hands and legs were cut off – except Asumo’s corpse.
The residents were convinced it was a typical Kaka killing – Kaka is believed to leave such insignia on his victims.
Asumo’s corpse was fetched from the canal and cleaned. But before the body was buried, Razak and some men in the community took the corpse to Kaka’s camp seeking answers. But there were no answers – only gunshots.
“Why were they shooting at us if they were not the ones that did it?” Razak questions. “If they were not the one who killed my brother, why did they have to shoot me too?”
Asumo was later buried in the Oluwa family house. He left behind a wife and a daughter.
Godwin had joined two previous protests in Ajegunle. According to those close to him, he would always join any protest in the community so long as it was peaceful.
But on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 20, he was at home with his sisters in their little apartment – peacefully tucked away from the chaos that was starting to brew a few streets away.
Then Godwin got a visitor – a seemingly innocuous event that would prove life-changing.
“If his friend had not come,” says Blessing, the deceased’s younger sister, “he might not have left the house.”
Godwin walked his friend to the bus stop. That was when he realised the protest had gotten intense. Unbeknownst to him, he would get caught up in it all – fatally.
Some minutes after Godwin left home, Blessing received a call from his phone. But it was not Godwin at the end of the line. It was, rather, a stranger – who told Blessing that her brother had been hit by a stray bullet and was dying.
“No one could wait to help him,” Blessing recalls. ¨He was left by the roadside as everyone ran for cover. When we got to the place where he was shot, he had already died.¨
The family took the remains of Godwin home and buried him as quickly as they could.
Although the stranger who called the family with Godwin’s phone claimed he had been hit by a stray bullet, the family believes that the bullet came from Kaka’s gun.
“We have seen Kaka shoot people in this place,” claims Godwin’s older brother. “He was the one who led the police. Ask anybody, they will tell you.”
“When trouble starts in Ajegunle, it is Kaka they always call because he is the one that has the mind to shoot people anyhow.”
Blessing has much more than grief. She is angry. She feels cheated and bullied by a government she believes should have had her back. She is a struggling mother. She has no job and relied on the help she got from her late brother to make ends meet.
“It is because we are poor,” she laments. “In this country, poor people do not have anything. Poor people cannot do anything. Poor people hide their heads. As they have killed my brother, what can we do? Nothing! They have killed him and there is nothing we can do about it.
“I thank God my brother was not a thief. He had a job. He was hardworking. But Kaka killed him. We do not have a family to help us. We do not have anyone to help us. Since we do not have anyone to fight for us, our God will fight for us.”