Chioma Okezie-Okeh

On September 15, 2019, a 30-year-old hunchback, Olusegun Fasakin, was abducted from his home at Igangan-Ijesa, Atakunmosa East Local Government Area of Osun State. All efforts by the police, his family and friends to locate him did not yield any result. His abductors never called to demand a ransom. 

The truth of what became of him recently resurfaced. It was an accidental discovery by law enforcement agents tracking a suspect of a robbery case.

Since then, detectives have picked some of the suspects involved and interrogated them. The suspects sang like canaries, divulging the ghastly details. The suspects are a ragtag group of desperadoes, that include a prison warden (correctional officer) and a set of herbalists who are ex-convicts previously jailed for a similar offence.

Saturday Sun interviewed some of the suspects in police custody. Their stories add up to a macabre tale of the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual.

 

Discovery by mistake

Acting on a petition by the victims of the armed robbery incident that took place in Ijesa, on October 10, 2019. Head of the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, drafted operatives at its Osun annexe to investigate the case.

The IRT team, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bisiriyu Akindele, tracked down one Akinyemi Oyebode who participated in the robbery. While on his trail, detectives intercepted a phone conversation between him and a prison warden. In the conversation, he was heard threatening to expose a prison warder if he fails to pay him some money.

He was grilled after his arrest, during which he made a clean breast that the incident he was talking about was the abduction and killing of Olusegun Fasakin, a 30-year-old hunchback.

Law enforcement agents consequently rounded up those allegedly involved in the crime. The suspects were identified as Akinyemi Oyebode, Jamiu Adeniyi, Isaac Ayandokun (a.k.a. Baba Niyi), Kehinde Oladokun (a.k.a. Alfa), Ojo Taiwo Olasukanmi (a.k.a. Ifa) and Mukaila Kolawole (a.k.a. Baba Beji) who all claimed to be herbalists, and Charles Adebusuiyi, a serving prison warder at the Ilesa Correction Centre.

Presently, all primary suspects, save for the prison warden, have been arrested

 

The search for a hunchback

Saturday Sun spoke with Akinyemi Oyebode, the suspect originally tracked by IRT operatives.

He alleged that several meetings were held inside the office of Charles Adebusuiyi at Ilesa Correctional Centre.

The 24-year-old, a native of Okemesi in Ekiti State, was a school dropout who trained as a vulcanizer, but has served time in prison, jailed in 2016 after he was found with wraps of Indian hemp during a raid by operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He was released earlier this year after three years behind bar.

His family sought to straighten his life. They bought him a motorcycle so he could earn his daily bread as a commercial bike man. He soon made a lot of customers including the prison officer.

“He was one of my early customers and I normally pick and drop him in front of the prison. One thing led to another and I told him that I have spent about three years in prison. Gradually we became friends and sometimes he will invite me to come and have a drink with him,” he said.

Oyebode insisted they held several meetings in his office at the prison premises.

“This was how I got to know the likes of Alfa, Baba Beji and Ifa who are all herbalists,” he said. “One of the days that I took Charles to Sabo, I overheard them talking about doing rituals to make money. I needed money at that time so I was interested. As soon as Charles came out and we were heading back to town, I told him that I am also interested in what I overheard and he assured me that he will alert me when everything is set. I was so excited especially when he told me that he was going to pay me one million at the end of the deal.”

Oyebode admitted he knew they were going to abduct someone for money ritual only that he was not sure who the target was.

His story threw illumination on the dark deed that took place on the night of September 15.

He narrated: “Few days later Charles called me to come and pick him up that we have an important job. I took him to where his car was. Three other persons were already there. They were not the regular faces that I knew.

“When we got to Igangan Square around 10 pm, he asked us to wait, while he and the three young men went into the neighbourhood. In less than 20 minutes, they came back dragging one tall man with them. The man did not resist or shout; he was just following them like a fool. They put him in the car and drove off. Charles told me not to worry that he would handle everything.”

After waiting for some days and it was clear Charles had no intention to give him any money, Oyebode called up and threatened to tell the police what he was up to.

The warden pacified him with N18, 000.  In the meantime, one of his friends invited him to join a robbery gang.

“We attacked a compound in August and raided the entire flats. I got a big phone which I sold for N16, 000,” he confessed.

That was to be his undoing, as IRT operatives who took charge of the case, tracked him down, for the robbery, and also routinely queried him about his telephone conversation with a “prison warden” he threatened.

With this background, the next logical question is, who commissioned the search for hunchback?

In their various depositions during interrogation, the suspects all claimed they were contracted by a shadowy figure, a medical doctor who promised them millions of naira in return for a real hunchback.

The answer could only come from Mukaila Kolawole, popularly known as Baba Beji. It was he who got the contract from a man whom he claims people know as a medical doctor.

The native of Iragbiji in Osun State earned a livelihood as a farmer. He was, however, jailed in the past for the killing of a hunchback. “I was framed,” he said.

He told Saturday Sun the details.

“In 2009, I was a member of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC). One of our members, known as Muritala, misbehaved and was suspended from the group. He got annoyed and formed his own local vigilante group. They were the ones who attacked a nearby village and abducted a woman with hunchback. We were at a meeting the night her mutilated corpse was found. The Muritala-led vigilante group raised alarm that we were the ones responsible for the murder. About ten of us were arrested that day and charged to court for murder. I was released last year after spending nine years.”

It was during those nine years he met Charles Akinbusuyi.

“He was our warden. He normally ‘dash’ us money. We became friends with him. He assured us that anytime names of those to be helped by government was compiled, he’d make sure my name was included.”

He was part of the inmates granted amnesty by the Chief Justice of Osun State in 2018.

Back to the business of September 15, he continued: “When I regained my freedom, I went back to farming but kept in touch with Charles. One day, he called me that he was tired of depending on monthly salary that he wanted a faster way of making money. He asked me if I knew anyone who is into money ritual and I said yes. I introduced him to some of my friends who were herbalists and they suggested to us different ways that we can make quick money. It was while we were at it that I received a call from my longtime customer and asked if I can help him abduct and kill a man or woman with a hunchback. He offered to pay us millions and I told Charles about it and he agreed to be part of it.”

It turned out that Baba Beji who claimed in the beginning of his confession that he knew nothing about hunchback killers, was the person who assembled the best hands to find a hunchback. “Millions were involved and I know that it is not a one-man thing,” he said. “I alerted my herbalist friends that I know and told them about the contract. Everyone started searching until Charles said that he knows of one in a village called Iwara where he normally goes to consult a native doctor.”

According to him, the prison warden planned the abduction. “Charles agreed to hire boys that will abduct the man,” he claimed. “He is a prison warden so he knows a lot of criminals.”

Kolawole took charge of the second part of the mission. “I assembled my fellow herbalists who would help in the killing and removal of the hump. All of us went to the area, and Charles and three other young men that I assumed are professionals, moved into the compound and asked us to wait. In less than 20 minutes, they came out with a man. The young men left and the rest of us entered the vehicle to an agreed place where we intended to slaughter him.”

Kolawole was the one who delivered the killing stroke. “When we got to a deserted area that night, I brought out my spanner, and because I knew what I came there to do, I quickly hit him on the head and he fell down. When I was sure he was dead, I used a knife to cut out the deformed part of his back.”

“We called Niyi, who is an expert in such things, to come and confirm if it was authentic.”

They received a big blow when the expert arrived and proclaimed the hump not useful because it was not a natural hump but a growth.

“We were disappointed. We had no choice but to discard the body and return to Osogbo.”

While he claimed that he had no idea what exactly the hump of a hunchback is used for, Kolawole admitted he knew native doctors use it to produce charm for wealth. “I heard that if you want good money from everywhere,  that some people used their (hunchback’s) bones to make bathing soap. This is what I heard, maybe doctor [the one who commissioned the job] will explain better.”

Additional information came from Olasukunmi, popularly known as Ifa, who claimed that he was lured into the crime.

“I am a movie producer and I have successfully produced three movies as far back as 2010. During my spare time, I also do herbalist work which I learnt from my father. I am still working on one of my movies when police arrested me,” he stated.

His connection to the group was Akinbusuiyi, the prison warden.

“I knew Charles in prison when I was arrested by the police during a raid. I didn’t spend much time with them before I was released from prison,” he said.

He was present on the killing ground.

He explained his role: “On the day of the incident, I met them at the express. They asked me to help hold the torch because it was late at night, at about 11:30pm. I held the torch while Baba Beji cut him open. I was not the one who killed him.”

Ifa tried to distance himself from the murder, saying: “I am a herbalist and my stock-in-trade is assisting fraudsters to be successful.”

He explained he got entangled in the plot hunchback plot. “Baba Beji came to me and asked if I knew where we could get a man or woman with a hunchback. I told him to leave me alone as I was not into any money ritual. He called me one day to join him and I asked him what it was. He said that one of his friends who can pay very well wants to see me. I thought he was real till we got to the forest,” he narrated.

He tried desperately to justify his role: “I was scared, that was why I joined him. I know how these things work out ––if I don’t join them, they will kill me.”

Baba Niyi is the expert in the group, the man who could identify the hump of a natural hunchback.

He, too, once spent time in Ilesha prison. He was one of the vigilantes that were jailed alongside Baba Ibeji over the killing of a hunchback.

He, also, knew the man who commissioned the job. “I have known the doctor for many years. He normally asked for herbs. This was why he asked me to go and cross-check. I went there and discovered that it was not real,” he said.

Baba Niyi insisted on his innocence. “I did not follow them to kill anyone,” he submitted.

What became of the body?

They claimed the remains was dumped inside the bush along Osun-Ibadan expressway.

 

The fugitive prison warden

Charles Adebusuiyi, the prison warden, has since vanished into thin air. His office, Nigerian Correctional Services, confirmed no one has seen him at work since  the case broke out. He has been declared wanted by the police.

From others’ confessions, it was he who allegedly contracted the services of the abductors –Emmanuel, Kazeem and another popularly known as MTN –  to go to Igangan and abduct the victim. The three abductors, presently on the run, are suspected criminals who were once inmates at the Ilesa correction al center, where Adebusuiyi was a warden until he became a fugitive.

 

The victim’s family

Saturday Sun spoke with one of the relatives, Olatunji Fasakin, who was at the police station.

“I am his nephew and we live at Igangan-Ijesa, Osun State,” he introduced himself.

According to him, the family had given up hope of finding when they heard that IRT operatives had cracked the case.

He gave his side of the story thus: “On September 15, 2019, around 6 pm, I left to the forest to hunt. At about 8 pm, my wife called me that they have kidnapped my nephew and urged me to hurry back home. Upon my return, I met his mother and grandmother in tears. They told me four men took him away on a motorcycle. I took my motorcycle and drove towards the direction they were heading. When I got to Iwara junction, the persons that I met said that they have left and that some of the villagers who tried to stop them were beaten up. I returned to the village and reported the matter at Igangan police post.”

Although, some community members who heard of his abduction had rightly deduced that he was picked  because of his hunched back, the family, nonetheless, had hoped his abductors would, in time, call to demand a ransom.

“But they never did,” he said, “When we couldn’t find him, everyone assumed that he was used for money ritual.”

He explained why his cousin was not a natural hunchback: “He had been sick right from birth, the constant ill-health affected his growth and he was no longer walking properly. Anyone that saw him would assume he had a hunchback. He wasn’t a hunchback.”

On how they got the news of the arrest of his abductors and killers, he said: “A family friend at Ayesan police post informed us that it was IRT Osun that arrested them.”

He said the family is still in mourning, stating, “but now we know what really happened to our brother.”

The family pleaded with the police to help them find his remains so that they can give him a befitting burial.


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