Bayo Ajia's last moments

Date: 2016-01-23

Did Bayo Ajia had premonition of his death? This among many other questions agitated the minds of many Ilorin residents since his gruesome murder in Ilorin on Monday.

Until his death, Ajia was regarded as one of the most dreaded political thugs in the state. He will be 42 years old this year, a family source told National Pilot, last night.

Ajia was brutally assassinated by assailants suspected to be rival cultists who stormed his car wash business office located in front of the Ilorin Stadium complex along Ibrahim Taiwo road in Ilorin. His Fidau yesterday at his family compound along Agaka area in Ilorin witnessed heavy crowd held amidst tight security.

Residents close shops for fear of reprisal attacks while the event lasted. Ajia'a death caused pandemonium and panic around Ilorin metropolis as residents hurriedly deserted their shops and offices. He was killed around 4:13pm on Monday few hours after similar suspected cultist attack was carried in Ajikobi area of the state that led to the death of one Bukola Ajikobi.

National Pilot gathered that few minutes before his assailants mowed him down, friends apprehensive of another impending attack, telephoned Ajia about the attack on Ajikobi. "He told his caller that he had nothing to do with them. So why should he be afraid. Then he was with a close friend alone at his shop", but about 15 minutes after the friend left, he was attacked", a close source confided in this medium.

According to another source who lived close to Ajia's residence at Egbejila community, the deceased had taken his Jeep for repairs to electricians close to his house and only collected it the morning of the incident. When National Pilot visited the family's resident on Tuesday, the issue was still being discussed in emotional tones by friends, relative and sympathisers who gathered to condole the family.

Though his father, Alhaji Abdullahi Ajia, said he was not disposed to talking about the incident, he was seen being commiserated by other sympathisers when National Pilot visited. He however promised to get back to our reporter "when the mood is right". According to another source, late Ajia has changed a lot and was even avoiding being link to any violence act before his death.

"When the Agaka fracas was rampant in Ilorin, I asked him why he has been absent from the Agaka and he said he don't want trouble because "anywhere they see my presence even though i just passed through, people will say I am the one behind it", the source added.

An eye witness told our reporter that he was murdered by six young suspected cultists, four of them who came to his office through Royals eatery axis along Taiwo road with guns and axes while the remaining two jumped over the fence into his car wash office.

"He was shot at by one of them on black Jalabia and head warmer while the two that jump from the fence attacked him with axe on his head until they ensured he was dead. His attackers escaped through the Agbo-Oba through Taiwo few minute after "B" Division Police command from Surulere visited the scene", the eyewitness added.

Among those that visited the scene of the crime, this medium further learnt, included his father, friends and other close relatives. He remains was taken to the Muslim cemetery in Ilorin where he was buried according to Islamic rites around 6:30pm.

Meanwhile, the police in Ilorin on Tuesday nabbed eleven suspected cultists over Ajia's death According to the new Commissioner of Police, Sam Okaula who addressed a press conference held at the state command headquarters in Ilorin, the police recovered deadly weapons, charms and Indian hemp from the suspect.

He gave their names as Kamaldeen Isiaka, Maruf Yahaya, Hashiru Maruf, Sodiq Tajudeen, Abdulsalam Yusuf, Musa AbdulKareem and Emmanuel Ikechukwu Others are Oke Obafemi, Adeyemi Sosanya, Saidu Muideen and Ibrahim Rafiu.

Bayo Ajia was never a king or held any political office, but he was an emperor in his own right. He was famous and stood for what he believed in. Arguably, he was to Ilorin, perhaps, Kwara entirely, what MC Oluomo is to Lagos and indeed what Sunday Igboho, the famous political thug, is to South West, Nigeria.

They rule their worlds having made names via street and political struggles. Top politicians deploy them during and after electioneering, hence, they prominent roles in political sector. In Ilorin, Bayo Ajia is a household name. He rose to 'stardom' during the political watershed which unseated the then Governor Mohammed Lawal paved way for Dr Bukola Saraki's emergence in 2003.

On Monday, the gangsters' master was sent to the great beyond. He was murdered gruesomely by dare-devil assassins suspected to members of secret cultists. In a daylight attack at Taiwo, the commercial nerve centre of Ilorin, Kwara State capital, was shot dead and cut several times with machetes by four men.

Indeed, his murder sent jitters down to the spines Ilorin residents who were nursing fears of palpable reprisal attacks from his boys and admirers. No doubt, for indigenes of Ilorin by Kwara at large, Monday 18th, 2016 will go down in history as a calendar year in the state. It marked the end of a long and troubled chapter for Bayus as he was fondly called, an alleged cultist from the Agaka axis of Ilorin West Local Government of the state.

Sadly, his death came when according to observers; Ajia had exhibited some traits of repentant gangster. Bayus had survived the guillotine in 2004 when the last administration in the state granted him and another alleged cultist, Yinka Are state pardon. He however fell to the bullets and machetes of his assailants who mowed him down few days after the commemoration of the 12 years anniversary of the court incident in January 6, 2004.

His Education

It was learnt that Bayus attended Government High School Adeta, Ilorin. He variously attended Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin; University of Ilorin (Mini Campus) and later Federal Polytechnic, Offa where he was said to have graduated with Higher National Diploma (HND).

Sources said Ajia served as a member of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in year 2000 in Rivers State. He was studying geography in UNILORIN before he opted out of the programme. One of his course mates, who spoke with National Pilot yesterday on the condition of anonymity, recalled: "The name Ajia was enough to make an average heart skip a beat. The fear of Bayo was the beginning of wisdom. He was force to reckon with.

His appearance causes jitters down the spines. As a course mate in Geography Department, Faculty of Social Science, University of Ilorin, he was feared by both lecturers and students.

"He seldomly attended lectures, but whenever he came around, it was in company of his fierce-looking 'aide-camps.' Nobody wished to cross his path therefore he was kept at arms' length. Moreover, those who were close to him, said there was the good side of him."

Conviction and sentenced for Murder

In 2004, the duo of Bayo Ajia and Olayinka Are, both arch supporters of former Governor Muhammad Lawal of Kwara State were convicted and sentenced to death. Accused of murdering Abdul Yekini Gobir and Abdul Ganiyu Hussein at a night party at Deens Motel, Ilorin the lower court with Justice Jopseph Fola Gbadeyan had found the two accused persons guilty and pronounced death sentence.

The duo were said to have invaded the venue of the party in unmarked cars and after dispersing the crowd shot the two men to death allegedly for being supporters of the former governor's political opponents and ensured that they were dead before taking leave of them.

Apparently dissatisfied with the judgment, the two had approached the Appeal Court for a review but in a unanimous decision, the appellate court threw out their prayers and instead upheld the decision of the lower court on the matter. The appeal court decision, read by Justice John Ikomgbeh said the defence of alibi raised by the two accused persons could not be sustained and that the evidence of the two prosecution witnesses had in no way been faulted while the brother of the slain Gobir who was the PW1 during the trial in particular could not be treated as a tainted witness as demanded by the appellants.

However, in 2010, the then Kwara State governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki granted pardon to the duo in the state by having their death sentences commuted to pardon.

The two convicts are Bayo Ajia and Olayinka Are, who were both sentenced to death by the state High Court on charges of culpable homicide in March, 2005.

His 'Repentance'

Following his escape of hangman, he became a freeman and had always demonstrated modicum of repentance and decency. Those who were closed to him said he always said his prayers always as a Muslims and some level of generosity. Most importantly, he had started operating a car wash, where he was making a living. As a matter of fact, he was murdered at his car wash shop very close to Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin.

His Regrets

Unknown to many, Bayus never had a housewife of his own until his death, credible sources told National Pilot on Wednesday. Also, a child he had out of wedlock died a long time ago, it was gathered. All these will no doubt form part of his regrets for Adebayo Ajia, the gangsters' master.




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