How gunmen killed my colleagues, Ekiti traditional ruler recounts narrow escape

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The Alara of Ara in the Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Oba Adebayo Fatoba, has narrated how he managed to escape from gunmen who attacked and killed two of his colleagues last Monday.

Fatoba, along with two fellow monarchs from Ekiti State – the Onimojo of Imojo Ekiti in Oye LG and the Elesun of Esun Ekiti in Ajoni, Ikole Local Government – fell victim to gunmen during their return from a meeting.

While the assailants claimed the lives of the other two monarchs, Fatoba fortunately managed to evade the attack.

Recounting the harrowing incident in a video viewed by newsmen on Awikonko TV Live late Sunday, Fatoba explained that the community had sought permission from the state police to address the challenges posed by herders who have been assaulting the communities.

Fatoba stated, “We have a security committee in the local government. There are 25 communities in Ikole Local Government Area. When Fulani people started coming in to graze and do all sorts, we got permission from the police to assist them. This was about three or four years ago. I was made the chairman of the committee. One of my counterparts who was killed (Onimojo of Imojo) was the deputy and we used to go everywhere. We volunteered to do it for Yoruba land.

“So it happened that they came to check some people’s houses between Aiyebode and Aiyedun communities. They killed someone there. Then, my deputy called to tell me that these people were back. It was on a Sunday so I told him that I would come on Monday.”

While in transit, the monarch mentioned that he was engrossed in reading something on his phone when he suddenly became aware that the vehicle had come to a halt.

“I was reading something on my phone when I suddenly felt that the driver slammed the brakes. As we looked up, we saw guns pointed at us. If they were kidnappers, they would ask us to get down, raise our hands and so on.

“I wish I could show you my body, you would have seen the cuts,” Fatoba stated, adding that he still feels the pain from the attack.

The monarch narrated that he managed to escape from the scene, stating, “I noticed that they didn’t understand English. They were with a big machete and they had other ones too. I saw an AK-47, a pump-action gun and a locally-made one.”

The monarch recalled that as he wanted to get out of the vehicle, one of the assailants tried to hit his head with a weapon but he used the door to protect himself “so it was the door that was hit.”

“It was a war zone,” he added.

According to Fatoba, he could hear the sound of gunshots behind him as he ran.

“People who said that I disappeared, I want them to know that it is a lie. I ran to the security guards that we put in that area because it had been a hotspot. I wanted to get to them,” he said.

“It was a war zone,” he added.

According to Fatoba, he could hear the sound of gunshots behind him as he ran.

“People who said that I disappeared, I want them to know that it is a lie. I ran to the security guards that we put in that area because it had been a hotspot. I wanted to get to them,” he said.

He claimed that he asked a security guard to shoot into the air when he approached him, but the gun jammed.

Fatoba went on to say that the guards were afraid to approach them in case they needed to be rescued.

When asked how the driver was not killed, he said, “They didn’t concentrate on the driver. He wore a shirt and had a small stature. They only collected the car key. They killed the others,” he said ruling out notions that he and his driver escaped with the aid of spiritual power.

The monarch added, “What happened was that they first came to me. Two came out from my right side and one from the left side. They came aggressively. The moment they collected the car key from my driver, they left him. He prostrated on the floor with his hands on the ground.

“As for me, I fought my way out and they shot. I heard the gunshots. God didn’t allow the shots to hit me. By the time I looked back, my colleagues were on the ground. I don’t know how that happened. Some cars that were behind us had to reverse.

“I was reading something on my phone at the time, so the attack came as a surprise. I lost my phone but the security guard had the phone number of the monarch whose community was close by. It was the monarch who mobilised more security guards to meet us there.”

Nevertheless, the Ekiti State Police Command has reported the arrest of a suspect in connection to the murder of the two traditional rulers.

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Dare Ogundare, conveyed that the suspect, Babusa Lede, has confessed to participating in the killing of the two monarchs. Additionally, efforts are underway to capture other individuals involved in the incident.