Onaolapo Ademola, one of the 12 associates of secessionist leader, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho has narrated how operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded Igboho’s house and killed two people.
Igboho’s house was raided by the DSS on July 1, killing two of his associates and arresting many others.
Ademola, who told Sunday Punch he is the Director of Sunday Adeyemo Foundation, accused the DSS of killing people in cold blood during the raid.
He was one of those arrested by the DSS and later released.
Recalling the raid on Igboho’s residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State, Ademola said, “We woke up to find ourselves in that mess; it was a misuse of power by the present government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I’ve been minding my speech about the event of that day because a lot of us are still suffering from psychological trauma because what happened that day alone can take one’s life.
“My house was not far from Chief Sunday Igboho’s house and being a father to me, I have access to him and he has to me. He did call to see me anytime to run errands for him. I was in my personal house around 12am but I had a message to pass across to him which I could not deliver by phone.
“I moved from my house to his residence at exactly 12am and met with him. We discussed till around 1am and were outside with some of our people till around 1:30am.
“In his house, I have a chalet he allocated to me as one of his associates. At exactly 1:30am, he moved into his building, others retreated into their own apartments and I also moved into my own. But at exactly 1:35am, I started hearing gunshots and I wondered what was happening. My chalet is directly facing the main gate and I opened the window to peep to see what was happening outside. To my greatest shock, I couldn’t see anybody but I heard sporadic gunshots. Whenever I heard, ‘Fire,’ they would shoot at the building.
“As a Muslim, I started reciting different verses of the Quran believing it might be the end of my life. While still peeping through the window, I could see two DSS personnel inside the house – they came through the fence because they could not force their way in through the main gate from outside. So, some of them jumped the fence and came in to open the gate for the others.
“When they opened the gate, I saw that they were dressed in black and were putting on helmets. They were dressed like they were on a battleground, facing Boko Haram. I heard them calling themselves, ‘Come in two-two!’ I immediately woke the boy that was with me and told him that we needed to start preparing for our burial because there was no way to escape.
“They were more than 100 personnel inside the building comprising the DSS and soldiers. They shot sporadically everywhere. When they got to any chalet or any of the rooms, they fired directly. I started praying and I’m thankful that God saved my life.
“The shooting continued for three hours. When they got to my chalet, I opened the door for them. They marched on my head on the floor. I had collected around N300,000 from Chief (Sunday Igboho), which I wanted to use to buy something the following morning. One of the soldiers picked up the money. “They demanded my gun and I told them, ‘Do I look like someone who can shoot? Do I look like someone who can operate a gun?’ They marched my head still and I was handcuffed. They then took me to the gate to lie down there with others.
“At the gate, to my greatest shock, I saw one of my very good brothers, Saheed Oladams (Adogan), the Chief Executive Officer of Oladams Motors in Osogbo, in a pool of blood. Likewise Alfa. We were still together around 12:30am but the two of them were already gunned down.
“After we had been handcuffed, and laid on the floor, they (security operatives) started destroying the vehicles in the compound, threatening to burn down the house and saying all sorts of things. They also made a roll call of the people in the house. That was what happened. But to the glory of God, here we are today.”
The two persons killed were identified as Saheed Adisa, popularly called Adogan and Igboho’s maternal uncle known as Alfa.
Denying the claim made by the DSS that the two people killed were armed and had engaged operatives in a gun duel for one hour, Ademola said there was no retaliation by anyone in Igboho’s house.
“Nothing of such (happened); nobody retaliated, nobody exchanged gunshots with them. You know the Nigerian military if anybody had retaliated by exchanging gunshots, you know what would have happened,” he said.
“Those they were killed didn’t exchange gunshots with them (security agents). Alfa was an innocent man. He was killed in the waiting room of Chief Sunday Igboho while he was praying. He was a cleric and he could not see; he was blind. On getting to the waiting room, they (security operatives) just fired straight and gunned him down. Also, Adogan did not, in any way, exchange gunshots with them. He was shot in the bathroom where he was hiding.”
Ademola also noted that the DSS initially arrested 22 people; 12 males and 10 females but later released some of them at its Ekiti office.
“They freed nine of the ladies, after asking everyone, ‘Who is Lady K?’ So, they only took Lady K with the men to Abuja. Out of the 12 men, one of us was a police officer, an escort of Adogan. The officer was not paraded in Abuja. Instead, 12 of us, including Lady K, were paraded,” he said.
He also recalled that the DSS officials stole from Igboho’s house, saying, “They took gold, money, our phones which are still with them. They went away with the CCTV, and one of the cats after killing about four or five cats. They went away with a big MP3; they went away with a lot of things. They went away with the cat, believing Chief Sunday Igboho turned to the cat.”
According to him Igboho was at home when the DSS operatives raided his house but somehow managed to escape.
He said, “Yes, he was at home. The DSS saw him; they can’t deny that because that night, they came with three herbalists. After shooting at so many corners of the house, all of a sudden they couldn’t see him again, so they believed he was hiding, not knowing he was in the building. Chief Igboho is not an ordinary man; he is the Akoni Oodua of Yorubaland and a real son of Oduduwa.
“When the DSS could not find him, they brought in their herbalists and they started chanting incantations wanting him to come back. The herbalists later told the DSS that Baba (Igboho) had turned to a cat. That was when they started killing the cats. I believe they know he has metaphysical powers, that was why they came in with herbalists to get him at all costs but God was not ready to put his life in the hands of the DSS.”
He noted that the herbalists that accompanied the DSS operatives to Igboho’s house “wore ordinary clothes, not traditional attire but when the DSS could not find Chief Sunday Igboho, they called them in and the herbalists started chanting incantations”.
“The DSS operatives were more than 20 and most of them were from Oyo while the soldiers were more than 200. I could count about 87 vehicles when they were taking us away. They came with ambulances too, believing they were going to a war zone,” he added.
Ademola and some others who were arrested spent 62 days in the custody of the DSS.
He narrated his experience there, saying, “It was part of the sacrifice, no going back. It was dehumanising to be in custody without seeing the sun or the moon for months, being maltreated, given food that a dog could not eat, sleeping on a bare floor for 62 days, eating in the same place where I defecated, the same place where I urinated, the same place where I observed my prayers.
“We were given N20 Cowbell (milk) and a loaf of bread of less than N50 to eat per day. There was no access to lawyers, no access to family members. It was hell. It was a terrible experience that I do not wish for even my enemy.
“They asked me personal questions and my purpose of being in Igboho’s house. They also asked for my bank accounts, Facebook name, my village address, they asked me a lot of questions. They asked me to tell them how long I had known Chief Sunday Igboho and I told them. I cannot disown him, no matter the situation.
“The first place we were kept for the first two days in the DSS custody was an underground cell where if anything happened, we couldn’t know. From there we graduated to another cell where we had access to Fulani, Hausa detainees who don’t understand the English language. Some of them were suspected bandits and Boko Haram members. There were others who were not Hausa but suspected IPOB members.”
He added, “We, the Igboho 12, were scattered into various cells. I was detained with Kanuri and Hausa suspects. We didn’t understand our individual languages. All that bound us together was Muslim solat. We couldn’t communicate. It was hell. It got to a time that those of us arrested in Chief Igboho’s house couldn’t sleep at night, we prayed all through; the Muslims observed Tahjud, midnight prayers, while the Christians held vigils.
“We prayed by raising our voices, both Christians and Muslims. We shouted to communicate when it was time for prayers. Of course, we recognised our different voices.”