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Controversy trails Ogundeji’s murder

Posted by By Kunle Adeyemi and Akeem Lasisi on 2008/08/18 | Views: 1406 |

Controversy trails Ogundeji’s murder


Barely 24 hours after the gruesome murder of a frontline journalist, Mr. Abayomi Ogundeji, in Lagos, the circumstances that led to his death are still conflicting.

Barely 24 hours after the gruesome murder of a frontline journalist, Mr. Abayomi Ogundeji, in Lagos, the circumstances that led to his death are still conflicting.

A gang of unidentified gunmen reportedly killed Ogundeji around 10pm on Sunday in front of the Tower Aluminum Company, Dopemu, on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

Expectedly, the police could not explain how the incident happened, since they claimed that they got to the scene about two hours after the killing.

A man who, claimed to have witnessed the encounter between the deceased and the killers from a distance, allegedly told the police that the attackers were armed robbers.

According to him, the late Ogundeji, who was driving a Kia Sportage marked BM 316 AKD, was linking the expressway from the Akowonjo Road.

The gunmen, the witness claimed, drove a Nissan Murano sports utility vehicle, which probably must have been snatched from the owner.

They allegedly caught up with the late journalist in front of the aluminum firm and blocked his vehicle with theirs.

After a short conversation between the gunmen and the deceased, the witness said he suddenly heard the sound of gunshots from the spot.

Another account said that the killers, after blocking Ogundeji‘s vehicle, ordered him to roll down his vehicle‘s door glass, but the deceased refused, prompting the shooting.

There was yet another version of the murder account. This claimed that when the killers confronted Ogundeji, he had a hot argument with them, apparently oblivious that they were armed.

It was during the argument that the gunmen fired the former aide to the Lagos State governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the 2007 general elections, Mr. Femi Pedro.

There was also a claim that there were two persons in the vehicle, which was sprayed with bullets, but the police said they found only one dead man in it.

Ogundeji was said to be returning from an outing in Agidingbi area of Ikeja when the incident happened.

According to police report, a team of policemen on patrol discovered the vehicle and the body around 12.25am.

The body was removed and deposited at the Ikeja General Hospital mortuary, while Ogundeji‘s vehicle was moved to Idimu Police Station.

The case, which jolted many Lagosians, especially those in the media, has been transferred to the state Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, for investigation.

The acting DC in charge of Panti, Mr. Leye Oyebade, told our correspondent on Monday that ”we are investigating the case.”

Deputy spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Olumide Jimoh, also confirmed the incident on Monday.

Jimoh said, “We are investigating the case. It is being handled by the SCID. We are working on all clues available to us.

Until his death, Ogundeji, who once edited the defunct Sunday Comet, was a member of the Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspapers.

A graduate of History from the University of Ibadan, he started his journalism career at the African Guardian and later reported for the The Guardian on Saturday. A Commonwealth Journalism Fellow in the United Kingdom, Ogundeji was the Features Editor of THE PUNCH between 1998 and 2000.

Reacting, Pedro, who expressed shock when he was informed about the incident, told our correspondent that he got the information about an hour earlier.

He said, “So, you mean he is dead? Ah, oh my God! But why, why….?

“We worked together during my campaign and even thereafter. We have been like friends and brothers. Oh. What is the meaning of this?”

Also reacting, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, and The Editor of The Nation, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, expressed shock at the murder. Adefaye said that Ogundeji‘s sudden demise was a big loss to the Nigeria Guild of Editors.

According to him, he was an active member who shared the vision to use the NGE platform to take journalism to more functional heights.

Omotoso said that beyond professional competence, Ogundeji had a very inspiring personality.

“Here was a person that always had confidence in himself,” he said. “Apart from all the impact he had made, he was still looking forward to bigger challenges. For a person of such an attitude to have died like that is very bad.”

Ogundeji, 40, is survived by an aged mother, a wife and two children.

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