When the video of three suspects –Ramoni Opeyemi a.k.a Alubarika; Taofeek Olalekan a.k.a K’abelohun and Tayo Akinrinola a.k.a Ifa– caught with fresh human head and body parts in Ibadan, Oyo State, went viral last weekend, an uproar arose among Nigerian citizens generally and Apete community residents particularly.
The name, Apete Community, well known to many non-residents, covers many other communities in the zone of Ido Local Government Area, such as Awotan, Akere, Oriare, Adaba, Alapata, Alakuta and others. The road from Apete links Akufo Village or settlement as it may be referred to.
The entire area, which gradually started developing from a dense forest and quiet, to a town got negative attention when the suspects, caught on Monday, October 16, 2023 by the Swift Response Squad at Agbarigo area of the capital city, were discovered to be domiciled there.
Sunday Tribune learnt that during interrogation at SRS, the suspects reportedly told the officers that they saw a hit-and-run victim and decided to cut his head and body parts for an unexplained reason. From there, they were promptly transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, Ibadan, on the orders of the Commissioner of Police, Adebola Hamzat, for further investigation.
It was learnt that at the State CID, the suspects confessed to detectives on how they allegedly went after a young man of unsound mind, simply known as Tunde, who usually stayed in Community High School, Veterinary, Mokola, Ibadan.
They were said to have disclosed how they stabbed and strangled him before cutting off his head and body parts for use.
The uproar that followed the occurrence even brought the Alapete of Apete, Oba Raimi Bolarinwa Idowu; the Alawotan of Awotan, Oba Adebayo Dauda Omotosho; as well as Imams, Alfas and Muslims generally to a meeting on Wednesday where they invited journalists and condemned the alleged atrocities committed by the suspects.
In their addresses, they told the gathering that the suspects were not regarded as genuine Muslims for committing acts against God’s commandments and Islamic teachings. They also said that the despicable act depicted inhumanity.
The occurrence also took Sunday Tribune to Alapata Community where Ramoni, also known as Abdulrahman and popularly called Alubarika, lives. It was learnt that before moving there about five years ago, Alubarika lived at his family house in Apete with other members and had a Quranic school there where children were taught in recitation and translation. During the findings, it was also gathered that his father, Alhaji Muibi, is the Imam of Ijokodo mosque.
At Alapata Community, Mrs Sefiat Auwalu, a landlady and retired police officer, who lives close to Alubarika and also has a business building which shares a fence with his house, spoke on how she had had an altercation with him and even had cases between them in court.
She opened up on Alubarika: “He moved to this community about five years ago. My family got here 13 years ago and met a Fulani household there.
“In 2021, the land owners won a court case as the rightful owners and we had to settle them to retain our pieces of land. However, they took over those that were initially claimed by people who did not get the land from them, and I purchased out of it.
“From that time, Alubarika started waging war against me. He and others were using the neighbourhood for unknown deeds. Sometimes, we would wake up to see calabashes of sacrifices around us. He turned everywhere to a shrine.
“I have shops in front of my house where I sell provisions. I noticed that Alubarika and Taofeek Olalekan a.k.a. K’abelohun would send his boys, particularly one Rilwan, early in the morning with a new N1,000 note which they would hold at its tip to ake a purchase. I had to tell them not to come to me for purchases again as everything looked suspicious to me.
“That was how they stopped greeting me. He would bring many Alfas with turbans to his house. Somehow, our goats started disappearing. Whenever we asked him, he would curse that we would be wasted, boasting that we dared not confront him.
“On October 3, 2021, when I wanted to start building the piece of land I newly bought from landowners, Alubarika brought hoodlums and Alfas. They started beating the bricklayers and labourers I employed and chased them out. They also destroyed about 4,000 concrete blocks there. They threw charms on the land and made some marks on it. The Alfas started reciting the Quran on the land.
“A day earlier, he wrote me a note, warning me not to go on the land, as he claimed that it belonged to someone else. I went to lodge a complaint at Apete police station. The case is still in Court 7, Oyo State High Court, Ring Road, Ibadan.”
The retired police officer went on: “When I constructed a structure on the land for business, Alubarika did not like it because he used to throw bones on the land. I asked him if he was killing cows, and I started throwing the bones back into his compound which shares a fence with me. Sometimes, he would throw smelly rotten flesh. Whenever he was reported at the police station, he would write a petition against the police. Then I got a handwritten letter in Yoruba language posted on my gate that I should be expecting troublesome visitors on the land if I refused to move away from there. It was written that I was being rude to the master (Alubarika) and that I should prepare for their coming. They threatened to deal with police officers more than what happened during #EndSARS if they dared to intervene.
“He was always burning flesh of what I didn’t know and I was always cursing him and telling him not to throw burnt flesh on my land. Shortly after, a case of corpse exhumation by his boys, Rilwan Adeleke and one Ifa (one of the arrested suspects, Tayo Akinrinola) occurred. It was Alubarika and his Alfas that went to pray on the corpse of his friend’s wife and buried her a day before. Rilwan and Ifa went to exhume the corpse at Adaba community but were caught by night guards. This was over two years ago. Rilwan then confessed that he was sent by Alubarika. The case was taken to court but Alubarika denied any involvement and was released on bail. He started writing petitions against many people, saying that he was being defamed.
“At one point, he placed a charm on my land and I stepped on it. I was incapacitated for almost two years. When he saw me again in front of my house, he told me: ‘oh! You are up. You will be back on the ground.’”
Mrs Auwalu, popularly known as Iya Emere, also recalled that his neighnour once wrote a petition “He wrote a petition against them in Apete Division. Recently, about four weeks ago, my land was invaded and my plasma television, fan, big generator, bottles of wine and beer were carted away. We saw traces of the generator placed on the fence connecting me with him. Three days later, they went to Idi Igbaro at Eleyele and broke into a house there. Rilwan was arrested and the case was taken to court. He is currently at Abolongo Correctional Centre in Oyo where he was remanded.
“On October 15, we were doing a 40th day prayer after my husband’s death. That day, Alubarika said he was celebrating his birthday. I saw him and he just told me: ‘Look!’ He put his fingers across his throat as a sign of death for me. I told him that would not be my portion, but that arrows he intended to shoot would turn and hit him. Other Alfas with him started mocking me saying: ‘Go and sit down. You are already a goner.’ K’abelohun was one of them.
“So when we saw the video of the arrest of Alubarika, K’abelohun and Ifa with human head and other parts, I asked: ‘again?’”
Mrs Auwalu said that the neighbourhood rejoiced when they heard of his arrest, as they lived in trepidation. “They were very afraid of him. No one could confront him except me. They dared not. Even when I reported him at the landlords’ association meeting, they could not act on it. They said they didn’t want any problem.
“Even one of them, an Alfa, went to Alubarika and told him everything. That was when I stopped attending the meetings. No one could face him”.
With his arrest now, the landlady said it has proved that all she was accusing him of were true. “If this did not happen, they would think I was just making out stories about Alubarika,” she said.
Apart from his birthday celebration a day before he and others were caught with human parts, residents told Sunday Tribune that Alubarika had it in plan to do Nikkai (wedding) with another woman, a mother of two, on Sunday, October 29, but which was truncated by his arrest.
Alhaji Yusuf Ibrahim, an Ilorin, Kwara State-born Fulani, also told Sunday Tribune that he started living at Alapata Community over 20 years ago, with everywhere still bushy then.
“When Alubarika first came, I knew him as Alfa. It was after his boy, Rilwan, started stealing my goats and chickens that I knew him to be bad. I even pursued Rilwan to Alubarika’s compound on the day he came to tear the cage to steal my chickens at night. The following day, Alubarika and his wife came to beg me, but did not take any step to reprimand Rilwan.
“I was shocked when I saw the viral video of him being caught with a human head and other parts. I never thought he could do such a thing.”
Also, Mr Adeyemi Surajudeen of Ainu Family, which sold land to residents in the area, said that Alubarika was illegally occupying the family land, but sued the family to court, claiming a 1993 judgement which he said was in favour of those he said he purchased the land from.
“However, we have a 2021 judgement superceding the one he claimed to have, and is even listed as Exhibit G5 in the judgement we got. He has brought hoodlums to us when we were in the area, claiming that we had no right to come there. There was even a day he brought hoodlums who fired shots to scare us. He also barred some residents from using the road by his residence.
“We are awaiting the judgement on his suit against us. The case was adjourned until next month and when we eventually win, Alubarika will definitely remove his building from our land. He has become a terror in that community,” Surajudeen told Sunday Tribune.
The Chief Imam of Orisun Central Mosque, where K’abelohun used to worship, Alhaji Taiwo Hussain was also interviewed by Sunday Tribune to know more about him. He said: “One day, he (K’abelohun) told me that he wanted to be calling the faithful to prayer, and since we were all worshippers, I agreed.
“We later heard of how he connived with Alubarika and went to exhume a corpse to cut its head. When asked, he denied involvement but confessed to carrying out divination. We called a meeting three days after the incident and I told him to leave the mosque so that his act would not tarnish the image of the congregation.”
K’abelohun was said to have been angered by the way a Muslim tenant in his house would give him a derisive look whenever he was worshipping the statue he had in his compound. This, the Imam said, prompted him to slap the tenant one day.
“He told us he was using the effigy to frighten some people. He even said during a naming ceremony one day that there is Satan in Mecca and that anyone who wants to prosper would be taken to Satan for the prosperity to come,” Imam Hussain disclosed.
The Imam said that he was not close to Alubarika, but when he and K’abelohun were accused of an attempt to get a human head from the graveyard, “they both came to our neighbourhood. Alubarika boldly told me: ‘Baba, be careful. I only respect you as an elder.’ It was a shock to me again when I was told again that a human head and other parts were found with him and two others.”
Afaa Abdulhakeem Abdulrasheed, the Mufasir (deputy) of the Imam, Orisun Central Mosque, also spoke on Taofeek a.k.a K’abelohun: “He met us in this neighbourhood and when he came, he started a concrete block making business nearby. We learnt that he was initially working. Later, he stopped the business and started the work of an Islamic cleric, following Alfas. He joined Alubarika.
Alubarika’s father is Muibi and the Imam at Ijokodo Mosque.
K’abelohun was worshipping at Orisun Central Mosque. He used to do Tafsir during Ramadan.
“However, we started getting warnings from people that we should be careful of K’abelohun who was associating closely with Alubarika. We called K’abelohun, but were shocked when he responded that if Alubarika was hell-bound, he would heartily go with him because of a particular good deed he did to him, which he would not tell anyone.
“His wife came to us at a point that we should talk to her husband to desist from being close to Alubarika. This was when he was arrested by the police from Apete Division after a report by his aunt that he had sold all her property without her knowledge. We were also told that K’abelohun erected a satanic statue in his house.”
On the news that he and others were caught with human parts, the Mufasir said: “It is so saddening. We are also disappointed that he is from Akufo Village. People from the village are not expected to bring disgrace to it. We have people from there all over the world who are doing well and making us proud. Why should Taofeek bring dishonour to the place?”
He appealed to the state governor and the Commissioner of Police to carry out in depth investigations and apply correct punitive measures to the crime committed.
“We also want the law enforcement agents to search for those who might still be in the community and fish them out so that we can live in peace.”
In an update, Sunday Tribune learnt that the three suspects were arraigned on Wednesday, October 25, on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, unlawful possession of human head and misconduct with regard to corpses, at Court 2 in the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
The case was Commissioner of Police, Oyo State vs Tayo Akinrinola, Ramoni Opeyemi and Taofeek Olalekan.
In a suit with number MI/1075C/2023, Count One read: “That you Tayo Akinrinola ’m’, Ramoni Opeyemi ‘m’, Taofeek Olalekan ‘m’ and others now at large, on the 16th day of October, 2023, at about 7pm, at Community High School, Veterinary, Mokola, Ibadan, in the Ibadan Magisterial District did conspire with one another to commit felony to wit: murder and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 324 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.”
Count Two read: “That you Tayo Akinrinola ’m’, Ramoni Opeyemi ‘m’, Taofeek Olalekan ‘m’ and others now at large, on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did unlawfully cause the death of Tunde ‘m’ surname unknown by stabbing him with a knife in his stomach and strangulating him and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316 and punishable under Section 319 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.
Count Three read: “That you Tayo Akinrinola ’m’, Ramoni Opeyemi ‘m’, Taofeek Olalekan ‘m’ and others now at large, on the 16th day of October, 2023, at about 7:30pm, at Community High School, Veterinary, Mokola, Ibadan, in the Ibadan Magisterial District did conspire with one another to commit an offence to wit: Misconduct with regard to corpses and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 517 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.
Count Four read: “That you Tayo Akinrinola ’m’, Ramoni Opeyemi ‘m’, Taofeek Olalekan ‘m’ and others now at large, on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did improperly and indecently interfere with the corpse of one Tunde ‘m’ surname unknown by cutting off the head, legs and flesh and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 242(1)(b) of the Criminal Cide, CSP 38, Vol. II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000.”
After the reading of the charges, no plea was taken, while Barrister Akin Ajidagba Esq. stood in for the three defendants.
The Chief Magistrate presiding over the case, M. Mudashiru, ordered the remand of the defendants at Abolongo Correctional Centre, Oyo Town and the transfer of the case file to the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice.
The case was adjourned until December 21.