'We had Hoped our Brother would Return Home Alive' – Family of Slain Engineer

'We had Hoped our Brother would Return Home Alive' – Family of Slain Engineer

On Monday, February 25, 2013, tension was high in the family of 30-year-old Oluwatoyin Akanbi. He had been missing for six days. The family had become apprehensive. Fear of what Oluwatoyin might be going through had overtaken them. They had published a phone number through which anybody who had any information about Oluwatoyin’s whereabout could reach his family.

'We had Hoped our Brother would Return Home Alive' – Family of Slain Engineer

Oluwatoyin, who left for his Lekki office in his Toyota Highlander Sports Utility Vehicle early morning on Tuesday, didn’t get to his office that day and didn’t return home. He was declared missing. Prank calls were many, a family member, who identified herself simply as Ekineyo, told our correspondent. “Many of them called to say they had found a vehicle which matched the description of Toyin’s SUV. Many of them even said they had information about his whereabouts. We later realised that they were all lying,” she said. But out of the blues, a resident of Ifo in Ogun State called and told them the body of a man had been found in his neighbourhood.

Ekineyo, who was detailed to be in charge of the phone line released to the public, said she listened attentively as the caller gave descriptions of the body. “As he described it, I realised all the details he was giving matched Toyin’s. I was alarmed because I suddenly became aware that the body of the man the resident was describing was that of Toyin. “The caller was able to connect the body with the publication of his disappearance in the newspaper. I quickly notified my brother who had been liaising with the police and he went to inform them.

The police later went to Ifo to retrieve the body,” she said. The police from Abattoir Division, Agege, Lagos deposited the body in a morgue. The family said the police have insisted an autopsy be carried out on Oluwatoyin’s body but there are documentations needed from both the police authorities and the state coroner’s office before his body can be handed over the family. “We just want to give him a proper burial as soon as possible considering that both of his two parents are still alive,” Ekineyo said.

However, Saturday PUNCH learnt that Oluwatoyin’s MTN phone line was used days after he went missing. The family got to know this when it was tracked at the MTN office. It was also learnt that the tracker on his car had gone off radar. “We have been to MTN to get the call log of the phone but the company has said we need to tender a written authorisation from the office of the police commissioner,” the relative who spoke with our correspondent said. The family said Oluwatosin, the deceased’s wife, was not available for comment when our correspondent visited the New Oko-Oba, Agege residence of the Akanbis.

Their concern at the moment was getting the police to act in order to apprehend those who killed Oluwatoyin. Ekineyo told our correspondent, “Please, we cannot say much about what the family is going through right now. We just need the police to bring the perpetrators to book. “The killers have done their worst. We are imploring the Commissioner of Police to ensure Toyin does not die in vain.

This was a great young man of 30 years, whose life was snuffed out just like that.” Our correspondent learnt that Oluwatoyin graduated with First Class in Physics from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2004 and got a Masters Degree in Petroleum Engineering from a university in France in 2011. When the deceased was declared missing after he did not report for work on Monday, his wife had expressed optimism that her husband would be found alive.

Oluwatosin, who works with the Lagos State Health Service Commission, had said at the time, “I believe he is alright wherever he is. Nigerians should help me to find him. Anybody with useful information should call or report to the nearest police station.” But that is not to be. The deceased, whom family members have described as a very spiritual man, left behind his wife and daughter. PUNCH had on February 25 published a story about the disappearance of Toyin and it so happened that the resident who notified the family was able to connect the deceased’s description in the publication with the unidentified body found in his neighbourhood.

The deceased’s family is looking for a closure in this tragedy and they have said that could only come if those responsible for his death were apprehended. The spokesperson of the Ogun State Police Command, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, said Toyin’s body was found in Ogungbade Village around Ifo. Adejobi said, “Policemen from the Lagos State Police Command came with the family to retrieve the body from the Ifo Police Division. We have not heard anything from them since them. “I guess they are handling the investigation on their end at the moment. They are in the best position to give more detail.”

However, Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, Ngozi Braide, has stated that the police are currently treating the case as an assasination because of the way he was killed. She explained, “He was not shot. When he was found, it was noticed that the back of his head had been smashed with an object. “In any case, thorough investigation will be conducted on the case. It is being transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for onward investigation.”  

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