Two brothers, who were killed in Shitta area of Lagos State on Thursday night, were celebrating the birthday of one of them.
Mufutau Akewusola clocked 27 on that day and his little brother, 22-year-old Malik, joined him and few other friends to mark the day.
They were having fun at a leisure spot not far from their house beside Shitta Primary School when gunmen arrived at the scene and rained bullets on the fun seekers.
Mufutau, a graduate of Lagos State University and Malik, a 200-level student of the same institution, did not survive the attack.
A pregnant woman, Mrs. Raimot Balogun, who was having a chat with the owner of the leisure spot, also died in the attack. A passer-by, Idris Shashore, was shot in the arm.
A relative of the slain brothers told PUNCH Metro on Sunday that the assailants were about eight in number.
He said, “Around 7.30pm, Mufutau was having a drink with his brother, his girlfriend and a few others. Raimot was having a chat with her friend who owns the beer parlour. Mufutau escorted his girlfriend and bade her farewell.
“Shortly after, about eight guys in fez cap stormed the place. Malik saw them and started shouting ‘gun, gun!’ One of the guys shot Malik and he fell to the ground. The guy pinned Malik to the floor, calling him bastard repeatedly and shot him over six times.
“Mufutau and Raimot were running in the same direction when they were shot. Malik died on the spot but Raimot was rushed to Lagos University Teaching Hospital where she was declared dead.”
When our correspondent visited the homes of the victims on Sunday, residents and sympathisers were seen consoling the respective families.
Raimot’s husband, Babatunde Balogun, said he was pained because his wife was pregnant. He said they had four children and with her demise, it would be difficult taking care of the children.
He said, “I am a mechanic and my wife was a trader at Costain. My first born, Musa, is 15 while the youngest, Hameed, is just four years old. Aminat, who is our only daughter, turned 13 years old today (yesterday), sadly, their mother cannot witness it as she was shot in the stomach and killed like an animal.
“She did not die on the spot. After they shot her, she was crawling on her belly but by the time she got to the hospital, she had lost too much blood. All I want for her murder is justice.”
Babatunde said the killing was cult-related and he urged the police to carry out investigations with all sincerity.
Our correspondent, who also visited the Akewusola residence, learnt that the slain brothers were the only sons of their mother.
It was learnt that Malik was a student of the Faculty of Education at LASU.
A cousin of the slain brothers said the two boys were not cult members.
He said, “Mufutau was a lady’s man. He had friends in the neighbourhood who were of shady character, but Mufutau was not the violent type. Even when he went for his national youth service in Calabar, he ran home when there was a minor riot.
“Malik on the other hand, was very playful but he was responsible. It is a pity that they were the only sons of their mother. They have only one sister.”
Another resident told our correspondent that the killings were perpetrated by outsiders which made it very difficult to trace them.
He said, “On the day they were killed, some unidentified guys were seen sitting by their table, having some drinks. One of the guys was talking to someone on the telephone.
“A few minutes before the culprits arrived, those guys had run away which means it was a planned job. The culprits do not live in the area but they have informants who assist them.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that residents were no longer taking chances as they had imposed a curfew on themselves while some had begun to relocate until the dust settled.
The residents said the curfew would be from 7pm to 7am as it had been noticed that most of the killings occur from 7pm.
Some residents told PUNCH Metro on condition of anonymity that the killing was a reprisal for the death of the Chairman of Keke Napep operators, Kolapo Olatunji, who was killed by gunmen on April 21 2013, opposite Shitta primary school, Surulere.
“All these killings that have been going are all about cult supremacy. From what I learned, the death of the Akewusola brothers was meant to avenge the killing of Olatunji.
The Chairman, Abebe Community Development Association, Alhaja Smith Kolejo, said they were all living in constant fear due to the rising level of insecurity.
She said, “I have lived in this area for 53 years now and I can tell you that things had never been this bad. These days we are even afraid to open our shops because of fear of being shot or killed.
A former secretary, Boluwatife CDA, Mr. Hafiz Oki, said so far five persons had been killed in the area while two others were injured.
He said the police had not arrested any prime suspect.
“The police have been raiding the area but many of the people arrested are later released. The culprits are not from this neighbourhood. We used to have security meetings with the police and other security agents. I think it needs to start again so that we can tackle this problem,” he said.
Our correspondent, who visited Bank Olemoh Street, observed that a van belonging to the Rapid Response Squad of the police was stationed on the road side, while three armed policemen kept watch.
When contacted on the telephone, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said investigations were ongoing. She said she was not aware of the recent killings.
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