A little over a year after a member of THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr. Abayomi Ogundeji, was murdered by suspected armed robbers, another journalist with Guardian Newspapers, Mr. Bayo Ohu, was yesterday morning killed by unknown gunmen.
Ohu, the Assistant Political Editor with The Guardian, was murdered by assassins at his No 9 Oyeniyi Street, Odukoya Estate, Egbeda, a suburb of Lagos.
According to an eyewitness, the deceased was killed by a five-man gang, who got to the area around 6.30am in a white Toyota Camry car, but waited till around 7am before going after their target.
“One of the gunmen stayed in the car, while the other four went inside. Two of them stood at the entrance to the flat while the other two rang the bell, and coincidentally it was Bayo who opened the door to allow the visitors in.
“Two of them went into the flat while the others stayed outside, probably to ward off any intruder and to inform those inside of any impending danger,” the witness said.
THISDAY learnt that immediately the assassins saw him, they shot him several times and one of the assailants went into his apartment and came out with the laptop.
While the attack was in progress, the deceased's neighbours, curious of what was going on came out of their different apartments, but quickly scampered for safety when the gunmen started shooting sporadically into the air.
It was as a result of the ensuing confusion that the killers were able to get away.
When THISDAY visited the area yesterday, some of the neighbours, who gathered in groups outside his apartment discussing the fate that befell the journalist, said the assailants knew what they were there for and who they were looking for going by the professional way they carried out the job.
“It was several hours later that people started trooping out of the house to catch a glimpse of the lifeless body of the deceased as he was being carried into a vehicle to the hospital,” another eyewitness said.
Convinced that the gunmen were paid to assassinate Ohu, the neighbours pointed to the fact that it was only the flat that was raided and after killing their victim, the assailants made away with his laptop.
“Bayo may have stumbled on an important information, which was injurious to the image of those behind the killing. They also knew that those facts may be stored in the victim's laptop hence the decision to go with it,” the witness added.
Confirming the incident to THISDAY on phone, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Frank Mba, said it was a case of armed robbery and murder.
Mba, a Superintendent of Police (SP), ruled out assassination.
“The police do not work on rumour. What we know is that some armed robbers shot their way into No 9 Oyeniyi Street, Odukoya Estate, Egbeda¸ which happens to be a residential house. The gunmen shot their victim dead, before bolting away with his laptop,” he said.
The PPRO further said that the vehicle used by the robbers had been recovered by the police.
He insisted that the case was a poor case of armed robbery/murder and not assassination, but that the command would not leave any stone unturned in its determination to unravel the crime.
“We do not want to join the train of speculators, but that it is only forensic investigation that could give the police a lead into the matter,” he added.
Ogundeji was also killed in controversial circumstances on August 17, 2008 at the Dopemu area of Lagos, and a coroner's inquest to unravel the circumstances leading to his death, which began on Friday, January 23, 2008 at the instance of the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) is still ongoing.