By Leke Akeredolu
The suspected killers of the former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Prof. Albert Ilemobade, yesterday narrated how they strangled him to death.
The suspects, who were his domestic workers Daniel Ita (guard) from Cross River State and his sacked driver, Olayemi Bamitale from Ekiti State, as well as the late Ilemobade’s red Toyota Rav 4, were paraded by the police in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The duo were arrested by the police in Ogun State before they were transferred to Ondo State.
Family members, members of the Archbishop Vining College of Theology, Akure, where the deceased was a member and representatives of Imade College, Owo Old Students Association, led by Yinka Akinola, besieged the police headquarters yesterday.
They were there to catch a glimpse of the two suspects, who killed the 78-year-old man.
Last Monday, it was reported that the don was abducted by unknown gunmen. His decomposing remains were discovered at an isolated store in his house on Sunday.
Bamitale (36) was said to have been sacked in April when he allegedly stole the deceased’s Toyota RAV4. It was gathered that the vehicle was with him for four days before he returned it, when he could not get a buyer.
Bamitale was said to have been detained by the police before sympathisers appealed to the deceased to allow his bail.
It was gathered that despite his sack, the suspect was always in contact with Daniel on how they would steal the car.
He said: “Baba was nice to Daniel and me. Daniel called me one day and said he had contacted his herbalist on how to steal the car without any trouble.
“Daniel asked me to come to the House at Ijapo Estate on Sunday by 9pm. When I got to the place, he told me that he had met his herbalist who told him that if we want to take the car we must kill Baba and take some sand from the house so that there won’t be any problem.
“I asked him how we are going to lure Prof outside. Daniel said he would lure Baba to the security room and from there we will strangle him to death. And from there we will go to his room and take whatever we want since Mama, his wife, is in another room.
“He went to Baba’s sitting room and called him, that there was a power surge. Baba passed through the kitchen to the security room. It was there that we grabbed his neck, until he stopped breathing.
“We took his body to a store beside the car park. We put a picture on his chest so that if the body is found, they will think that his murderers dropped the picture.
“When we entered his room, we took the car key, N7000, laptop and two phones. Daniel locked the gate from outside and we went away with the vehicle.
“At the estate gate, the guards allowed us to go when they saw Daniel and that was around 11pm.
“We slept at Alagbaka because Daniel’s brother, who lived at Arakale in Akure, refused to pick up his phone. The following morning, Daniel asked us to take the car to Calabar but I told him that the N7,000 with us is not enough to buy fuel to take us to Calabar.
“We agreed to take the vehicle to Lagos. But when I explained the circumstances to my contacts in Lagos, they all said they couldn’t buy it.
“ On our way, officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) detained us for incomplete documents.
“They took the car to a nearby police station where we were directed to pay N3000 at First Bank. There was no money on us again. The following day, we took the laptop and two phones to Epe to sell.
“When we moved round, we were told that the phones have security codes and unless we flash them, we couldn’t sell them. But we were told of the dangers of flashing the phones.
“Daniel saw one of his kinsmen, who agreed to buy the phones and he gave us N3000. I went to the bank to pay the money and we took the teller to the FRSC office. We were given a letter which we took to the police station and they released the car to us.
“We returned to Ijebu-Ode and the person I contacted at Ilotin in Ijebu-Ode reported us to the police and we were arrested.”
But Daniel blamed Bamitale for luring him to the evil business. The guard said the herbalist was treating him for hernia and that the don gave him N5000 recently for the treatment.
Commissioner of Police Isaac Eke said they received information from the Ogun State Police Command that the late Ilemobade’s guard and former driver had been arrested with the deceased’s vehicle.
Eke described the incident as traumatic and sad, noting that because the suspects dropped the don’s slippers and watch, the police and family believed that he was kidnapped.
“I want to appeal to people to always carry out background checks before employing domestic workers,” Eke said.
By Leke Akeredolu