Tears laced with curses flowed freely as sympathizers thronged the Bayeku/Oke-Ira Jetty in Ikorodu, an outskirt of Lagos. The tears were precipitated by the gruesome killing of a commercial boat operator in the area. The victim who was simply identified as “Oyibo or Yellow” was shot at close range by persons suspected to be armed robbers who had robbed a bank and were escaping with their loot through the waterways.
The throng also heaped praised on the courageous boat operator who, despite the hot pursuit of the robbers, ensured that the boat berthed safely and all the 22 passengers on board, escaped unhurt. But for his bravery, the passengers would have met their waterloo.
Oyibo who is said to an indigene of Ilaje in Ondo State was returning to Ikorodu when he ran into the robbers who were trying to escape with another hijacked boat. On sensing danger, Oyibo whose wife allegedly put two bed barely two months ago, decided to berth the boat in a nearby jetty.
This wise decision paid off, as his assistant and all the passengers on board, escaped unhurt. The assistant boat operator was said to have also removed and hidden the hose of the boat before taking to his heels.
Vanguard Metro, VM learnt that trouble started that fateful Monday morning when some unknown armed men who wore charms, stormed the jetty with an old boat. Sources told VM that the men who arrived in a 22-seat boat around 9am, forcibly took over the jetty. Some boat operators who were not on duty, were mending their boats when the fierce-looking men arrived the jetty. They were said to be carrying cans of fuel and other luggage in their own boat.
VM further learnt that immediately they berthed, the robbers disembarked and went straight to inspect the boats which were parked. Their mission was to exchange the rickety boat they came with, with a better one. As soon as they sighted one, they quickly transferred their luggage into it but to their chagrin, the boat had no fuel. This development must have upset them and they (robbers) had no alternative than to pick any boat available and make for their escape.
It was at this point that the boat operators raised an alarm which attracted residents and commuters to the jetty. Eye witnesses told VM that as the robbers were trying to escape with the boat they snatched when they sighted an oncoming boat which was incidentally driven by Oyibo.
Sensing that it was better than the boat they had already snatched, the dare-devil robbers gave him a hot chase, prompting Yellow to berth in a nearby jetty. But instead of escaping with other passengers, Oyibo who was apparently unaware that his assistant had demobilised the boat, struggled with the assailants for its (boat’s) possession. It was in the process that he was shot at close range and died on the spot.
When the Police failed to show up on time, residents of the area sent distress calls to ‘Onyabo,’ a local vigilante group in Ikorodu. Although they swiftly responded to the call, they were unable to apprehend Oyibo’s killers apparently because they were ill-equipped. When sympathisers searched the boat which was left behind by the robbers, they found a bag filled with bullets and charms. These items were later taken to the Police station in the area.
The incident grounded activities in the area, forcing intending boat passengers to look for alternative means of travelling.. Distraught residents of the area told VM that the thieves were on their way from Ijede, Ikorodu where they robbed a new generation bank. They allegedly escaped with an old boat, hence they diverted their journey to Bayeku in a bid to secure a better boat.
Reacting to the ugly incident, the Chairman of Ifelodun Ferry Transport Association, Bayeku, Alhaji Lukman Ganiyu enjoined the government to provide adequate security in the area. Similarly, the Baale( traditional ruler) of Bayeku, Chief Saudi Aleje called on the government to empower the local vigilante group to complement the effort of Nigeria Police Force.