THE murder of 83-year-old Chief Dada Oyateru in cold blood has sent jitters down the spines of notable personalities in Akure, Ondo State capital. Detectives are battling to unravel the mystery behind the murder of the old man weeks after he was allegedly strangled in the presence of his junior wife, Titilola. They are said to be investigating if the murder of the chief was a case of armed robbery or assassination.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the deceased went to bed that night after dinner. Three unknown gun men reportedly scaled the fence of his palatial building located at Oke-Ijebu area of Akure at about 1am.
After scaling the fence, the killers reportedly tied the security guard before settling to work on the burglary proof leading to the chief’s bedroom. A family source argued that the killers could not have found their way to the victim’s bedroom if the murder was not pre-planned.
•The late Chief Dada Oyateru and wife
The deceased and the wife were said to have been woken up while the killers broke down the burglary proof of the bedroom but helpless as their shouts for help yielded no result. It was learnt that all the occupants of the building, including the children of the deceased, were held hostage for over four hours as all their shouts for help fell on the deaf ears of their neighbors who failed to come to their rescue.
The attackers reportedly had a field day as they insisted that Oyeteru should hand over to them all the money in his possession. His hands and legs, according to the source, were tied by the intruders who asked him to sit “quietly and watch them” as they ransacked and turned the whole room upside down . His family members were told to lie face down. They reportedly descended on the deceased after their search of the entire house failed to yield money.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the killers requested for money from the deceased but he told them he didn’t keep money in the house and offered to follow them to the ATM machine if they so desired. A family member hinted that she over heard the leader of the gang telling others to “ let’s finish this man and get out of here.” The attackers turned down the offer to take them to the ATM machine and reportedly pounced on the octogenarian and strangled him.
The deceased’s junior wife, who witnessed the murder, said it was scary and that it would remain an unforgettable experience in her lifetime. Narrating how it happened, Titilola said three gunmen broke into their house at about 1:00am on that day, Tuesday. “They entered the house through my husband’s room after cutting the burglary proof and held us hostage for about four hours,”she stated.
“They pointed gun at baba, demanding for ‘the money which he brought home last night’. “He pleaded with them that he didn’t have any money at home and usually didn’t keep money at home, but they refused to yield to his begging, threatening that they would kill us if we didn’t give them money. “He begged them not to kill him, imploring them to go with his two cars; and promised to go to the bank to withdraw money from his bank account for them but they refused.
“Baba begged them to name a point within or outside the town where they wanted him to drop the money for them the following morning if they could not take him to the ATM machine that early morning but they insisted that they would kill him if he didn’t give them money at that particular time. “They tied him with rope and asked us to lie down with our faces to the ground after which they pounced on him and strangled him.” The gunmen, according to her, then ransacked the house and carted away valuables such as laptop, phones, jewelries and N35,000 cash. She stated that then escaped in the deceased’s red Toyota Camry car at about 4:30am.
The Ondo police image maker, Femi Joseph, confirmed the murder of the traditional chief, saying detectives were on the trail of the killers. Joseph said the command had not made any arrest but assured that the assailants would soon be apprehended.