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There was tension in the Bolade, Oshodi area of Lagos State on Monday as mourners and family members fought off efforts by policemen from the Akinpelu division to take away the corpse of a slain member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Akeem Lawanson, 38.
His younger brother took the keys to the room where his remains were kept and left house 17, Ariibi Oke Street, where the incident happened, leaving the police bewildered.
The policemen, who attempted to break into the room where the corpse was laid, later gave up and went back to their station.
Our correspondent, who witnessed the drama, gathered that Akeem was attacked by a gang around 4am on Monday while he went out to urinate.
After he was confirmed dead at a hospital in the area, his father took the body to the room.
PUNCH Metro and other callers at the house were given access to the room to view the corpse.
Our correspondent gathered that Akeem was the third of four children of his mother to be killed in the polygamous house.
PUNCH Metro gathered that his siblings, Ashabi and Jubrilla, had been killed, leaving only the eldest child, a lady.
Our correspondent observed as an Alfa spoke with Akeem’s mother who was in Cotonou, on the telephone, trying hard to convince her that all was well.
He said, “Mama, nothing has happened. Everybody is ok. Please don’t let anybody deceive you. I can assure you that nothing is wrong. We are all doing well.”
The deceased’s father, Alhaji Ipadeola Lawanson, told PUNCH Metro that Akeem was killed after he was accused of taking over a ticketing job.
He said, “Last week, one of my children, Wale, who works at the council, came to the street with policemen to arrest a tout, Ganiyu, for selling fake tickets to motorcyclists.
“He complained that Ganiyu had been cheating the council by selling fake tickets and he (Wale) had been blamed for it.
“Akeem, who was his elder brother, went to the police station where Ganiyu was held and begged on his behalf, but Wale refused and insisted he must get Ganiyu jailed for the crime.
“I also intervened and after begging the Divisional Police Officer, the case was resolved and I took Ganiyu on bail.”
He added that Wale gave the ticketing job to Akeem, who in turn handed it to Afeez, a member of the family.
The development, however, did not go down well with Ganiyu and his friends, and they allegedly developed malice towards the victim.
It was learnt that one Femi, aka Foke, called a meeting to mediate in the crisis.
“My son came back and said no agreement was reached. He also said Ganiyu had stopped greeting him and he suspected they were planning something against him.
“Today, around 4am, I was awoken by the noise of some chickens in the neighbourhood. I thought it was a cat that attacked them.
“Then I heard Akeem scream out, ‘Ganiyu’. I wondered what was happening. But it didn’t occur to me to stand up and go out,” he added.
He said some traders in the neighbourhood around 6am raised the alarm after finding Akeem’s corpse in a gutter.
“If I knew he was being attacked, I would have gone out when I heard the noise. I want to follow this case to the end and I am ready to die with it. They came to kill my son in my house. They knew he would come out by that time and that was why they waylaid him,” Ipadeola said.
The matter was said to have been reported at the Akinpelu police division, and the prime suspect, Ganiyu, was arrested in his house.
The police were said to have asked the family to release the body for autopsy, but the siblings and other mourners fought them off.
However, Ipadeola, appealed to them to allow the police do their job so he could get justice for his son.
But the men refused.
Akeem’s wife of eight years, Morenikeji, said they had two children together.
She added that she had asked her husband to stop the NURTW job and go back to his refrigerator repair business.
She said he was rushed to a private hospital in the area after efforts to resuscitate him failed.
She said, “We tried everything possible to resuscitate him and even rushed him to a private hospital. The doctor said he was dead.
“The postmortem the police are talking about could take a long time. They should allow him to rest in peace. But I know that whoever did this will not live long.”
A friend of the victim, Monsuru Fadairo, said he was still in shock, adding that Akeem was his benefactor.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the killing.
She said, “The case has been transferred to the State Department of Criminal Investigation.”