by Adeola Balogun
A trader in Oyo has been arrested and arraigned after reports that he killed a popular street urchin aka ‘area boy’.
24-year-old Tunde Azeez, a generator salesman was accused of and charged with the murder of one Kazeem Lawal.
The incident occurred in the Ogunpa area of Ibadan, the state capital, after the duo became engaged in an argument over money resulting in the death of Lawal due to a stab wound to the neck.
The Tribune reports:
Azeez was on Thursday, January 30, remanded in Agodi prison, Ibadan, after he was arraigned at Magistrates’ Court 2, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State on a count charge of murder which he was accused to have committed by stabbing the deceased with a broken bottle on the right side of the neck.
Azeez was arrested on Saturday, January 17 by policemen from Iyaganku Division after a fight broke out between him and the deceased at about 7.30p.m. over money given by a man who went to Ogunpa market in Ibadan to purchase an industrial generator. Azeez was said to be a generator trader and he also engages in helping other traders to bring intending buyers and would also help in negotiating the price of the goods to be bought.
As is the practice at the market, anyone who does this is given a token from money paid by the customer as a mark of appreciation while the customer also gives the middle man some amount as a gift.
Information gathered by Crime Reports revealed that on that particular day, Azeez was said to have done this and when the transaction was concluded, some area boys joined him to assist the buyer in hauling the machine into a truck. Though the deceased was among the ‘boys’, he was reported to have only engaged in directing how the generator would be carried and did not assist, but being allegedly a tough person, others did not mind.
After the job had been done, the buyer was said to have given Azeez and 10 area boys N6,000 which he handed over Lawal who assumed the position of the leader. All of them reportedly told the buyer to add more money, which he did by giving an additional N3,000. In addition, Crime Reports learnt that the trader who sold the generator also gave Lawal N2,000 for himself, as if he had a premonition of what would happen.
But Azeez was surprised when Lawal handed him N200 as his own share of the N9,000 meant for 11 people, when he was even a bonafide trader, unlike others who were just ‘area boys’.
His protest against this was what reportedly triggered Lawal’s anger, as he was alleged to have rained slaps on Azeez, who was a younger person. Azeez was said to have protested the assault but to show his might, Lawal allegedly broke a bottle to stab Azeez.
Though it was unclear what really happened, what people saw was that Lawal fell like a pack of cards after he was fatally injured through a stab in the neck by a broken bottle. Though some believed that Azeez stabbed the deceased, the suspect claimed that Lawal must have mistakenly stabbed himself as he (Azeez) held his hands to stop him from stabbing him while Lawal kept struggling to achieve his aim.
The suspect reportedly shouted for help and some of those who ran away when the fight started assisted in rushing him to Ibadan Central Hospital, Ososami area where he was confirmed dead. Azeez was immediately arrested by detectives from Iyaganku Division.
Lawal’s death led to outbreak of violence at the market as his colleagues threatened to avenge his death. They were said to have refused any move of the police to conduct autopsy or get coroner’s report and had planned the invasion of the police station to get Azeez out and hand him jungle justice.
At court 2, Iyaganku, presided over by Alhaja Sefia Oyediran, while reading the charge, Azeez was said to have committed an offence contrary to section 316 and punishable under section 319 of the criminal code cap 38 volume 2 laws of Oyo State, Nigeria, 2000. His plea was not taken while the magistrate adjourned his case till February 28 for further hearing.