Claims that last week’s shooting, which led to the death of 30-year old Kehinde Adeleke at Pete’s Lounge and Bar in Ibadan, was carried out by the bar owner, Mr. Seyi Olusa, have been disputed by people who claimed to have witnessed the incident.
The leisure facility, located within the Trans Amusement Park in the Oyo State capital, was subsequently ordered shut by the management of the facility.
The Oyo State Police Command, on Wednesday, announced that it has commenced an investigation into the incident. Spokesman of the command, Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, stated that the suspected killer will be charged to court at the end of the investigation. He, however, warned that the investigation may take a while to be concluded. Mr. Olusa is currently in police custody.
“The police will not hurry in their investigation. We will do a thorough investigation so that we will be able to ensure that the actual culprit is apprehended. Then, the case will be charged to court for prosecution,” said Ajisebutu.
Accounts of the incident have been wildly discrepant. Twin brother of the victim, Taiwo Adeleke, claimed that it was Mr. Olusa, the bar owner, who shot the victim after snatching a rifle from a soldier attached Operation Burst, the code name for the state government’s anti-crime outfit, at the car park of Trans Amusement Park.
However, people who claimed to have been at the scene of the incident said it was the soldier, not the bar owner that fired the killer shot. According to three of them, Mr. Olusa was not at the car park when the incident occurred. Alli Akinoso, one of those who said they watched the incident happen, said the deceased and Mr. Olusa were friends and the latter had no reason to kill him. He wondered how the bar owner could have snatched the rifle, shot the victim and calmly returned it to the soldier afterward.
“I was at the car park and witnessed the whole thing. Kehinde’s younger brother, Damola, was having a fight with someone over the parking lot. I tried to talk to him, but he did not listen. Then, a soldier came and beat him with a stick. He fell down and we offered him water. But he did not accept it. When Kehinde showed up, Damola stood up and approached the soldier violently.
“I saw the siblings struggling with the soldier. That was when the shooting began. Kehinde fell to the ground. I tried to resuscitate him but there was nothing I could do. Taiwo was not on the scene; he was at the bar. He only came after the shooting, and I was the first person he saw. He attacked me and tore my clothes. I still have the clothes with the victim’s blood on it,” said Akinoso.
He explained that Mr. Olusa came out at the time the disagreement began and tried to intervene, but went back after men of Operation Burst arrived at the scene, apparently in the belief that they could take care of the matter.
“I saw him on the scene when the fight started. He was trying to mediate but left when the Operation Burst team came. The car park is about 100 metres to the bar. He was not there when the shot was released. It is difficult to snatch a rifle from a soldier and return it after using the same gun to kill,” he contended.
The witnesses called on the Army to produce the killer soldier.
But the twin brother of the deceased, Taiwo, claimed that Mr. Olusa was arrested by his friends after the shooting and handed over to officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) attached toOperation Burst, who later freed him.
However, his claim was challenged by, Yinka Fabunmi, another person who claimed to have witnessed the shooting. Fabunmi stated that he was the one that was arrested and not the bar owner.
“I have an office at Trans Amusement Park and I visit the bar regularly. The place became rowdy soon after the shooting. Olusa was with me inside the bar. He wanted to know what happened after we heard the shooting. Suddenly, Taiwo came in and grabbed him. He said the soldiers who were called to the scene had killed Kehinde.
“Then, Damola took a bottle and smashed in on my face. I was taken to a vehicle but managed to escape when the soldiers intervened. Olusa was never apprehended. I slept at J. Rapha Hospital at Bodija for treatment,” he said.
Taiwo’s version of events had it that Mr. Olusa shot his twin brother during a heated argument over alleged parking a wrong place.
“On Monday evening, my twin brother and I, as well as our younger brothers went to Pete’s Bar and Lounge at Trans Amusement Park, Samonda, Ibadan, to relax, as we have been doing since 2015. After arriving there, we asked one of our younger brothers to get us food from Hexagon at Samonda. After 10 minutes, one of our two brothers ran in to tell us that our other brother who drove the car was being beaten by officers of the Operation Burst alongside the owner of the bar," he claimed.
Taiwo added that he and his twin brother rushed out to find out what was happening. He claimed that they met Mr. Olusa in the company of Operation Burst’s operatives. Taiwo further claimed that he and his twin brother expressed their dismay with the alleged treatment meted out to their younger brother over improper parking of his car.
“My twin brother told the bar owner that he could have called us out of the bar where we came to spend our money for his business, to inform us of our brother’s wrongdoing instead of beating him.
“Probably they were irked by the way Kehinde spoke, the bar owner responded angrily, saying: ‘Am I the one you are addressing like that? Am I your age mate?’ He pulled the gun off the shoulder of one of the operatives and that was how a shot rang out and hit my brother," alleged Taiwo.
Immediately the operatives saw that Kehinde had been hit, added Taiwo, the soldier whose gun was used started firing shots into the air and ran into a nearby bush. He said he held on to Mr. Olusa and started saying he had killed his brother.
“We insisted on arresting the person who shot my brother. Meanwhile, my brother was already losing blood. We took him to three different hospitals, starting from the University College Hospital (UCH) to Police Hospital, Eleyele and Molly Hospital, Idi-Ape. He was later certified dead and the Divisional Crime Officer of Sango police station, where we reported the case, later accompanied us to Adeoyo General Hospital, Ring Road, where his dead body was deposited,” said Taiwo.
Another narrative, provided by a security guard at the facility, equally absolved Mr. Olusa and blamed the victim’s death on a stray bullet. The guard, Alade Samuel, said he was at the when the altercation over the parking space began. According to him, Damola, younger brother to the deceased, who had earlier parked his car at a particular spot at the parking lot, left the premises briefly. When he returned, he discovered that another customer had parked at the spot he vacated. Samuel said Damola ordered the new customer to move his car, but the man declined, arguing that it is a public place.
Damola, Samuel said, responded by blocking the customer’s car with his own. This led to a heated argument, which degenerated into a scuffle.
“It was their noise that attracted our boss (Mr.Olusa) and some other people came out to settle the dispute, but Damola was adamant. He insisted on beating the guy. While that was going on, the Operation Burst team came in and many people including, Mr. Olusa and his friends returned to their tables. The soldier asked Damola and the new customer to kneel down, but Damola refused and the soldier hit him on the head with the cane in his hand and he went down immediately. He asked one of the people around to call his brothers,” he said.
When his brothers came, he got up and started shouting at the soldiers. Taiwo and Damola, said Samuel, attempted to snatch the soldier’s gun. The soldier resisted the attempt and started shooting into the air to scare them away. The security guard said both brothers had once slapped a military man and it was Mr. Olusa that intervened to stop the matter from escalating. The guard said it was one of the stray bullets that hit the deceased. What followed, he added, was that about 20 men arrived with broken bottles and other weapons.
Since the incident, the facility has been shut. According to Mr. Yinka Fatoki, Executive Secretary, Oyo State Bureau of Investment Promotion and Public-Private Partnerships, in a statement, said the state government agrees with the decision of the management of the park to shut it down. The management had earlier served a three-month quit notice to Pete’s Bar & Lounge, effective January 12, 2018.
In a letter to the owner of Pete’s Bar, dated 17 November 2017, the management of Trans Wonderland accused the bar of selling and promoting the use of illicit drugs.