Rahman Adedoyin, owner of Hilton Hotels and Resorts and Oduduwa University has tried to divert attention from the death of Timothy Oludare, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, by using propaganda against online media firm, SaharaReporters.
Adedoyin has threatened to sue SaharaReporters for publishing the accounts of family members of the deceased in the case.
In a statement issued by Fadare Damilola, his Director of Media and Publicity, Adedoyin tried to discredit a report done earlier by the online firm stating the accounts of two relations of the deceased.
The relations had said Timothy's corpse was found in a shallow grave on the premises of Hilton Hotels and Resorts.
Oludare was said to have frequented the town to take MBA examinations scheduled at intervals.
However, he was said to have been reported missing since he checked in at the hotel on Friday, November 5 preceding his examination scheduled for Saturday, November 6 and Sunday, November 7.
SaharaReporters learnt that it was noticed that Timothy was missing when his wife could not reach him on the phone.
Meanwhile, he had earlier contacted his wife to inform her that he was staying in a hotel.
Following a police investigation, money paid by Timothy for lodging was traced to Adesola, who works in the hotel.
One of the relations said Adedoyin threatened to arrest Timothy’s brother, Gbade after alleging that he constituted a nuisance to his hotel when the family was looking for him (Timothy) in the hotel.
The relation said it was the family who contacted the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, which led the police chief to call Osun State Commissioner of Police, Olawole Olokode, before the death of his cousin was uncovered.
“It was the confessional statement of the lady staff member in the hotel, Adesola Tobiloba that led to the arrest of five others. The lady confessed that Manager 4 — the Alfa (Islamic cleric) — was always around any time they wanted to perform that act of killing. That he was in charge of the (murder) act.
“When the Alfa came, he wanted to exonerate himself. He said he left Ife on the 5th (of November). Police asked him where he went and he said he left for Ejigbo. And the police were able to track Timothy's line to Ejigbo. It was Alfa’s confessional statement that led to where Timothy was buried.
“We noticed some kind of conspiracy on the part of the police. Alfa confessed that Timothy was not the first person they murdered this year. He was the fifth person. They were saying they knocked on the door and when it was not opened, they used the spare key to open it and found him dead. They now said they buried him. The police asked if they reported it, they said no.
“It was when we noticed the manner by which the police were carrying out the job that we began to talk to the media. They were trying to cover up,” the relation had said.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters had also added the account of the police.
Osun Police Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, in reaction to the family's statement that Timothy was the fifth person killed in the hotel, said, "Nobody told us that. We were told that the hotel was just bought not even up to two years ago. We were still in Ife yesterday carrying out investigation on the case till 1 am today. And from our findings, the hotel was just established not up to two years. So, how can people be dying like five or six persons within two years and people will still be going there?
"And for the people that are working there that know they are already in problem, that we have arrested; from their confession, they said people were carrying rumours. So one of the staff members there that has been working with them for long has not said nothing of such."
However, the businessman and his managers have issued a statement discrediting the report and alleging that a staff member of this medium was paid for the job.
The statement was titled, ”Sahara Reporters: No Evidence That Timothy Oludare lodged at Hilton Hotels”.
It reads, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication by an online media, Sahara Reporters. It is wrong to accuse us at Hilton Hotels. He did not disappear from Hilton Hotel as reported by Sahara Reporters: 'the disappearance of one Mr Adegoke Timothy Oludare'.
“We wish to register our disappointment that such a big and influential online media of Sahara Reporters status could descend so low to this level of irresponsible and uncalled-for sensational journalism as the news story itself is bereft of any form of professionalism.
“The report at its best reeks of yellow journalism which mischievously ignored facts and presented no legitimate, well researched news while using eye-catching headline for increased readership and patronage.
“We view the report as an attempt by the reporter, who may or may not be working for some individuals, to drag the good name and hard-earned reputation of His Eminence in the mud, and we seriously take objection to this.
”For example, it may interest the public to know that Dr. Adedoyin is a very busy person and is not personally involved in the day-to-day running of the hotel in question as his conglomerate includes, 5 tertiary institutions within and outside Nigeria, security outfit, publishing and hospitality business among others.
“It will equally interest the public to know that the hotel in question was undergoing massive renovation as at the time the man came to the hotel. Like many others, the said Timothty came to Hilton hotels and left as both light and water facilities were not functioning.
”The man deposited money into the personal account of the receptionist. He did not pay any money into Hilton Hotel’s official account; neither did he lodge in our hotel.
“We pray that the Police find the man so that the real truth can come out as against the misrepresentation by the reporter who in our view wrote the story to set Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife against Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu and tarnish the good image of His Royal Eminence, Dr. Abdulrahaman Adegoke Atobatele Adedoyin.
”Meanwhile, our legal department has been instructed to study the news report and advise on possible legal action against the media.”