It was one of the most gruesome ways to die. It was the height of man’s inhumanity to man. For residents of Atiba in Leguru Local Council Development Area of Ogun State, the unimaginable had happened. On Tuesday, news filtered in that the founder of Mujeeb Dawah Fadilat, Sheikh Yussuf Ahmod Abdulsalam, his wife and four children were murdered by unknown assailants. Yinka Olukoya reports.
The Islamic cleric, popularly known as Tanimola, was the third born of a prominent Muslim cleric and scholar in Ijebuland, Sheikh Abdulsalam Olalekan, the Kahlifa for Ipamuren Muslim Community, Ijebu-Ode.
According to the information gathered from residents of the community, the yet-to-be identified assailants who came in the dead of the night shattered the peace of the community. They were said to have smashed the head of the Muslim cleric with a grinding stone while the other members of his family, including an 18-month-old, were hacked to death. All the victims were said to have been buried amid tears on the same day according to Islamic injunctions at Modupe Oluwa House, Surulere Street, Atiba.
The assailants were said to have scaled the fence to gain access to the cleric’s house before unleashing the terror that would for a very long time send jitters down the spine of the residents of the town and its environs.
In an interview with Tribune Online, one of the neighbours to the deceased who identified himself as Oyeniyi Babalola, expressed shock over the incident. According to him, he had never been disorganised, disturbed and sad beyond expression in his over 50 years of existence.
“My wife is a food seller and the children of the deceased usually bought food from her every morning before going to school. But we just discovered that at around 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, they were not seen, so we were a bit worried because that was very unusual of them. I therefore moved towards their gate and banged it several times but there was no response. It was at this juncture that we started making contact with some of their relatives to notify them of the development and by the time we gained entry into the building, the family of six was in a pool of blood. We thought they were all dead. While the rest of them had died, the wife was still gasping for breath. Unfortunately, we lost her too while being rushed to the hospital.”
Oyeniyi and other residents of the town who pleaded for anonymity described the Muslim cleric as very humble, gentle and a very popular resident that got well along with other members of the community. They, however, wondered what could have warranted the brutal killing of the cleric and his entire household.
Oyeniyi, however, called on security agents in the state to beef up security in the area as many residents had begun moving out in droves owing to the palpable fear.
Also speaking, Sheikh Ahmed Abiodun, personal assistant to the father of the cleric, maintained that the family was still in pain and finding it difficult to cope with the incident.
He described the late Sheikh as his childhood friend who could not hurt a fly, adding that only security agents could unravel the mystery behind the condemnable crime.
He added that the father of the deceased had since taken the news calmly while accepting it as one of the unquestionable acts of God. Sheikh Abiodun, on behalf of the bereaved family, extended their appreciation to the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and the Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, who have both visited the family and assured them that the perpetrators of the crime would soon be brought to justice.
For Ganiyat Yusuf, another resident, the Islamic cleric was a very generous man. “He never offended anybody. He greeted people. And if you needed any help and you went to him, he would assist you. That’s what I know.”
Another associate of the family, Alhaji Muhammadu Taoheed Ajibelohun, said, “On Sunday morning, I interacted with the deceased. He was my friend; we studied the Quran together. In fact, we belonged to the same set at the madrasah. I was just called that he, his wife and children had been hacked to death. We first thought the piece of information was false. But when we got there, we found that alfa and his family had been killed. We are still mourning. The police should expose those behind this. We pray the persons behind this crime should experience serious discomfort and have his secrets exposed.”