Category: News & Events
By ANGELA ANYANWU
The continuing escalation of violence in the northern parts of the country, which has turned once-lively cities and towns into killing fields, particular in the states of Plateau, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno, has plunged many families into tears and misery. Nowadays, bloodcurdling tales of woes, of how children are turned into orphans and spouses thrusted into early widowhood reverberate across the nation. Such is the tear-jerking story of the Babatunde family.
In their own case, death came fast and furiously in the most brutal manner on June 28, by 5 00 p.m. when the head of the family, popularly known as Tunde Babs was ruthlessly killed in cold blood right in front of his wife and children by members of the outlawed Islamic group, Boko Haram. The tragedy happened in Sabon Pegi, in Damaturu, Yobe State capital.
The late Babatunde, a native of Sagamu, Ogun State, was until his death, a business man who owned a computer school. He was also doing a part-time degree programme in Yobe State University. He had lived in Yobe for eight years where he got married to Gift, his Delta State-born wife, in 2007.
On that fateful day, the family did not have any premonition about the impending doom.
The deceased not knowing that death was lurking around the corner, left his house to check on friends that lived nearby, in order to inform them about his plans to relocate permanently out of Yobe State and met death halfway.
Theophilus Okega, brother of the wife (and an in-law to the deceased) gave an insight to the gruesome end of the father of three. He said: “He had concluded plans to move with his wife and his children to Lagos by the end of June because he was tired of the killings in the north. He even asked me to find a good school for his kids to attend when they arrive in Lagos. He called me in the morning of that day to hear the outcome of my findings about the school for his kids. But by evening I got the shocking news that he had been murdered.”
On that day, the curfew kept everyone indoor until 4 00p.m. When the curfew was lifted, Babs decided to go to check on friends and bid them good bye considering the fact that he’d be leaving the north for good five days later. When he got to the market area he ran into trouble. While he wasn’t the only one around the market, he was the obvious target of members of the outlawed sect, who chased him with gun and knife. He took to his heels but they came after him in hot pursuit all the way through the streets to his house. In a bid to save his family, he decided not to run into his room but rather dashed to the backyard where the gunmen shot him and waited for him to bleed to death while his wife and younger sister, shivering behind the kitchen door, watched the horrible scene through the window. Even after the murderers had left, neighbours were afraid to come outside therefore his corpse stayed in the backyard till about 10 p.m. in the night.
The question on the lips of all who hear the tragic story has been whether the late Babatunde had offended anyone who might have decided to get even with him by exploiting the insecurity situation in the area to have him brutally murdered.
Okega gave further insights. “Due to the rampages of Boko Haram, neighbors residing around his house had been parking out of the neighborhood. But he was waiting for the end of June when he could move his family to Lagos. The curfew slowed his arrangement. His family was the only Christians left around that area. Apart from that I didn’t see any reason for him to be killed that way.”
The late Babatunde, whose corpse has been buried last week, left behind three children – David, 4, Feranmi, 2 and three-month-old Moyo. At the moment, his family lives with the deceased’s mother-in-law at Fadeyi, along Ikorodu express way, Lagos.