Ifedayo thought he had a good friend in Damilola with whom he grew together. So, he entrusted his all in him, but what he got back was the abrupt cessation of his life in the hands of his trusted friend. Oluwatoyin Malik writes the pathetic story of how a man killed his friend, took over his vehicle and registered it in his own name. The story is strange but not a fiction as many would want it to be. Curses spilled from the mouths of those who gathered at the headquaters of Oyo State Police Command on Tuesday, 5 October, 2010 when they heard the story behind the parade of 36-year-old Damilola Olusolade. Damilola publicly admitted to journalists and others who were listening that he killed his bosom friend, Ifedayo, while the two of them were returning from Lagos where they had gone to purchase a vehicle meant for Ifedayo. This is the narration of Damilola’s confession which he presented to Sunday Tribune.:
Damilola and Ifedayo had been childhood friends since they were toddlers. Indigenes of the same town, Owo, in Ondo State, the two friends attended the same primary and secondary schools until they went their different ways in 1999. Ten years later, in 2009, the two friends reunited again. Damilola, a graduate of Sociology from the University of Ilorin was a staff of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Ibadan where he worked in the administrative department while Ifedayo was a staff of PZ Nigeria Limited working in Ibadan. Some members of staff in both work places knew both to be close friends.
Ifedayo thought his friend was still the same Damilola he knew way back in Owo, unknown to him that his friend had become a deadly person and was carrying about a deceptive mien. Last year, Ifedayo needed a car and informed his friend of his plan. They first went to Oyo town to look for a good car but none of the ones they saw satisfied Ifedayo. They came back to Ibadan and on 1 December,2009, Ifedayo left for Lagos to search, again, for a vehicle. He saw one that he liked but could not withdraw money from a branch of his bank in Lagos that day due to network problem. He then decided to invite his friend, Damilola, to join him in Lagos so that he could give the vehicle a second look. Next day, on 2 December, Ifedayo left his office in Ibadan without telling anybody where he was going. He got to Lagos and joined his friend at Berger area where he was to purchase the vehicle.
Ifedayo pointed at the vehicle, asking his friend to assess it and also speak with the dealers. Unknown to Ifedayo, Damilola had concocted an evil plan in his mind. As he went with the dealers to inspect the vehicle, a white Mitsubishi Wagon car, he told them they must give him a certain amount of money if they wanted him to persuade his friend to purchase the vehicle from them. They agreed to give him N10,000. And as soon as Ifedayo paid the N650,000 sum of the vehicle, Damilola was given his share without the knowledge of his friend. Ifedayo still kept about N20,000 with which he meant to buy fuel and probably ‘settle’ on the way if necessary.
Their journey back to Ibadan began very late, almost 8p.m. Damilola was at the wheels and sped towards Ibadan. They got to a police checkpoint and instead of stopping when they were flagged down. Damilola sped past the police which prompted the law enforcement agents to hit the car with a baton. Having moved quite a distance from the police and almost getting to Ogere toll gate, Ifedayo reportedly asked Damilola to stop so that they could check the damage done to the vehicle by the baton. That eventually became his undoing. As he bent to examine the dent, Damilola suddenly grabbed his friend from behind and started strangulating him.
With shock written all over him. Ifedayo wrestled with his friend to free himself from him but he was no match for the desperate man who had determined that that night would be Ifedayo’s last on earth. Ifedayo grabbed Damilola’s shirt which tore in the process but his hands later dropped helplessly as life gradually ebbed out of him. The pressure on his windpipe did not ease and so his breath ceased.
Not yet done with the heinous act, Damilola dragged his friend’s still body into the bush beside where he parked and dumped it there. That was between 8.30p.m. and 9p.m.He thereafter jumped into the wagon and drove furiously at break-neck speed to Ibadan. His next move was that he took the vehicle to a licensing office and registered it in his own name. He started using the car and even ‘washed’ it for some of his colleagues who rejoiced with him that he bought a new car.
However, the blood of his friend did not let him rest as he had an accident with the car three weeks after the purchase, precisely on 25 December, and sustained minor injuries on the shoulder and legs.
Before then, the deceased’s mother had been trying to communicate with her son but the line was always unreachable. Worried by this, the elderly woman left her base in Owo and came to Ifedayo’s office in Ibadan on 3 December to know about his wellbeing and the reason he had been unreachable through phone. To her bewilderment, Ifedayo’s colleagues said they had not seen him since the Eid El Kabir holiday granted by the federal government a few days before then.
One of Ifedayo’s bosses reportedly suggested checking on Damilola in his office as he was the only known close friend of Ifedayo. When they got to Damilola, he told them blankly that he saw his friend last on 30 November and so didn’t know his whereabouts. It was then suggested that the case of missing person be reported at Iyaganku police station. Damilola was picked for interrogation by the police but he denied seeing his friend shortly before he got missing. The police also went to the couple in whose boy’s quarters Ifedayo was living but they had no clue to his whereabouts.
Not satisfied, Ifedayo’s mother decided to write a petition to the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr Baba Adisa Bolanta to help unravel the mystery surrounding her missing son. Acting on the petition, the Police Commissioner ordered that the case be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku for further investigation. Detectives at the SCID promptly swung into action. They got Ifedayo’s call log which indicated that there were several calls between Ifedayo and Damilola on 2 December. Not only that, Ifedayo’s number was used to make calls on 3 and 7 December, a time he had been declared missing. Curious about this, the police tried to find out the owner of the number called with Ifedayo’s number and discovered it was that of a car dealer based in Berger area of Lagos.
The detectives went to the dealer and showed him and his partner the picture of Ifedayo. They did not blink before saying that he was the man who came with his friend who works in FRCN to buy a vehicle from them. They also told the police that Damilola collected N10,000 from them for approving the purchase of the Wagon and also signed as a witness on the receipt.
The police at this point invited Damilola again to know whether he went with his friend to purchase a vehicle but he denied this. The dealers were then invited to Ibadan and the police carried out an identification parade whereby they mixed other people with Damilola several times, changing his clothes each time the parade was done but the dealers always picked him as the one who came to them with Ifedayo. Still, Damilola denied.
At that point, the detectives brought out the copy of the receipt on which he signed as a witness to the vehicle purchase and compared it with the signatures on all the statements he had been giving.
They were same. This was shown to the lawyer who came with him and the lawyer was dumbfounded. Damilola was shown the same thing and he confirmed they were his signatures. At that point, he closed his eyes and admitted going to Lagos with his friend.
According to a police source, “he adimitted this in the presence of the lawyer, his wife and Ifedayo’s people. When we enquired about his friend’s whereabouts, he told us he was abroad. We asked for his number but he told us that whenever Ifedayo called him, his phone always showed ‘Call 1’.
Again, we asked of the whereabouts of the vehicle purchased and he told us it was parked somewhere at Felele area of Ibadan where he Damilola was living. We went there, saw the vehicle jerked up with two tyres removed and the front bumper inside the vehicle. We towed the vehicle to the SCID and Damilola was detained.
“It was later that he called one of the investigating officers and told him that Ifedayo was dead but died in an accident on their way back to Lagos when they had a tyre burst. He added that he then pushed him into the bush and covered him. He confessed again that he actually strangulated his friend and dropped him in the bush before Ogere toll gate. He also admitted that he was the one who used Ifedayo’s sim card to call the dealers on 3 and 7 December to complain about the gear”.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune, Damilola who said he now had peace since he had confessed, stated that he did not know the spirit that came over him that made him kill his childhood friend. “My friend used to eat from my pot. If I had the intention of killing him, I could have poisoned him, which I did not do. Seven days after killing him, I went back to the spot where I dropped his corpse and saw his decomposing body with the cloth torn. Since then, I had not travelled to Lagos because I could not bring myself to pass through that place. It is also true I registered the vehicle in my name and got our town’s number for it. The number is Ondo AL 57 WWW.
“ Late August, a pastor in Akure invited me for a programme in his church and he just told me I needed deliverance. I thereafter confessed to him that I killed my friend and he advised me to go and confess to my friend’s family which I found difficult to do. I regret my action but I can’t really say what came over me. Why my friend? He was the breadwinner of the family. Now my family has deserted me. I have disappointed everyone of them. My mother and my wife were just weeping.
Well, whatever happens, I know that God is a merciful One and will still accept me even if I have to die”, Damilola stated regretfully.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Baba Adisa Bolanta during a press briefing said Damilola’s case would be charged to court soon.