Nigeria’s Foremost Publisher, Akinosho Flees Nigeria, As Driver Narrates Near Death Experience

Nigeria’s most respected oil and
gas journalist, Mr Toyin Akinosho has fled the country after the March 20th
assassination attempt on his life.
Akinosho who started the magazine
after working for several years in Chevron with the aim of enabling the general
public and industry watchers get a clearer view and understanding of the practice
in the oil and gas industry fled following threats to his life, supposedly on
account of scathing revelations about the corruption in the industry published
by his magazine.
Akinosho’s driver was accosted on
March 20th by unknown gunmen but denied knowing his boss. Though Mr
Akinosho’s whereabouts is unknown, below is what his driver told newsmen about
his near death experience on March 20th.

“As I came out from our street to
enter the main road, I saw a white Hilux (mini truck) following me,” Yinusa,
Mr. Akinosho’s driver, said. “I wanted to branch into another road but because
they were still following me, I decided to go straight. But they still followed
me. At 41 Road, there is a junction that you can branch from, to Ikoyi or to
the (exit) gate.
“It was at that spot that they
blocked me with their car and stopped me. They came down and were asking me
‘Where is Toyin Akinosho?’ and I told them that I don’t know who Toyin Akinosho
is; that I have never heard that name in my life before. I also told them that
(the) publisher’s car is my personal car and that the name Toyin Akinosho does
not ring a bell. It was at that point that they returned into their vehicle and
drove off.”
He continued, “They entered their
car and I kept moving because I thought it would be unwise for me to go back
home right away. As they moved, they were moving slowly and then later turned
to the roundabout that leads to Ikoyi; but I went straight to gate. But as I
looked into my side mirror, I saw that they were still following me and I
thought to myself that if I went home, they might still trace me to the house
to know where we were staying. So, I went straight and bent towards Four Points
(By Sheraton Lagos hotel) area. The car has an e-tag (pre-paid toll
identification) so I just passed the toll gate but it was like they paid and
were delayed a bit. But the traffic light stopped me; it wasn’t up to one
minute that I was at the traffic light that I saw that they were coming but
then, the light passed me so I drove off. I passed in front of Four Points and
followed Ajose Adeogun Street. On that street, there is a club that Oga goes
to. It was there that they caught up with me and rammed my car by the side and
I ran into a culvert and the bumper was damaged.”
What happened next?
“Then, one of them came out of the
car and slapped me on my face and said, ‘We are asking you for the last time,
where is Toyin Akinosho?’ I told him that I don’t know the person who bears
that name. On hearing that, another one said to me: ‘I can waste you o’ but I
told him that if he wanted to kill me, he should do so, but I insisted I
neither knew Akinosho nor ever heard of his name. Then they left me there and
entered their vehicle and left. People that were around there started coming
out to assist me drag the car off the culvert.”
Mr. Yinusa, who decided to sleep
in the car, apparently to prevent being traced to his boss’ house, after he had
encountered the suspected assassins for the second time on Ajose Adeogun
Street, added:
“As I was sleeping in the car,
around 2am, they came to meet me and used the edge (barrel) of a gun to wake me
up. They then collected my phone and the N7,000 that I had on me and left
saying that since I did not want to say the truth, they would go with those.”
The driver added, “It was like
they went to check the (Contacts on my phone) whether they would see Oga’s name
on my phone but I saved Oga’s number with the name ‘MAE’”
Asked what ‘MAE’ means, Yinusa
said “Nothing,” adding, “I just saved it as such because to spell his name,
Toyin Akinosho Alfred, is difficult for me.”
The suspected assassins returned
around 5a.m. to return Mumuni’s phone.

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