By: Banjo Damilola
A Terror in a Town: #EndSARS protesters in the popular Lagos State slum of Ajegunle were murdered and maimed, it was only a reflection of an existing order of bullying through bullets, epitomized by a cruel character in the community.
When this reporter first met James Yaya, he was bed-ridden. He had been shot in his upper thigh by one of Kaka’s men. Yaya later died at home because of lack of adequate medical care.
His aged father could not afford the hospital bill. So he was taken to a traditional medicine centre where the bullet was removed. He died months later on the only bed in the one room apartment he shared with his family.
Yaya was another victim of the Ajegunle #EndSARS protest shootings.
Before his death, Yaya spoke with this reporter. He remembered sitting outside his home when protesters ran towards his street, searching for cover as Kaka and his men closed in on them.
“It was Kaka and his boys who shot me,” Yaya says assuredly. ¨I saw them.¨
¨When I saw them approaching,” he continues. ¨I wanted to run inside, but the man who was beside Kaka pointed the gun at me and shot me. Kaka had a gun with him too.”
Yaya’s narration was not strange. There is a video – exclusively obtained by this reporter – of Kaka wielding a gun and shooting in broad daylight.
In the video, Kaka is seen shooting pointedly multiple times. He is in the company of an unidentified man. It is not clear from the video the type of firearm Kaka has with him, because the gun is strategically wrapped up in a sack. But, the unidentified man with him holds a Muzzleloader. Indeed, gunshot wounds seen on victims show they were hit by lead balls, a bead-like bullet used by muzzleloaders. The bullet patch on Abraka was a circle, large enough to fit a sizable bead.
Open source verification of the video pinned the location at Oyegunle street, in Ajegunle. There are similar features seen in the video that are present on Google Earth.
The video, without its audio, was also shown to multiple residents in the area, and everyone of them seems to identify the man doing the shooting as Kaka.
“Ha! That’s Kaka,” exclaims one of the residents. “That was how they were shooting during EndSARS.”
In the video itself, voices from where it was discreetly recorded call out Kaka’s name, suggesting he is the one shooting.
“Na kaka,” says a male voice in pidgin English.
All fingers point to Kaka
Relatives of those killed during the October protest are convinced that it was Kaka who killed their loved ones. Many of them did not blame the police, they were more enraged by the enormous power of an ordinary citizen – like them – to kill without sanction.
Blessing Godwin is a resident in Ajegunle. Her brother, Celestine Godwin, was killed during the protests. She accused Kaka of murdering her brother.
The young mother is furious, unable to sit down for a structured interview. She believes, without doubt, that her brother was killed by Kaka.
“The only thing that will mean justice is for Kaka to also die, just as he killed my brother,” Blessing cries.
A police source familiar with the operations of Kaka within the police ranks in the neighbourhood confirmed that Kaka led the assault on peaceful protesters on Tuesday, October 20.
A youth leader at Ajegunle and close ally of Kaka, Michael Ojobaro, confirmed that Kaka was at the scene of the violence with other police personnel. The day this reporter had the interview with the council chairman, Ojobaro was at the office.
“He (Kaka) only went to give the police backup,” says Ojobaro. “He could not go to secure the secretariat because the chairman (Ayoola) does not want a repeat of what happened in 2018. That was why the chairman did not call the OPC for backup.”
What happened in 2018?
In 2018, a report by the Punch Newspaper indicted Kaka for the murder of one Jessie Onaniba. It was the first time the media explicitly blamed him in the wake of many atrocious activities attributed to him. The Onaniba family also openly named Kaka as the killer of their kinsman.
The deceased´s elder brother, Chukwunedu, told the newspaper, “people are afraid of giving me the real name of Kaka, who killed my brother, because they fear him”.
On the night of July 24, 2018, Jessie Onaniba, a security man, was at his duty post when Kaka and his men allegedly attacked Okoya Street, where he was a security guard. The men attacked Jessie, killed him and mutilated his corpse.
“They cut Jessie hand and im leg,” one of Jessie’s friends, who does not want to be named for fear of being attacked, tells this reporter in pidgin. “Na so Kaka people dey do people wey dem kill. Dem go cut their hands and legs.
This, however, is not that 2018 incident Ojobaro was referring to.
What he was referring to was an odious event that took place the day the council chair Fatai Ayoola won his party’s primary election. Ayoola is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Kaka and his men allegedly killed two people during the debacle, which happened inside the Ajeromi Ifelodun secretariat.
What happened in the aftermath of those killings reaffirmed Kaka´s profile as a highly connected power player. The case got buried, never reaching court, and, according to a source familiar with the matter, the victims’ families were bribed to keep quiet.
In Ajegunle, Kaka is widely regarded as a high-level thug who executes criminal activities for local politicians. His notoriety grew steadily as he enjoyed favours and gained access into the workings of the grassroot government.
The name Kaka induces fear. Few residents dare to mention it boldly. They whisper or use euphemisms. In the council secretariat, people call him ‘Alhaji’ – never mentioning his name.
His official name, Kazeem Morufu, is only known by few, who would rather keep it off their lips. Many of the residents said his reputation as a ruthless rogue earned him close ties to the council chair and the wealthy businessman, Ndokwa.
Kaka is also one of the leaders of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), a Yoruba nationalist movement with a vibrant local vigilante network. The group, rumoured to have mystical powers, act as local security providers in some communities in southwest Nigeria, and are feared by local thieves and miscreants.
However, the group is not licensed to carry guns.
The notoriety of the OPC also adds to the arrogance of Kaka. He commits horrendous human rights violations and escapes unscathed. He allegedly kills so confidently that he has time to mark his victims with an insignia. Multiple sources interviewed by this reporter say Kaka cuts off the legs and hands of those he kills – just as he allegedly did to Jessie Onaniba.
As a result of his proximity to power, Kaka enjoys immunity that allows him to operate with impunity.
¨He is the MC Oluomo of Ajegunle,” says another source, who does not want to be named for fear of being targeted. (Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, is the chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers – NURTW).
On December 23, 2020, this reporter saw Kaka waltz in and out of the chairman’s office, an act that further confirms his closeness to the council chair. He strode arrogantly past a queue of visitors waiting to see the chairman, and straight into the office.
On another occasion, an officer of the Nigerian Civil Defense corps, who works for the chairman, sprang up from his seat to salute Kaka as he walked into the chairman’s office, while ignoring everyone at the reception.
Reading the Rubble
Victims, as well as a police source, confirm that Kaka and his men have guns. The video examined by this reporter also corroborates the fact that he is in possession of at least one lethal weapon.
Razak Oluwa, a man whose brother was allegedly killed and dumped in a canal, was shot by Dugbe, one of Kaka’s boys.
Razak’s deceased elder brother, 34-year-old Asumo Oluwa, was shot on the dawn of Tuesday, October 20.
Razak believes it was Kaka and his men who killed his brother.
Asumo, on the night before his murder, had left his mother at about 9pm for his home, where he lived with his wife and three-year-old daughter.
As it turned out, instead of making it home alive, Asumo made it into a canal, dead.
Razak recalls the hostility of Kaka and his boys when he (Razak), in the company of some other aggrieved men from the community, confronted Kaka about the killing of his brother.
They wanted answers to why Asumo was killed but instead they were fed with bullets.
“I could have died,” Razak says. “One of my other friends who went with me died when they shot at us.”
Razak has bullet wounds in his arms and thighs – the type of wounds seen on Abraka, the 19-year-old boy that was shot during the protest in Ajegunle.
Asumo´s bereaved mother is inconsolable – the last time she saw her son was the night of October 20. Mothers, per Yoruba tradition, are not allowed to know where their child is buried.
The mother, as well as her maimed son Razak, say council chair Ayoola, Kaka´s alleged boss, paid them a condolence visit.
“He visited us because the Oluwa family is popular,” says Razak.
Counting the losses
The attacks on unarmed protesters and residents by Kaka-led thugs in Ajegunle emboldened miscreants in the community.
The miscreants, according to eyewitnesses, took advantage of the existing chaos created by Kaka and the police. They vandalized police stations and the government secretariat. While Kaka and the police were shooting at protesters, the miscreants were wreaking havoc at the council secretariat and other areas not guarded by police.
They razed the council building, along with the vehicles parked in the premises. They also looted Ajeromi Ifelodun primary school.
The police chief in Lagos said at least two police vans were destroyed during the violence. Council officials claim 76 vehicles were burnt. The headmaster of the community primary school said all the fans and computers in the school were carted away.
Yet these material losses, as sad as they seem, cannot outweigh the human casualties, which so far have received no official confirmation. There is no official count of the people killed (or injured) during the protests in Ajegunle.
The council chair admits that peaceful protesters were killed, but discards the casualties, saying “a number of policemen also lost their lives too”.
Lagos State Governor Sanwo-Olu took stock of damaged state property, while families of the dead and injured are yet to be consoled.
Ajegunle residents seem to have given up hope of getting justice for their deceased loved ones. And more despairingly, they do not believe Kaka would ever be held accountable for any of his alleged atrocities.
This is the second part in a series that documents atrocities committed against peaceful #EndSARS protesters, and how a high-ranking political thug terrorises a poor and defenseless community. The concluding part is an obituary of residents killed at Ajegunle.