By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Last Easter Monday, 10 April, 2023, when Christians all over the world were celebrating Jesus Christ, an Uber driver, Tope Olorunfemi, was begging for his life in the Ijoka area of Akure, Ondo State, reports an Ogun State based national newspaper.
A bloodthirsty horde milled around him, hitting him with stones and sticks, as they accused him of being an Internet fraudster, aka Yahoo boy.
By his side was his mother, Mojisola, who appealed to the mob to let go of her son, who was only visiting the town because his wife and child were holidaying with her.
Instead of heeding the pleas, the mob made to burn her with her son.
Recalling the heart-rending incident in tears, the bereaved mother said, “By the time I got there, he was in a pool of blood; his face was on the ground. I called his name; he raised his head and looked at my face. I asked his siblings to help me carry him to a hospital; the people there said they would hit me with sticks. I was hit and they said I must not carry him.
“That was how someone from the crowd poured petrol on him and lit a cloth and threw it at him. I ran there and picked the cloth up and threw it away. Someone said they should hit me with sticks again; they said, ‘Who is this woman?’ I said he was my son and begged them to help me carry him.
“Someone threw the burning cloth at him again, but he took the cloth and threw it away himself because it was already burning him. As he threw the cloth away, there was one tall man, his name is Luku; Luku is a friend to Tope’s elder brother. Tope’s elder brother shouted at Luku that Tope was his younger brother, but Luku pushed him away; he carried a stick and hit Tope’s head in my presence.
“Another man, Jobe, also carried a stone and hit his face. I left there, crying, when I realised I was helpless. They said they saw a snake in his car. I said where was the snake, because I didn’t see any. They said they saw a piggy bank and children’s clothes; they were his wife’s and child’s clothes that he left in the car that they saw. He was not a Yahoo boy.”
The newspapers gathered that Tope’s Toyota Camry had earlier crushed two people to death and injured several others along Ijoka Road, which was under construction.
The newspaper gathered that the crowd, many of whom were commercial motorcyclists, also known as Okada riders, descended on the driver when they allegedly found some items in the vehicle, which they claimed were ingredients for money rituals.
This made them believe that the 35-year-old was involved in Internet fraud, aka Yahoo Yahoo.
Angered by what they allegedly saw, the people, who were supposed to be sympathisers and rescuers, turned to a mob and beat the driver to death before burning his vehicle.
Efforts by men of the state police command to save the victim failed, as he had passed away.
The police were reported to have got late to the scene.
Though the police claimed to have deployed men in the area to fish out the perpetrators, the incident generated a controversy.
A resident, who identified himself simply as Segun, insisted that the deceased was a fraudster.
He said, “We found three live tortoises in his car and one small coffin, a local sponge and soap and a duvet and a lady’s pants; all these were what we brought from his car.”
Many, however, believed that the purported fetish items found in the car were not enough reason to tag Tope as an Internet fraudster.
Tope’s mother, Mojisola, and his wife, Mosunmola, appealed to security agents to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.