Around 4:30 A.M on Saturday, 10th of July, 1999, there was a violent attack at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State.Reports say the attack was perpetrated by 40 masked members of the Black Axe Confraternity who wore black trousers, black T-shirts and face masks.
Around 4:30 A.M on Saturday, 10th of July, 1999, there was a violent attack at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Reports say the attack was perpetrated by 40 masked members of the Black Axe Confraternity who wore black trousers, black T-shirts and face masks.
Five OAU students, including one George Iwilade (Afrika), the Secretary-General of the Students’ Union, were killed with shotguns and hatchets while eleven others were injured.
The attack led to students’ action, especially against the then Vice Chancellor Wole Omole and the eventual arrest of three suspected believed to have participated in the attack; Aisekhaghe Aikhile, a Part I student of Agricultural Economics, Emeka Ojuagu, and Frank Idahosa (Efosa).
Unfortunately, after almost four years of trying to get the supposed perpetrators punished, all the accused persons were released.
What follows below is the detailed Wikipedia account :
HOW IT HAPPENED
An account of what led to the massacre is given by Prof. Roger Makanjuola’s book Water Must Flow Uphill (Adventures in University Administration). Makanjuola, following the massacre, became vice chairman of the university and took an active role in both investigating and punishing those from the university involved in the murders.
Makanjuola writes about an initial incident and its aftermath that occurred in the weeks before the murders: “On Saturday, 7 March 1999, a group of Black Axe members held a meeting in Ife town. After the meeting, they drove back to the campus. On the main road, Road 1, leading into the campus, they were overtaken by some students in another car. For whatever reason, they were enraged and gave chase to the students. The students, seeing them in pursuit, raced hastily to the car park outside Angola Hall and ran into the adjacent Awolowo Hall for safety. The Students’ Union, which had also received information that secret cult members were gathering in a house in the senior staff quarters, mobilised in response to the incident. Led by George Iwilade, the Secretary-General, a group of them drove to the house, officially occupied by Mr. F.M. Mekoma, and forced their way into the boys’ quarters. They found nine individuals inside, eight of them students of the University, with a submachine gun, a locally manufactured gun, an axe, a bayonet and the black clothing and regalia of the Black Axe cult. The University authorities were informed, and the members of the secret cult were handed over to the Police. They were held in police custody and taken to the Chief Magistrate’s Court where two weeks later they were granted bail.”
Makanjuola documents and raises concerns over the way the matter was handled by both the police and court system who broke from protocol, common sense and destroyed evidence and how this led to the failure to be able to prosecute the Black Axe members involved in the incident. Prof. Roger Makanjuola writes: “The case was heard on 31 March, and to the utmost amazement of everyone, the Chief Magistrate discharged and acquitted the arrested individuals. The students who had apprehended the cult members were not called as witnesses. The investigating police officer, Corporal Femi Adewoye, claimed that the witnesses could not be located and actually stated in Court, “I tried to contact the complainants in this case, all to no avail. To date, there is no complainant in the case. Since all the accused persons denied the allegations against them and there is no complainant, there is no way the allegations can be proved.” This was the submission of the prosecuting police officer! Usually, in such cases, witness’ summons were served through the University Administration but this did not happen. The trial was concluded in two court appearances in eight days.
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