Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Islamic Cleric's Death - Masquerade Vanishes

Abeokuta — THERE were strong indications yesterday, that the masquerade that allegedly shot dead an Islamic cleric, Lateef Amusa , in Ijaye area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital during Egungun festival had vanished into thin air.

State Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, told newsmen at the Command Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, that contrary to media report that the masquerade was part of those arrested, the Command did not have the masquerade, known as 'Leyin Aponle,' in its custody.

It would be recalled that Amusa was reportedly killed by a masquerade during Egungun festival, which led to the burning down of the masquerade's family house.

The Police Command had said it had arrested four suspects, including a masquerade over the death of Amusa .

However, while parading 16 suspects for various offences, the Commissioner said only three persons had been arrested.

He said: "As an African, no one can arrest Egungun, only human beings that commit offences that are arrested. We don't have masquerade in our custody. We have arrested human beings and they would be charged to court after investigation."

But, when Vanguard interviewed Ajani Olabimtan, one of the suspects paraded by the police for the alleged murder, he claimed the masquerade was a Lagos based bus conductor and had run away after the incident.

According to him, "the masquerade was my boy. I am a transporter in Lagos and I followed Kazeem to Abeokuta to celebrate the festival. He has run away.

In fact, I came to tell the police about the incident before I was arrested. It was not the masquerade that killed the man. It was done by some cultists who rammed into our procession."

"Meanwhile, the police paraded six alleged kidnappers, three armed robbers, five suspected murders and two burglars.

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