Vanguard (Lagos)

3 February 2014

Nigeria: Shot Newswatch Editor Dies - ... NUJ, Lagos Govt, NGE, Newswatch React

Lagos — The Deputy Editor of Daily Newswatch newspaper, Mr. Toyin Obadina, who was shot early morning Saturday by unknown gunmen, has died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja.

Police sources said Mr. Obadina, 50, was driving a Toyota Yaris car with number plate AKD 701 CE when he was attacked along Ijebu-Ode road by Hypo/Lucky Fibre junction by five armed hoodlums who operated in an SUV whose make and number could not be ascertained.

The source said the hoodlums stole N20,000 from the victim and shot him on his stomach before fleeing from the scene.

It was gathered that widow, who was contacted at their Tunde Odewole Crescent, Adamo in Ikorodu, together with other sympathizers rushed the victim to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja where doctors commenced immediate treatment.

However, the story took another dimension early morning Sunday when news filtered in that the victim had died from the gunshot wound.

Elder brother of the victim, Oluwole Obadina, who spoke with Vanguard said the widow told him that her husband went to the office on Friday and after the close of work, he left for home with two of his colleagues.

He reportedly dropped one of them at Agric bus stop in Ikorodu and the other person somewhere else.

According to her, "just a few metres to his house, two SUV cars double-crossed him and shot at him. The OPC men that were there told us that if they were thieves, his mobile phone would have been stolen.

"They immediately took him to Ikorodu Hospital from where he was transferred to Gbagada General Hospital and later to LASUTH, Ikeja. He was shot at the abdomen and the lower part was shattered. He was kept at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, where he was being attended to but by 2am the next day, his condition changed and by 3am, he died. The doctors tried their best because they had to remove the bullets from his abdomen."

The deceased's brother further said that the widow and her three children had been taken to one of their brothers' house at Alagbole in Iju area.

Contacted on phone, the widow, Biola Obadina, told Vanguard that it was an armed robbery attack. According to her, "it happened around Imota area of Ikorodu. He was coming back from work around 11.30 p.m because it was their production day. He was shot and they collected some money from him.

"He was to travel the next day, so, he went to the bank to collect some money and it was stolen from him. I don't know the exact amount that was stolen from him.

"I feel so bad over his sudden death. He went to work and was shot on his way back home. Our first son is just 12 years, second one is nine while the last is five years old.

"We are yet to tell the senior ones who are in boarding houses about the death of their father."

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, who confirmed the development, told Vanguard that the Police at Sagamu Road division received information about the incident around 5.30 am, Saturday, and the Divisional Police Officer mobilised his men to the scene.

She said the Police team later visited the victim at LASUTH where he was receiving treatment in a stable condition only for information to filter in that he died the next day.

She said the police had recovered the victim's car, and that detectives are combing all nooks and crannies of Ikorodu and its environs for possible arrest of the fleeing hoodlums.

NUJ condemns killing

Meanwhile, the National Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and Lagos State council of the union have, in separate statements, condemned the gruesome murder of Obadina.

In a statement by its National Secretary, Comrade Shuaib Usman Leman, the NUJ said the shooting of Obadina by robbers, leading to his death, "was another sad reminder of the vulnerability of media professionals and this further heightens our concern for the safety of journalists.

"While the NUJ condemns the continued killing of journalists in the country, it is no doubt that Obadina and many other journalists died because the Nigerian system over the years had failed to protect its citizens.

"The death has, yet again, deprived the media of one of its illustrious journalists and it is very important to call on the Federal Government to take measures for effective protection of journalists because journalists, as the conscience of the nation, cannot be subjected to constant fear and intimidation by such impunity.

"While we condole with the media family, we pray to God to grant the deceased eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss."

Lagos NUJ tasks LASG

Also, the Chairman of Lagos NUJ, Deji Elumoye, tasked the state government to live up to expectations, wondering what is happening to the billions of naira that has been saved into the state Security Trust Fund.

While appreciating the Babatunde Fashola regime for his steadfastness against crime, Elumoye said there was need to do more in terms of security of lives and property.

He said: "It seems they have gone to sleep, criminals have gradually found their way back into the state. And I wonder what they are doing with billions of naira put in the Security Trust Fund."

He also commiserated with Newswatch and Obadina's family, while praying for the repose of the soul of the dead.

Newswatch reacts

In his reaction, the Editor, Saturday Newswatch, Mr. Pat Asonye, lamented that they have lost a perfect gentleman, a competent, committed and professional journalist to the core who cannot hurt a fly.

He said: "I find it very difficult to speak about him in the past tense. That Friday, he worked till about 11pm, I was in a hurry to go and I left him behind to tidy up our stories. I then went home and around 4 a.m, I got a phone call but before I could pick, the call went off. I did not know who was calling. Much later, the phone rang again and it was now our Managing Director who called to say that Toyin was shot.

"Immediately, I got information that he was taken to the general hospital and I went there and by the time I got there, I met some of the other friends and colleagues. By then, he had been wheeled into the theatre for surgery. We were hopeful that he will make it only to hear that he gave up the ghost this morning."

NGE asks Lagos CP to track down killers

The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, while reacting to the incident urged the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State to track down the killers without delay.

In a statement signed by its President, Femi Adesina, the NGE described Obadina's death as "sickening," stating that "all men of the fraternity of the pen are revolted that a man returning home from his legitimate duty is waylaid, robbed and then shot twice in the stomach, leading to his death."

It further condemned the proliferation of small arms almost throughout the length and breath of the country and called on the relevant authorities to rise to the occasion.

Lagos laments state of insecurity

In the same vein, Lagos State government described the death of Obadina as "painful."

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba, who spoke to Vanguard lamented over the state of insecurity in the country, saying "the central government isn't providing adequate security for the citizens of the country."

According to him, "it is unfortunate that Toyin died in his fatherland where he is expected to get adequate security. It is painful that a young man whom the country has a lot to gain from died untimely. It speaks the fact that the there is need for the Federal Government to increase the funds allocated to the security apparatus in the country."

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