Unemployed and desperate, 24-year-old Taiwo Bamidele saw an opportunity as soon as he met his Lagos-based friend, Akinkunmi Odetunde, during a wedding ceremony in Akure, Ondo State on Saturday, May 9, 2015. If he had anything on his mind at the time, it would have been the hope that his life might change for the better once he reached Lagos.
Odetunde, who works in Lagos as a tricycle operator told Saturday PUNCH that when Bamidele saw him, he immediately asked to follow him to Lagos in search of greener pastures.
“I did not see anything wrong in him wanting to follow me to Lagos when I went to attend the wedding event. So, when I was leaving the following day, we left together and we have both been living at my sister’s apartment at Mile 2 Estate, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos,”Odetunde said.
According to 30-year-old Odetunde, apart from his sister and her husband, another friend of his, a Delta State indigene, Francis Jacob, also lives in the same apartment.
But on Friday, May 15, a breakfast of semovita and okra soup would bring on the household a calamity which has so far defied explanation.
Odetunde, who is being held at the homicide unit of the Department of Criminal Investigations, Yaba, Lagos, along with his friend, Jacob, said the food was cooked by his sister.
He said, “We all ate the same food that morning including my sister and her husband. But by afternoon, Taiwo (Bamidele) started to complain of fever.
“He said the fever meant it was likely that he had developed malaria. So, I went to buy him malaria drug but as soon as he swallowed the drug, he vomited it.
He told me that he would prefer concoction, so I bought him concoction around 4pm which he took but did not vomit.”[quote]Odetunde said he had thought that as soon as his friend slept off, the fever would disappear and he would soon be fine. By midnight, he knew he was wrong and that something more serious than just fever was happening to Bamidele.[/b]
He said around 12 am that night, he was suddenly roused from sleep by the sound of laughter.
Odetunde said, “I wondered who was suddenly laughing in the middle of the night. I woke up and realised that my friend was the one laughing. He sat up on the bed around 12 midnight and started to laugh.
“I asked why he was laughing. But the laughter only intensified. It got to a point that everybody had woken up in the house and we agreed that it was necessary that we restrained him because he had started becoming aggressive as he laughed.
“The more we restrained him, the more he became aggressive and at a point all of us in the house could not restrain him again.
“He escaped from our grips and forced the door open that night. He laughed as he ran outside while we tried to catch him without success.
“As he ran outside, he fell and knocked his head on a wall, fell down and stood up again and ran off.”
Odetunde said throughout that night, they looked everywhere for Bamidele but could not find him until 3am on Saturday when they approached a vigilante group that had captured him.
The vigilante group, according to him were about to start whipping him when they got there.
He said, “We had to beg them not to flog him. They soon realised that something was wrong with him too as a result of the abnormal way he was acting.
“They told me that he was becoming mentally unstable and that I should look for a rope so that they could restrain him. They said if we left him, he could run into a speeding vehicle or even jump into a canal that is close to our area. When I got the rope, we tied his leg and hands.
“I knew many of his family members so I started calling some of them on the phone. The only person I got through to was his father, who promised that very early the following morning, he would come. But unfortunately before he came, Taiwo (Bamidele) died.”
When asked what could have happened to bring about the sudden change in Bamidele before he died, Odetunde insisted that nothing sinister was done to him to make him develop such a sudden mental illness.
He said within the six years he knew the deceased, he had no sign of mental illness and neither did he drink or smoke.
“How could I do anything bad to a friend who is like family to me? Immediately he died, I was even the one who reported the incident at the police station where I was detained,” Odetunde said.
Odetunde’s sister and her husband are said to be on the run at the moment.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that Bamidele’s family have insisted that they do not want any police prosecution but the police at the FESTAC division transferred the case to the DCI, Yaba for further investigation.
Bamidele’s father who was also summoned to the DCI said he had nothing to say, adding that “everything is in the hands of God. God knows best.”
He did not volunteer any other information on his late son and whether Bamidele had any problem that pointed to mental disorder in any form.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Kenneth Nwosu, who confirmed the story, said the suspects were only being held pending when investigations would be concluded.
He said action would be taken depending on the outcome of police investigation.