VIOLENCE and infamy took another turn in the country last week when a young medical doctor moonlighting as an Uber driver, Dr. Morenikeji Stephen Oluwaniyi, was strangled by the ‘passengers’ in his vehicle. The tragic event took place penultimate Sunday evening while the deceased was conveying the supposed passengers to their apparently fictitious destination. Media reports revealed that a member of the four-man gang of killers identified simply as Ahmed had booked Dr. Oluwaniyi’s services on the fateful day. Keeping to their dastardly plot, the other three members of the gang joined the vehicle later, before eventually strangulating the hapless driver and dumping his corpse on the bridge at Abule Egba.
According to the Lagos State police command, the suspects requested the service of the Uber driver online, lured him to the Meiran area of the state, and strangled him to death. The command gave this information in a statement released by its spokesperson, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu. Ajisebutu said the suspects were arrested by detectives attached to the Meiran Police Division in the state. He said: “The suspects, after the dastardly act, dumped his body on the Abule Egba bridge along the Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway and made away with his Toyota Corolla Saloon car with Reg. No. KSF 830 GX. Following a report by the victim’s fiancée at the Police Division on 6th September, 2021, detectives immediately put in motion, investigation mechanisms which led to the arrest of the suspects in their criminal hideouts, and the recovery of the stolen car.” Ajisebutu added that the state police commissioner, Hakeem Odumosu, was saddened by the incident and had since directed that the case be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation and prosecution. The CP commiserated with the victim’s family and assured that no stone would be left unturned in prosecuting the case.
To be sure, the entire narrative speaks volumes about the social contradictions in the Nigerian society. It cannot but be troubling that a trained medical doctor had to resort to Uber driving to make ends meet. The social circumstances that necessitated such a course of action by a 27-year-old are difficult to justify. It is really unfortunate that human life in the country has become so cheap and expendable that some disoriented lowlifes could choose to waste it on impulse. Of course they did so without conscious contemplation of the consequences of their actions. The obvious contempt for the sanctity of the human life is totally stupefying, and things are made more complicated by the ease with which such wanton destruction of human lives is accomplished. Were it not for the presence of mind of the murdered doctor’s fiancee, it might have taken a longer time to apprehend these hoodlums who had the temerity to celebrate their unconscionable heist in a public place following the robbery. The confessional statement offered by the hoodlums at the Meiran police station is instructive: “We had planned on robbing an Uber driver and it was unfortunate that it had to be him.”
We are extremely saddened about the way things have turned out in this country, as if there is no government in place. Insurgency, banditry, armed robbery, kidnapping and other forms of violence have made life in the country a nightmarish experience. Truth be told, there is not much to expect from the totally dysfunctional system that Nigeria now invariably represents. This predatory, dog-eat-dog system in which strugglers go after strugglers bodes ill for the country. It is even impossible to imagine that a government is in place where these bizarre things are happening. The hoodlums must be diligently prosecuted. That cannot atone for the life lost, but it will at least send a strong message to those minded to tread such a criminal path. And needless to say, there must be a comprehensive security system in place across the country.
We reiterate that all human lives matter and are sacrosanct regardless of socioeconomic status. This democracy cannot thrive with wanton killings.
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