‘Doctor Told Us He Was Shot In The Head’
•Family, associates mourn Kwara TUC chairman killed in Kaduna train attack
The doctor said he had just spoken with the wife but could not tell her the sad news and that since I said I was the wife’s elder brother: ‘we lost him!’ I asked him how. He said Akin was shot in the head. It is a great loss. Only God can help us to bear the loss.”
Those were the words of Mr Sijuade Oyetoso, a brother-in-law to the chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kwara State, Mr Akinsola Akinwumi, one of the victims killed in Monday’s train attack by bandits in Kaduna, Kaduna State.
Eight persons, including Akinwumi, have been officially confirmed dead after gunmen attacked the Kaduna-bound train they had boarded alongside about 390 from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
According to reports, the gunmen blew up the track, forcing the train to a stop and subsequently surrounded the carriages and opened fire. Several passengers were injured while an unknown number of others were abducted from the train on Monday evening.
The news of Akinwumi’s death was broken to his family on Tuesday afternoon.
The labour leader, it was learnt, died on his 13th wedding anniversary, leaving behind his wife, children and aged father.
Mourners, midweek, flooded his residence in Osin Aremu, along Asa Dam Road, in Ilorin West Local Government Area. Shops and business outlets in the area were closed in honour of the late labour leader who has been described by many as a good man.
It was learnt that his wife, who was at work as of the time she received the sad news, fainted and was thereafter rushed to a nearby hospital. She was still sedated when Saturday Tribune visited the family’s residence on Wednesday afternoon.
Oyetoso, the brother-in-law to Akinwumi, described the deceased as a good friend.
“I am the elder brother to the wife. If there were a life after this one, I would choose him again as my friend and brother-in-law. He was a very hard-working person. He never got angry. He loved serving humanity, which was what he was doing when he met his death.
“It is so sad that the insecurity in the country has cost us somebody like him. It still feels unreal to me; I still can’t believe it. A doctor in Abuja broke the news to me yesterday (Tuesday) around 10.00 a.m. We had called his number many times and the line was not going through. One of my sisters living in Abuja had to go to the train station to find out what was happening.
“She called Akin’s number again and the doctor picked the call. She was then asked to come to a hospital in Kaduna and that was when she called me. I called the doctor who enquired about my relationship with Akin and I told him who I was. He then said that the news he had for me was unfortunately not a good one. I asked him what he meant by that. The doctor said he had just spoken with the wife but could not tell her the sad news and that since I said I was the wife’s elder brother: ‘we lost him!’ I asked him how. He said Akin was shot in the head. It is a great loss. Only God can help us to bear the loss.
“Incidentally, yesterday (Monday) was their wedding anniversary. They got married 13 years ago. But in all, we thank God. The Bible says that in all, we should give thanks. We thank God for everything. He has fought and conquered. He lived a good life.”
‘Nigeria’s security situation a very sad thing’
Oyetoso described the security situation in the country as a very sad thing.
He said: “By the time the incident happened, if the security system that we have in this country is anything to go by, there should have been a better way of responding and saving the lives of Akin and these other innocent citizens. I hope the government will do something about the security problem in this country. The security architecture in this country is too poor.”
Also, a longtime friend and in-law to the late labour leader, Pastor Dayo Adegbola, said: “We practically grew up together as friends in primary school before I met his immediate younger sister, my wife. Akin’s father is still alive, although mama died in January this year. We love Akinwumi. He was passionate about the welfare of the people, especially workers. We talked a lot. He was upright. There were times when they tried to lure him with incentives or put money in his account, but he always maintained his stand, knowing that it would be difficult to pursue workers’ welfare if took such offers.
“We had thought that he was in the hospital receiving treatment. We were dumbfounded when we got the news of his death. It is painful. We had to call the secretary of the trade union who confirmed the news to us. It was quite shocking to everyone. We are still in shock.
“His mother died on January 10. On March 12, he played a fatherly role at the wedding ceremony of a younger relation whose father was late. He was a promising young man with lots of lofty dreams and ideas. We have lost a gem. We only ask for the grace of God to cope with the loss. He is irreplaceable to us all. He was quite philosophical in his reasoning and at the same time, he could be forceful when it came to the implementation of well-thought-out ideas. We will miss him.”
“I wonder if the bandits, Boko Haram and the likes have yet been declared terrorist groups in this country. What are the features of terrorists or terrorism? People planting bombs on highways, train tracks. And it is not as if they are agitators. They are not agitating for anything from the government. So, it is irresponsible of the government to say they are not terrorists.
“We want the government to beef up security around government establishments, agencies and parastatals and put an end to the problem. There is negligence on the part of both the Kaduna State and federal governments. Kaduna is now synonymous with violence but the man would be grandstanding. The government is folding its arms while the terrorists are growing more confident. The attack on the Kaduna airport should have been a wake-up call for a proactive government. They made us lose our loved one.”
One of the TUC chairman’s neighbours, Malam Albdulkareem Aladua, described the late Akinwumi as a gentleman.
Aladua said: “I sold him the land on which he built his house. He was like a brother to me. Since he joined us in this community, he played an active role in every project we had embarked on. He was so dutiful. He gave me and my family gifts every Ramadan. We commiserate with his family and ask God to forgive his sins and grant him eternal rest.”
Daniel Orume was one of Akinwumi’s co-workers at a Dangote firm in the state. He said: “If Akin was not good to people, you won’t see so many people gathered here to sympathise with his family. When he came to Ilorin many years ago, I was the first person that accommodated him in a one-room apartment. We were together at Irewolede for about more than a year. He was a very humble, sincere and sociable person. You would hardly see him quarrel with anyone. He was always peaceful. He liked giving, sharing with people around him. If he did not have, he could borrow help somebody in need. That is Akin for you. I called him Akin omo Akin (Akin, son of Akin). We were very close. His death is quite painful. Nobody expected it. God knows best.”
Govt needs Nigerians’ help to overcome insecurity –Kwara
The state Head of Service (HOS), Mrs Susan Oluwole, who led a government delegation to pay a condolence visit to the bereaved family, expressed shock and described the late labour leader as a humble person that contributed to the labour’s harmonious relationship with the state government.
Oluwole lamented the increasing insecurity in the country and appealed to Nigerians to support the government in its efforts at solving the problem.
While praying God to grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest, the HOS pledged the state government’s support for the widow and children of the deceased.
The state secretary of the TUC, Mr Joseph Meshack, commended the government for identifying with the Akinwumi family at this trying time.