The family of the late Bamise Ayanwole, the fashion designer, who was found dead after boarding a bus rapid transit vehicle in the Lekki area of Lagos, has called on relevant authorities to ensure that the bus driver and suspect, Andrew Ominnikoron, reveal the identities of his accomplices.
The family insisted that Ominnikoron did not act alone.
The 22-year-old was said to have been on her way to visit her brother after the close of work on February 26, when she boarded the BRT vehicle at Chevron Bus Stop.
Suspicious that something was not right when the driver allegedly told her to sit at the back, she was said to have contacted one of her friends on WhatsApp, who advised her to alight.
After several attempts to reach Bamise proved abortive, she was later said to have been heard arguing with a man when she eventually picked up her call.
Ominnikoron, 47, was later arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services at his hideout in Ososa, Ogun State, and handed over to the police who paraded him at their Lagos headquarters in Ikeja on Monday.
Another alleged victim, who did not disclose her identity, had accused the driver of raping her on the bus on her way to Jakande, along the Lekki-Epe Expressway on November 25, 2021.
“This is not just rape. It is murder. The man (Ominnikoron) is a tool. There must be something that gave him that confidence to use a government bus to perpetrate such an evil act. He must provide the cohorts,” Bamise’s brother, Pelumi, told City Round on Friday.
While expressing disappointment that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, did not pay a condolence visit on Thursday as planned, he said the bereaved family had yet to be contacted by the Lagos Bus Services Limited.
“They (LBSL) can’t (visit us). They would be afraid of being lynched. If they want to do that, they have to come with the governor. There are people who are angry. We know what we have been doing to calm nerves,” he said.
Pelumi, however, urged the state government to investigate the operations of the company.
“It is not only about Bamise. It is about the future. It is about probing that service (LBSL), otherwise, this thing will continue. Why would the driver say that somebody hijacked the vehicle? Why did he not pick other people until he got to a particular place where he picked two guys and a lady? He needs to provide them. This is a murder case, not rape,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Yaba Magistrates’ Court on Friday ordered the remand of Ominnikoron in the Ikoyi facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
The suspect was arraigned before O. A. Salawu on counts bothering on alleged murder, rape, and interference with the body of the deceased.
There was, however, a mild drama in the court premise when Ominnikoron alleged that some suspects awaiting trial assaulted him and dispossessed him of the sum N3, 500.
The suspect, who was kept in a cell in the presence of a few officials, alleged that other suspects pounced on him within minutes of his arrival.
As some officials arrived to intervene, he accused them of not giving him ‘good treatment’.
The charge sheet, marked A/26/2022, read in part, “That you Andrew Nice Ominnikoron ‘M’ and others still at large, on the 26th day of February 2022 at about 2000hrs, along Ajah–Oshodi Expressway Lagos, in the Lagos State Magisterial District, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; murder and misconduct to corpse and, therefore, committed an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
“That you Andrew Nice Ominnikoron ‘M’ and others still at large, on the 26th day of February 2022 at about 2000hrs, along Ajah–Oshodi Expressway Lagos, in the Lagos State Magisterial District, whilst on duty as a BRT driver within metropolis with BRT bus code number 257 did, intentionally push one Ayanwole Oluwabamise ‘F’ Aged 22yrs (now deceased) and forcefully pushed her out of a moving BRT bus, abandoned and absconded from the scene, and thereby, committed an offence punishable under Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
“That you Andrew Nice Ominnikoron ‘M’ and others still at large, on the 26th day of February 2022 at about 2000hrs, along Ajah–Oshodi Expressway Lagos, in the Lagos State Magisterial District, whilst on duty as a BRT driver within metropolis with BRT bus code number 257 did, forcefully had sexual intercourse with late Ayanwole Oluwabamise ‘F’ Aged 22yrs (now deceased) and thereafter, pushed her out of the moving BRT Bus, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 260 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”
The case was adjourned to April 11.
Similarly, Lagos Bus Services Limited said the suspect had since been sacked, adding that it had begun a review of its safety and security procedures.
The spokesperson for LBSL, Olawale Afolabi, who disclosed this on Friday, however, denied that the company suspended its bus operations to prevent its vehicles from being vandalised.
“The shutdown (of bus operations) was to mourn Bamise. We are also hurt and we put ourselves in their (bereaved family’s) shoes,” Afolabi added.