The Ondo State Police Command said it has arrested two suspects in connection with the extrajudicial killing of a suspected internet fraudster, Olorunfemi Tope, on Monday in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

A mob stoned and killed the 35–year-old man after he overran passengers with his car at Ijoka area of Akure, killing two of them in the process.

The incident sparked a violent reaction from angry youths in the vicinity, who labelled the driver as an internet fraudster or Yahoo boy, after they found some fetish items inside the car.

After beating Mr Tope to death, the mob went ahead to set his car on fire.

His parents who came to the scene to rescue their son, narrowly escaped being killed by the mob.

An eye witness said Mr Tope, who was driving his Toyota car with tinted glasses, on a high speed, ran into several commercial motor cycles with their passengers at different spots from Ijo Mimo junction to Sunday Bus Stop, along Ijoka Road.

He said three persons died instantly while many were injured.

Mr Tope was said to have attempted to escape but was caught by some youths and was beaten until he passed out.

It was gathered that he first knocked down a woman at Ijomu, and while trying to run away, also collided with vehicles causing serious damage to them.

He continued his reckless driving until he got to Ijoka Road, which is always heavy with traffic.

Some of the injured persons were taken to a nearby hospital.

The police however arrived a little late after the young man had been killed, but took his corpse away after restoring calm in the area.

The Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, Funmi Odunlami, however, described the killing of the boy by the mob as “jungle justice.”

“No one can confirm if the young man in question is an internet fraudster,” she said.

“There was an accident that led to the death of a motorcyclist, rather than people around to help, some resorted to jungle justice by killing the young man Olorunfemi Tope aged 35 who drove the vehicle and set the car ablaze.

“But for the quick intervention of the police, his parents too would have been killed, in all two people confirm dead while 6 others involved and injured in the accident are currently in the hospital.

“The parents of the driver now late (the boy) came to the scene (where the boy was lynched to death) but not in the vehicle with their son.”

Speaking further on the incident on Tuesday in a live radio programme, Mrs Odunlami said police detectives had arrested two suspects over their allegedly jungle justice meted out to Mr Tope.

She also said one of the two arrested suspects allegedly masterminded the burning of Mr Tope’s car.

She noted that the suspects would be charged to court for murder and arson, just as she appealed to members of the public never to take laws into their own hands.

“We need to see ourselves as one and love each other. We should first see ourselves as human beings before becoming either a commercial motorcyclist, policeman or any other professionals,” she said.

“As of now, no one can confirm if the dead young man in question was an internet fraudster.

“We need to refrain from engaging in jungle justice, shun hearsay and report any incident to nearby police station so that there will be peace in our community.”

Ondo State Government Reacts

The attention of the Ondo State Government has been drawn to a disturbing recourse to jungle justice by the public. This is especially true when citizens are attacked, and killed, based on one flimsy excuse or the other, especially on allegations of Internet scam, laced with ritual killing, commonly referred to as Yahoo Plus.

The Ag. Governor, His Excellency, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa has expressed shock and disbelief, on the recent mob attack that led to the stoning to death of 35-year old Tope Olorunfemi at Ijoka Area of Akure. The young man, riding in a Toyota car, reportedly ran into a motorcyclist and his passenger, resulting in some fatalities. The government condemns in strong terms the incident and said all those found culpable will be made to face the full wrath of law.

While government does not condone criminality in whatever guise, it also does not subscribe to people taking laws into their hands. It was reported, that the quick intervention of law enforcement agents, saved the parents of the deceased from suffering the same fate as their son. Sadly, they watched in horror and total helplessness as their son was pummeled to death.

His Excellency, Hon. Ayedatiwa urges Ondo State citizens to have trust in the rule of law, as government will not condone any form of mob action and hooliganism in the administration of Justice in Ondo State.

The government is saddened by this development and commiserates with all the families that lost their loved ones as a result of this incident while praying for quick recovery for those that sustained injuries.

Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Commissioner for Information and Orientation

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