For many people who are lovers of history and past events or even persons who were present in the early 70s the name Ishola Oyenusi should be somewhat familiar to them.
Ishola Oyenusi had a gang of six people who were made up of highly skilled car snatchers, Bank robbers, looters of factories, stores and killing innocent people like ants.
Was Ishola Oyenusi Really A Medical Doctor?
Although people call him Dr Oyenusi, he was not even close to be a professional doctor, He confessed that his parents were not capable of furthering his secondary school education and that was what forced him into robbery. he just adopted the title for the fun of it. This revelation was made few minutes before he was executed.
The love Doctor
His first noted criminal act would be an act of love. His girlfriend needed some money badly so Oyenusi went ahead to snatch a car. He killed the owner of the vehicle. He got N400 from stealing the car and gave it to his girlfriend.
This is the reason why he was sometimes said to be the romantic armed robber. He had a mean streak in him also as he was hot headed and very arrogant even to the law. During his arrest, he thundered down on a police officer who was ushering him around. He said, “people like you don’t talk to me like that when I’m armed, I gun them down!”
Doctor Ishola Oyenusi came into limelight after the Nigerian civil war ended in 1970.
He robbed both night and day, in some cases he killed his victims just for fun, This earned him the name “Doctor rob and kill“.
At the peak of his horrific reign, Ishola Oyenusi bragged that “the bullet has no power“ the Igbo people call it "Odeshi".
But one thing he forgot to understand is "he who live by the sword will surely die by the sword".
Unlike his colleagues in the arm robbery business Lawrence Anini, Babatunde Folorunsho (Baba oni lace), Shina Rambo, Buraimo Jimoh and others, Oyenusi was so popular that he was regarded by some people as the “first celebrated armed robber in Nigeria“.
However, nothing lasts forever, and as the Yoruba adage says, everyday belongs to the thief while a day belongs to the owner.
On the 27th of March, 1971, Oyenusi was nabbed by the police during one of his robbery operations in which he and his notorious gang killed a police officer named Mr. Nwi and stole to the value of $28,000 as at then. Cloud of shame hovered above Doctor Ishola Oyenusi as he was casted before the law and found guilty then sentenced to death by firing squad.
Oyenusi confessed that he was not to die alone because he did not commit the crimes alone.
He vomited the names of other members of the gang which were as follows: Joseph Osamedike, Ambrose Nwokobia, Joel Amamieye, Philip Ogbolumain, Ademola Adegbitan and Stephen Ndubuokwu.
Back then public execution was the reigning style of execution, Dr Oyenusi was later ushered in to the popular Lagos Bar Beach on Lagos Island to be executed with other criminals.
The event was a memorable one as over 30,000 lagosians headed to the scene of execution cheering and hyped up to the execution of the once feared and dreaded criminal Dr Oyenusi.
It was recorded that some civil servants brought in mock coffins to the execution ground for Dr Oyenusi who was now seen as a mere scapegoat in the hand of the law.
Ishola Oyenusi was being led to the stake where he was tied up, his executors arrived at the execution ground around 10:am. Doctor Oyenusi, his gang members and one other criminal got down slowly.
People jeered and booed them, especially Oyenusi who they had really trooped out to watch die. Oyenusi donned a dark long-sleeve shirt and had his hands tied behind him.
He was sweating profusely but managed to smile all the way to the stakes. He kept smiling, smiling and smiling but could still not hide the agony and fear written boldly on his face.
Few minutes before he was shot, Oyenusi told journalists that he would not have ventured into armed robbery if his parents were capable of sending him to secondary school. “I am dying for the offense I have committed“ he said.
The soldiers lined in front of them and aimed their ever ready guns. Some of the criminals yelled their last words of protest at the cameras. Then a loud voice let out the word “fire“! Oyenusi and other criminals’ bodies were sprayed with bullets.
That was the bitter end of Ishola Oyenusi who lived by the bullets and died by the bullets. The execution of Doctor Ishola Oyenusi sent the streets of Lagos deserted at night. Families locked themselves behind doors for the fear that some of Oyenusi’s boys might retaliate.
Post Dr Oyenusi Execution
This fear of retaliation from Oyenusi boys lasted so long that even in 1977, the veteran movie director, Eddie Ugbomah, called for actors to play the role of Oyenusi in a movie he was about to produce titled “The Rise and Fall of Dr. Oyenusi“, but no actor was brave enough to step forward to play the role.
Eddie Ugbomah had no choice than to act the role by himself. In the movie, he revealed the secrets of top Nigerian officials and military men backing Oyenusi and his gang by providing them money and weapons.
As expected Eddie was threatened and had his store looted. He was asked in a letter to discontinue the production of the the movie and all that was looted will be returned to him, but Eddie was not a coward as they expected, the movie was later released in 1977.
In recent times, a Nollywood actor, Odunlade Adekola, also released a movie (Oyenusi) detailing the life of Ishola Oyenusi, the most notorious Nigerian armed robber.
The name Ishola Oyenusi will forever be remembered in the history of crime in Nigeria.
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