The authorities at Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State heaved a sigh of relief on Friday, September 20 when the mystery behind the headless corpses they usually picked in communities under the local government was resolved with the arrest of Seyi Akinrinola when he when to pick a human head he hung on a tree in the bush at Igbo-Oloyin area, Ibadan, Oyo State. Also arrested was Ajitoni Ogundeji whom Akinrinola claimed prompted his search for a head.
On that day, policemen did a lot of work to contain the large crowd which besieged Ojoo division of Oyo State Police Command to catch a glimpse of the human head and the suspects in possession of it. Despite the odour from the decomposed head, the crowd stayed put, as many more rushed to join as soon the news spread to them.
The head was obviously that of a female. The flesh around had eaten off, except for a little which was at the back, and to which the few strands of hair that remained were attached.
Akinrinola thought he was smart. To avoid being detected, after securing a head, the suspect decided to keep it on the tree until it would be dry. But the fart he thought he released silently was loud enough for others to hear.
At about 10: 00a.m. same day, the divisional Police Officer in charge of Ojoo division, Musiliu Doga, received an information that a human head was sighted on a tree. He promptly went out with his men to survey the place. After he confirmed the information he received to be true, the DPO reportedly put some of his men on ground to lay ambush for the person that would come to pick the head.
The plan worked out. According to the Police Public Relation Officer of the command, Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, “About an hour, after the policemen laid an ambush, they saw a man who approached the site where the head was hung on a motorcycle. He got down from the bike and, holding a polythene bag, went to where the head was hung and put it the bag. As he made to go, the policemen emerged from hiding and apprehended him.”
Upon arrest, Akinrinola reportedly pleaded to be handled gently as he had an accomplice. He disclosed to the policemen that it was a native doctor he consulted for help who requested for the human head in order to help him prepare a charm that would serve as bullet proof.
In an interview, 30-year-old Akinrinola, who said he was residing at Demilokun area of Igbo Oloyin, disclosed that he was once a butcher but left the job to become a farmer. He denied killing the owner of the head, saying that it belonged to a mad woman whose corpse he saw along Igbo Oloyin road.
“I am a member of Oodua People’s Congress and also a farmer. When we used to go to Saki side to buy cows, armed robbers used to trouble us so much on the way. I left the butcher job about five years ago but I intend to return to it.
“Ogundeji was like a brother in my area, so I told him that I needed a charm that would prevent bullet from entering my body in case I am shot at. He told me that he would do it for me if I could bring a human head.
“I found the woman’s body along Igbo Oloyin road where she died. We did not cut the head; we just pulled it off the neck.”
When questioned on how he knew the corpse was that of a mad woman, Akinrinola replied: “She was a mad woman, even the villagers confirmed it. I was the one who removed the head at about 7.30p.m. about three weeks ago. After cutting it, I travelled, but I learnt that local government officials came to remove the headless body. Ogundeji is a hunter; that was why I believed he would know what to do to prepare bullet proof charm. Two days before my arrest, Ogundeji came to ask whether I got a head and I told him I have found one. I hung the head on a tree beside the house I was living because it was smelling.”
On whether he was an armed robber who needed to protect himself against an onslaught by law enforcement agents, the suspect said: “Never. I have never robbed in my life. My lineage had never been involved in robbery. My arrest is a great shame because I don’t even understand myself. I have never done such a thing in my life. I am an orphan because my parents are dead.
How was he caught? Akinrinola gave an answer: “I believe people from my community who saw the head informed the police.”
However, Ogundeji vehemently denied complicity, saying that the first suspect was just trying to implicate him. The 40-year-old man, who claimed to be a farmer, said he was surprised that Akinrinola mentioned his name because he was also part of the crowd which gathered to behold the spectacle on display when the suspect was arrested.
“I never told him that I would prepare a charm for him because I am not a native doctor. I am a farmer and I also hunt for meat that I would eat,” he said.
Ogundeji revealed that Akinrinola had attempted to get a human head twice before he was caught the third time, but could not explain why it had to be him that the first suspect mentioned among other people living in the community.
“It has been up to a month since I saw Akinrinola last. I have no relationship with him except that we live in the same community. I knew him since he was young before I left the community to learn vulcanizing at Idi-Iroko community. I have a wife and two children but she lives within Ibadan city with them because she said she could not live in a rural community. It was because things were not going well that made me decide to become a farmer and hunter.
“I never knew Akinrinola as an evil person. He learnt butchering in Lagos before he came back to the village about six years ago. He started working as a farmer and also used to uproot trees from parcels of land if the owners want to build on them.
If he was giving a job to do, he used to call me but I was not relating closely with him, we are both temperamental. There is no link between us.
However, sources alleged that Ogundeji was known with fraudulent activities and used to sell a parcel of land to several people, among other things he was known for.
The PPRO told the Saturday Tribune that the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Iyaganku, for further investigations. She also warned members of the public to always move about with caution and avoid sending their children out late in the night because of criminally-minded people lurking around.