The Adeosun/Idi Orogbo Community in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State in the south western part of Nigeria was thrown into shock on Sunday when they found of one of their landlords, Mr John Aderemi Abiola, in his room, almost four years after he was last seen in December 2018. The discovery was made after the community decided, with the approval of the police authorities, to go into his compound to clear the bush in his compound which had overgrown his fence into the next house, causing invasion by reptiles.
As 2019 crept into 2020, the residents started wondering where the man could be. A man in the community said he had a talk with him where he stated that he had an intention to go to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and be back for the Ileya festival in 2018. But not seeing him for the festivity made me to think he may be staying there in Port Harcourt permanently.
Calls to his phone lines were not going through. After it was noticed that the weeds in his compound had grown bushy and the association of community landlords decided in a meeting to find a means of getting access to the premises so as to clear the bush.
However, they later change their mind of entering into someone else house without his consent because of the implication in the law.
Since then till 2022 which is getting to the end nobody have heard from the man or seen him, so the residents of the community who did not know his whereabouts decided again to go and clear the bush. Nigerian Tribune learnt that the move was made again when a man bought a land close to the mysterious house and decided to move into the house after completion of the construction.
But the invasion of his residence by snakes crawling in from the next compound got him worried about the safety of himself and his family members. This was said to have made the community to approach Apete police station again, where they were given the authority to do the necessary thing.
So, the community decided to hire some labourers to clear the bush. The house was constructed on the backside of the piece of land while the front side had a thick bush that could not be accessed. As the labourers got there with some landlords and started the work, they first noticed Mr Abiola’s Volkswagen Golf car with registration number AKD 769 DC which had been covered by the bush before they start clearing it.
As the building came in view, it was noticed that the window of Mr Abiola’s room was open, which prompted curiosity. One of the landlords, Mr Mohammed Ademola, who also worked for and used to interact with Mr Abiola, decided to check what was in the room.
He was however shocked when he saw the skeleton on the bed of the house owner. Mr Ademola raised the alarm which made others to ran close to the window peep and see why he was screaming.
They were all shocked when they saw the Mr Abiola skeleton and the news quickly spread. It was learnt that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Apete, SP Grace Akinsehinwa, was promptly informed, which made her to send detectives to the scene for investigation and action.
On Wednesday, while Nigerian Tribune was at the scene to investigate the incident, police detectives, as well as officials of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Ministry of Environment arrived, probably with a plan to evacuate the remains.
However, it has been difficult getting the contacts of the deceased’s family members as they were unknown to the community members. It was then decided that more efforts should be made to trace his family members before the evacuation so that they would not feel left out.
Nigerian Tribune saw a bottle of Astymin, packets of Bicarbonate of soda, vitamin C, Coartem (an antimalaria drugs) and a herbal tea covered with dust in his room. It was evident from his skull and exposed teeth that he was gaptoothed in front. Also, his boxers could still be seen around his waist while the top he must have worn had been eaten by his rotten flesh.
Only a tiny piece remained by his side. Also found alongside with his phones was his laptop. His plasma TV was still hanging on the wall and his wardrobe still had his clothing and other items. Mr Abiola, whose date of birth was discovered to be October 1, 1955, reportedly moved into the house in July 2017, but was not in close relationship with other residents except formal greetings whenever their paths crosses.
Known as an engineer who was based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with his family before moving to Ibadan, he was said to have lived in a couple of areas within the city before constructing the house in Adeosun Community. He was also known for his frequent travels to Port Harcourt to do his engineering work whenever the need arises.
The central chairman of Adeosun/Idi Orogbo Landlords Association, Mr Oluwafemi Omilana, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune, said that late Mr Abiola always paid his dues.
According to his words; “But we noticed that he didn’t associate with others and he came to landlords’ meeting just once. His house has a high fence and was constructed at the back with big space in front to the gate.
“We started noticing his absence in the community, although he didn’t mostly stay at home. He used to travel to Port Harcourt in Rivers State. He was an engineer. His compound had become so bushy that snakes were just being seen crawling from there into the house beside him. At a point, we had a meeting and decided to go over the fence to clear the bush.
“On Sunday, we came there with the owner of the house beside his house, paid some labourers to clear the bush. When they cleared the front of his building within the compound and could see the house clearly, they saw that the window was open. They peeped in and saw that the man had died a long time ago, with only his skeleton on his bed.
“Immediately, I called the Divisional Police, Apete Division. When we got to the entrance to his apartment, we discovered that it was locked from the inside. We forced it open and saw his skeleton on his bed with his three phones. One was by his left hand, one was at the back of his head and connected to the wall socket and the third one was by his right side. The police have tried to source for his contacts so that we can reach his family but the phone lines had become invalid.
There was a phone number we found on one of his identity cards and I called it, but the person we called and those with him were just laughing. It seemed they found the enquiries we were making strange. We have the feeling that the number has been re-allocated to another person.
“We have not been able to trace any member of his family. We also made efforts to get needed information from those who worked for him as bricklayer, welder, mechanic, but they told us that Mr Abiola was not the type to disclose his family information to anyone. He used to be alone. We learnt that he and his wife had a disagreement in Port Harcourt and separated. That was why he decided to move into the house he built at Adeosun without letting anyone know where he was.”
Mr Omilana said that the skeleton had not been removed because the community does not want to risk anything. The environmental officials were with us but they said that we should do it but get approval from the environment authorities. Now, we want to try and trace the family as much as we can. Mr Abiola had once told one of those who worked with him that his mother was living at Agugu. We want to go there and trace the area to get his family. If that is not successful, we will get the approval from the Ministry of Environment and do the necessary,” he concluded.
Mr Kazeem Raji, another man that had interaction with the late engineer when he was alive, burst into tears when he was about to speak. After gaining composure, he said: “I used to address the deceased as Brother Biola. I knew him over 20 years ago. I helped him when he was constructing his house at Adeosun. I knew him through the master that I did apprenticeship with. He and his friend then, whom I addressed as Brother Bunmi, used to go to Cotonou, Republic of Benin together. At a time, we didn’t see him again. I saw him again about 15 years after. Even, I was the one who helped him to purchase his Golf car.
“He used to travel a lot and would sometimes drop one of his phones, at home. The last time he travelled and didn’t see him, I thought he was still away. He had obtained visa to travel to the USA and he informed me about it, so I thought he had travelled out of Nigeria. That was my belief until this shocking discovery.”
He said his wife is an Igbo by tribe but that they had separated; it is difficult to trace his family,” he concluded.