A man, whose identity is yet to be known, escaped death by the whiskers during mob attack who accused him of stealing of a beggar’s child at Mokola area of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State.
The beggar, who is of the Northern extraction, was said to have opened her palms, gesticulating that she did not understand what the thief was saying.
“He thereafter offered the female beggar some money, but before she could guess the child thief’s intention, he pulled her two-year-old son, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, from her back and ran towards a waiting Micra cab,” the witness said.
Shocked, the female beggar reportedly cried feebly in Hausa language, before another beggar raised the alarm which attracted the people nearby and passer-by.
“The thief’s attempt to quickly get into the waiting cab failed, as he could not open the door. The Micra cab’s driver sped off immediately he saw the crowd moving closer.
“This made the thief run into a shop at Mokola market where live chickens are sold, and it was there people grabbed him, rescued the child from him and brought him out to the road side.
It was further learnt that beggar, who had two other children, quickly put her son on her back again, grasped the hands of the two children, crossed the road and hurried towards Sabo area of the city, which was close by.
In a video recorded, the suspected thief, with accent depicting him to be from the Southern part of Nigeria, could be heard trying to defend himself in response to a question from the mob, saying: “If you (the mob) say someone took something, bring the thing out now. Is there anybody saying that I stole her child?”
A member of the crowd was heard saying that the police should be invited, while another said that someone should bring a knife to slaughter the thief.
The mob had already got a disused tyre to hang on the suspect’s neck and set him ablaze when policemen from Mokola Division who got information reportedly went to scene to rescued the suspect and take him into custody.
He was eventually rushed to the Police Hospital at Eleiyele, Ibadan as a result of the injuries inflicted on him by the mob.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, a Superintendent of Police, confirmed the story, saying that the suspect was yet to be identified because he had not spoken since he was taken into custody.
According to the PPRO, “Oyo command got a report at about 9:30 a.m. that a young man was about to be lynched by an angry mob at NEPA area of Mokola, Ibadan.
“Policemen from Mokola Division rushed to the scene, rescued the suspect and took him into custody. He was said to have stolen a two-year-old child, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, from his mother, Suwebat.”
Ajisebutu later took newsmen to the Accident and Emergency section of the Police Hospital, where he was seen handcuffed to the bed on which he was being treated.
Attempts to get the suspect, who had a swollen, bleeding face, to talk failed, as he did not respond, just as his eyes were tightly shut.