A 45-year-old palm wine tapper, Deji Adenuga, said to have been jilted by his girlfriend, Titi Sanumi, allegedly set the room in which nine family members were in deep sleep on fire at about 2am, thereby roasting eight of them, mostly children, alive in Igbodigo in Okitipupa council area of Ondo State.
The suspect, who is a murder suspect in another case, had, in 2000, allegedly killed his wife, identified as Abiye, with a knife after a disagreement over N450, 000 in her custody and was detained only to escape from prison during a jailbreak in 2013.
He went underground until nemesis caught up with him after allegedly committing the latest crime. Adenuga confessed, “l bought N500 worth of petrol, kept it in my house and, when it was around 2am, I went to their (victims) house and poured it inside the room when they were sleeping and set it on fire”.
Five of the victims died immediately while the other three gave up the ghost while on admission at the Trauma Centre, Ondo. Meanwhile, the lone survivor, his girlfriend, is battling to live at the Trauma Centre as doctors try to save her life. The suspect, now in police custody, was arrested in ljebu- Ode, Ogun State where he ran to after setting ablaze the room of the sister of his girlfriend, Jumoke, located at Igbodigo.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard at Ondo State Police Command Headquarters in Akure, the suspect said his estranged girlfriend of over two years aborted a four-month-old pregnancy without his consent and failed to refund N55,000 kept in her custody. “I was very sad because of this and, out of frustration and annoyance, I vowed to teach Titi and her sister, Jumoke, the lesson of their lives”, he said. “Apart from that, she and her family, especially her elder sister, Jumoke, turned me to an Automated Teller Machine.
She would collect money from me every other day for one reason or the other to feed her own family.
“Anytime her sister needed money for the upkeep of her family because the husband was sick, she will recall her sister, who is my girlfriend, and ask that l give her money before releasing her to me. “l don’t have any regret because they treated me badly, took a lot of money from me. I also took food items to them almost every week”. According to him, he never had the intention of killing all the eight family members.
“Those l targeted were my girlfriend and her sister, Jumoke, who had turned me to an ATM and yet asked her sister not to marry me”, Adenuga said. “I didn’t know that all the members of the family would be sleeping in that same room that very day”.
“Her (girlfriend) mother made several efforts to intervene but she refused. It was her sister, Jumoke, whose house I set ablaze, that was behind the whole issue. It was the house of her husband.” Stroke Explaining how Jumoke’s husband had been down with stroke for years and she extorted him to take care of the husband and for the upkeep of her children, the suspect said, “I would buy food into the house, my girlfriend would divide it into two and take one part to the sister’s house.
If we made soup, she would do the same thing. “We lived together in my house. We started our relationship last year. She has no issue for me. The pregnancy was about four months and she aborted the pregnancy without my consent “I asked her to return my money to me if she was no longer going to marry me. She refused. That’s what caused the fight and they threatened to deal with me if l ever returned to ask for the money”.
A police source said that the girlfriend and her sister reconsidered the continuation of the relationship after they got wind that the suspect was an ex- convict who was jailed for killing his wife. Adenuga, who also operated a car wash business, however, regretted his action, saying he never planned to kill all the members of the family but his lover and her sister. “I didn’t know that all of them were in the room before setting the room ablaze. I used petrol to burn the house. I was angry because they made jest of me and threatened to deal with me if l ever returned to their house”, he stated.
“I regret killing other innocent people especially the children. I was after Titi and Jumoke. They were my targets. “I tried to report them to the police but they said the police would not do anything to them and that I should be careful or else I would suffer. They provoked me into anger. I then decided to set ablaze where she and her sister lived because l knew she left my house for her sister’s place.”
How suspect was arrested – CP Adie Speaking on the alleged arson and murder, Ondo State Police Commissioner, Undie Adie, said, “At about 0200hrs, one Deji Adenuga, ‘aka Oluodo’, allegedly set a house ablaze where a family of nine was asleep. “His grouse was that one of the family members, Titi Sanumi, his former girl friend, jilted him after investing so much on her.
“Eight of the victims of the arson, who were mostly children, were later confirmed dead while the only remaining victim, who happens to be the girlfriend of the suspect, is still in a critical condition in hospital.
“However, after intense manhunt, the suspect was arrested on 28/04/2019 in Ijebu Ode where he absconded to after committing the offence. “It is unfortunate to note that the suspect is notorious for committing heinous crimes especially murder as he allegedly killed his former wife named Abiye, sometime in year 2000, which led to his being remanded in Olokuta Prison.
“He, however, escaped with other inmates during a jail break in 2013. “The earlier murder case is also going to be looked into with a view to having him face the full weight of the law”. Also in police custody in the state are two suspected kidnappers who are siblings, Abdulmumuni Muhammadu and Saidu Muhammadu. They reportedly kidnapped one Yemi Ilesanmi along Auchi Road, Ugbe Akoko in 2018. The police commissioner said the “kidnappers demanded N30m as ransom”.
He went on, “The hostage was rescued unhurt and without ransom paid following the police and vigilante group’s operation on the kidnappers’ den. “Investigation later led to the arrest of Abdulmumuni Muhammadu and Saidu Muhammadu in connection with the case.
“They confessed to the commission of the crime and claimed that one Abdullahi, who had been on the wanted list of the Command, is their gang leader. “Detectives are still on the trail of the said Abdullahi and other members of the gang”.