It is not uncommon to find the elderly persons being paraded for various crimes at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters, Ikeja. But in this case, Mrs Gladys Osaigbovo-Omon (60), was not a guest at the command over any criminal matter.
Her case could best be described as the proverbial cat with nine lives as she narrowly escaped being assassinated at her residence in Benin-City, the Edo State Capital, a fortnight ago.
Clad in a buba and wrapper and a pair of red slippers, she sat on a chair with both hands clasped together as she kept shaking her legs slowly.
At a point, she glanced at the two suspected assassins close to her, shook her head in disbelief before lifting it up to the sky and muttered, Osalobua uwese( meaning ‘God, thank you’, in Benin dialect).
When approached, she was too stunned to narrate what brought her from Benin city. All she could mutter in pidgin English was that the stab of a loved one could be so painful when compared to that of a stranger.
As you read this piece, two suspected assassins hired to eliminate the sexagenarian have been arrested by the Police in Lagos while efforts were still on to arrest the alleged mastermind, an Europe Based Nigerian woman.
Surprisingly, the alleged mastermind turned out to be her younger sister while one of the suspected assassins was discovered to be her nephew.
Human trafficking goes awry
The crux of the matter was a case of human trafficking gone awry. Crime Guard gathered that 60-year-old Gladys, being the eldest of her siblings, assisted them in her own little way. One of her siblings, Augusta Osaigbovo, according to her, lived with her for 13 years until she left for Europe.
At a time, Gladys said she begged Augusta, to take one of her daughters, Mercy Omon, overseas, for better life, an offer that was granted.
However, on arriving the United Kingdom, Mercy contacted her family back in Nigeria to inform them that her aunty, Augusta, was a leader of a prostitution ring and had recruited her into prostitution in London.
But she claimed to have refused to bow to pressures from her aunty to go into prostitution, an action that led to a strained relationship between them.
Along the line, Crime Guard gathered that Mercy was arrested by Police authorities in the UK, for possessing fake documents which were allegedly facilitated by her aunty. She managed to wriggle her way out of trouble after disclosing that her aunty, Augusta, brought her to London with job promises, only to turn out to be something else. Her confession led to Augusta’s subsequent arrest and was thereafter jailed.
According to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, who paraded the suspected assassins, “When Augusta Osaigbovo finished her jail term, she complained to her sister Gladys, that her daughter, Mercy, whom she brought from the village to help, had ruined her. Believing that her sister was supporting her daughter, she decided to hire the services of assassins to eliminate Gladys
The first person allegedly contacted by Augusta, was her nephew, Osaro Okonoboh (44), whom the sexagenarian kept glancing at, in shock.
In an interview with Osaro, a commercial bus driver who resides in Lagos, he admitted to have been contacted by Augusta to snuff life out of his aunty, Gladys.
He said “ Aunty Gladys is my mother’s eldest sister. Aunty Augusta who stays abroad, my mother and aunty Gladys were born of the same mother. She (Augusta ) called me on phone that she would want me to help her kill aunty Gladys. When I asked why, she said aunty Gladys was the one behind what Mercy did to her abroad. I told her I did not know of any assassin but that I would look for one.
“I contacted Lucky Oboh, who is also a driver, here in Lagos. He also said he would look for someone. He came back and said he had found someone, Igbinedion Ogbevon who demanded N1 million for the job. When I called Augusta to inform her, I told her that the proposed assassin asked for N4.5 million”.
Journey to Benin City
Osaro then gave the job of eliminating Mrs Gladys Osaigbovo- Omon to Igbinedion Ogbevon and Lucky Oboh. But Ogbevon, who also hails from Edo state, insisted on visiting the target’s home, in order to know where she lived and also to study the terrain.
Crime Guard gathered that on July 17, 2018 Osaro, Gladys’ nephew took the suspected hired assassin, Ogbevon on a visit to Gladys’ home in Benin City.
An elated Gladys was said to have welcomed the visitors with a sumptuous meal and drinks, unaware that she was entertaining her assailants.
By the time her visitors announced their departure, she had brought another meal for them and insisted they must eat before hitting the road back to Lagos.
That singular display of kindness and generosity saved Gladys’ life as it endeared her supposed killer’s heart towards her.
In an interview with Crime Guard, Ogbevon, narrated how he changed his mind and turned around to spill the beans that led to the arrest of Osaro and Lucky.
He said: “On our way back after the visit, I asked Osaro why he wanted his aunty killed. He said that was what he was contracted to do. But in my mind I decided I was not going to do it because of the woman’s kindness, although I didn’t tell Osaro I was opting out. You needed to have seen the way the woman welcomed us and took pains to prepare food for us as if she had been expecting us. I was really overfed.
When I got home, I was troubled and had to open up to my uncle, who advised that I should first go back to the woman and tell her of the plan to kill her and thereafter report to the police. I then went with my uncle to visit mummy ( Gladys) to tell her about the plan by Augusta and Osaro to eliminate her. From there, we informed the Police who advised I played along, until I was given part payment of N490,000. I had to play along so that they would not contact another person”.
At this point, the sexagenarian exclaimed, ‘Osalobua’! ( My God!). Speaking in Pidgin English, she said “when they told me, I could not believe that my own family members would want me dead.
‘I don’t know why my sister, who stayed with me for 13 years wanted to do this to me. Had she succeeded nobody would have attributed it to her. Perhaps, she would have attended my burial. But I thank God, she did not succeed.
I thank the Police and every other person that God used to spare my life. My thanks also go to our father, the Oba of Benin who placed a curse on anyone who is tarnishing the image of the ancient city outside the country”.