Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, has recalled incidents that surrounded the killing of Kudirat Abiola, wife of late business mogul, MKO Abiola.
Oyinlola was in charge of Lagos State when the incident happened.
The former Osun State governor, in a chat with newsmen, said the murder was an unfortunate incident he had to grapple with.
His words: “I was opening the reconstructed Sura Market on Lagos Island – that was on June 4, 1996, when I got a call from the current Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu – he was a Commissioner of Police somewhere in the country then.
“He called me and said, “Excellency, have you heard that Kudirat Abiola has been shot?” I quickly rounded off the market event and headed for Ikeja. I called Ogundimu, the Commissioner for Health and he confirmed it.
“He said he was there at the hospital battling to see if they could save her life. It was Ogundimu who later gave me the news of her death. Then mischief makers took over.
“The next thing they said was that she was coming from my office in Ikeja and that after she left, I sent assassins after her. But I thank God, when eventually the person who shot her, Sergeant Rogers, was arrested and in the course of the trial, he told the story of how he did it, Oyinlola’s name did not feature once.
“Providence also made President Olusegun Obasanjo to institute the Oputa Panel and at the panel, nobody mentioned my name. You can imagine that kind of thing. I, who had never slapped my wife, so how would I have instigated people to take guns and pursue a woman? Those were the kinds of intrigues I faced in Lagos. It was something else”.
On how he handled security challenges at the time, Oyinlola recalled that criminals took advantage of the socio-political turbulence that came with the agitation against June 12 election annulment.
“Security of lives and property became a serious problem. My administration came up with the idea of floating an effective, well-kitted, mobile security outfit code-named Operation Sweep.
That was in 1995. Operation Sweep was a joint task force of all the armed forces and the police.
“It was an entirely new crime fighting idea. The operatives were out on patrol 24 hours. I was also out on patrol every night. With that, criminals were effectively swept out of Lagos as it became a danger zone for them to operate.
“A measure of the outfit’s effectiveness and success led virtually other states in the country to follow our footsteps by setting up similar outfits. My successor, Col. Buba Marwa, sustained the outfit and passed it on to Bola Tinubu in 1999. I am happy that although the name may have changed today in Lagos and in other states, the concept is still alive.”