A suspected cattle rustler, Muhammadu Bello, who killed his employer in the bush at Iseyin, Oyo State, and disappeared with his 20 cows and 14 sheep, has said that the murder he committed must have been ordained by God, for him to have succeeded.
He added to his submission that he was not beaten to death by his tribesmen when his atrocity was discovered because his creator didn’t want him dead. This was why, according to him, he was saved by the police who took him to custody for investigation.
The suspect was arrested by Oyo State Police Command for killing his employer, Yau Mohammed, a Fulani cattle owner, after which he took over his 20 cows and 14 sheep, claiming them to be his.
At a recent press briefing, the Commissioner of Police, Adebola Hamzat, said that the command’s Monitoring Unit, led by its commander, CSP Olusola Aremu, got credible information in Iseyin town that a nomadic cattle herder was sighted at Kara Market in the town, looking for a cattle dealer who would buy a large herd of cattle.
“Sequel to this credible information, a team of operatives attached to the unit in Iseyin town were deployed for swift intervention. In the process, the suspect, who later identified himself as Mohammadu Bello, was arrested, and upon interrogation, he confessed to being a cattle rustler. He subsequently led the operatives to a thick forest where he concealed 20 live cows and 14 sheep that he rustled from his employer.
“However, upon further investigation into the Soku Forest where he claimed to have carried out the dastard act, it was discovered that the suspect had killed the owner of the cows and sheep who was identified by him as Yau Mohammed (his employer) and buried him in a shallow grave.
“The club which he confessed to have used to attack and kill his employer was equally recovered from the scene of crime,” the police commissioner disclosed.
Saturday Tribune learnt the suspect, employed by Yau to rear his cows for him, had just worked for three weeks with his master when he allegedly planned and killed him, after which he took over his cattle, sheep and handset and started claiming to be the owner.
The incident reportedly occurred on their getting to Soku along Oyo-Iseyin axis, on their way to Ago Iwoye in Ogun State where the deceased was relocating to.
As they rested in the bush at nightfall, the deceased, according to Bello, expressed his displeasure at the way he (Bello) abandoned the cows he was asked to look after at a certain place, which might lead to their destroying someone’s farmland. Yau was said to have always avoided destroying farms in the 20 years he had been rearing cows.
However, it was believed by many of the suspect’s tribesmen that he must have worked with Yau to penetrate him enough to kill him and escape with his cows. After killing his master, Bello reportedly took flight with his cows and sheep. In a bid to start making money from the ill gotten cows, Bello went to Kara Market in Iseyin to get a buyer for two of the animals.
However, the cattle dealer he contacted was wary of the transaction and alerted others as well as their head in the town. They also alerted the Monitoring Unit operatives, which led to the suspect’s arrest.
Upon his arrest, Bello adopted the deceased’s name and claimed ownership of the cattle and phone found with him. After taking the phone from him to aid investigations, Saturday Tribune learnt that calls were made to the phone line and the caller claimed to be the owner’s father, saying that he would love to speak with his son.
The police asked him to describe how his son, Yau, looked like, and the father said he was short and dark complexioned. A credible police source said that this further raised suspicion about the suspect since he was fair in complexion and tall. The deceased’s father disclaimed Bello, appealing to the police to make him disclose where his son was.
That was when the suspect confessed to his impersonating Yau, telling the operatives of his real names. However, he adopted other lies, telling the police that as he and Yau were in the bush on their nomadic movement, heavy rain fell and as they were about crossing a river, Yau fell inside it and was swept away.
When asked to take the operatives to the river side, it was said that the suspect took them, along with the Commander, CSP Aremu, and Fulanis who joined in the search, on merry-go-rounding. The operatives and the Fulanis also went into the flowing river, following its path, but could not locate Yau’s body.
When further asked to tell the police the whereabouts of Yau, Bello told them to handle him gently, confessing to have killed him. The journey of the Monitoring Unit operatives and the suspect’s tribesmen started afresh in the bush in which they trekked for hours before Yau’s body was found buried in very thick forest where no one would have discovered the corpse.
Already decomposing five days after he was killed, Yau’s remains were picked. Yau, said to be 30 years old, was still single when killed by Bello. Saturday Tribune gathered that the deceased left his parents 20 years ago and had never gone back home, striving to build his own cattle business successfully.
He was said to have told his father of his plan to go to Ago Iwoye to establish his cattle business there, after which he would come home to marry. But he met his death before his dream and that of his parents could be fulfilled.
In an interview with Saturday Tribune, the suspect, who gave his age as 25 years and hailed from Magaira, Niger State, said that he came to Iseyin in 2022.
According to him: “I have been herding cattle since childhood. I was born into it. I came to Kara in Oyo and met a Baruku (Fulanis who have mingled with the Yoruba) and he took me as a cattle herder. From there, I met Yau. Yau took me as a labourer to graze his cows. He gave me N2,000 and I followed him to his camp where he kept his cows.
“I spent three weeks with Yau in Oyo, after which he told me he was relocating to Ago Iwoye in Ogun State. He asked me to go with him and I agreed.
“Night fell on us on the way and we looked for a place where the cows could graze. Yau bought a farmland on which the cattle would feed. After I took the cows to the farmland to graze, I came back and saw Yau lying down under a tree, sleeping. I left the cows to wander in the bush and went back to the camp to lie down also.
“When Yau saw this, he was annoyed. He took his stick and wanted to hit me with it, but I deftly dodged him and quickly and forcefully hit him with my own club on the forehead. He fell down and dazed, looked at me. I hit him at same spot again and again until he was unable to get up. I left him there, took all his cows and ran away that night.”
He continued: “As I was moving with the cows and sheep, I saw another camp behind a polytechnic in Iseyin and took the animals there. I begged a herder in the camp to help me look after the cows, telling them I would soon be back.
“I went to a cow market. In the evening, I came back with the herder to the camp, settled the cows on a spot and slept. The following day, I called a man dealing in cow sales and told him I wanted to sell out of the ones I own. I sold two out of the 20 cows with me. I sold the big one for N600,000 and the small one for N350,000. The cow dealer asked me to come to Kara Market to collect the money.
“I didn’t know that I was suspected of stealing the cows. On getting there, the people there had gathered and I was apprehended. Police were called and I was taken to their office in Iseyin and my phone was collected from me. The day after I was arrested, I was brought out for interrogation. A number called on the phone and they asked the caller whether the owner of the phone was tall and fair, in reference to my looks, but the person responded in the negative, telling them that the owner was dark and short.
“The police told me to tell them the truth, as it was obvious that I was lying. They asked for the owner of the cows, asking me to show them where he was. I took the police to a river, telling them that the owner fell into it.
“After taking the police to the riverside and they did not see the corpse, they continued to interrogate me, asking me to show them where the corpse was. I eventually took them to Suku where I killed Yau.”
When asked why he told such a lie that the cattle owner fell into the river, he replied that he was afraid. If his master’s killing was not deliberate and he was afraid, why did he claim ownership of his cattle and also took his phone? he was asked. The suspect simply responded again that it was because he was afraid.
“That was what Allah said would happen,” he said. On whether God destined him to do evil to a fellow human being, Bello, who spoke softly without exhibiting any emotion, responded: “God did not say I should kill anyone and pack his property, but since He is our creator and is the one who will take our lives, definitely, anything that happens is through Him. If God did not approve of it, Yau would not have died for me to take over his property.”
When asked if he would have loved to be killed if he were to be in the same shoes as Yau, he said: “Thanks to Allah that I was not killed. It was the Police who saved my life. If not, I would have been killed by our tribesmen also. God did not sign my death warrant, that is why I’m still alive.”
When asked of the information that he buried the victim in a shallow grave before leaving, the suspect denied it, saying that he just left him where he laid in the bush after he hit him and he became still. On why the body was eventually found covered with soil, Bello claimed ignorance of that fact.
CP Hamzat said that investigation into the suspect’s act was still ongoing