The Real Story of Ishola Oyenusi – Nigeria’s Deadliest Armed Robber in the 1970’s

Ishola, popularly known as Doctor Oyenusi, was a notorious armed robber who terrorized the people of Lagos and other neighbouring cities in the 1970s. Ishola Oyenusi and his gang of six were highly skilled in snatching cars, robbing banks, factories, stores and killing people

Dr Oyenusi, as he was called, was not a doctor by profession but adopted the title for the fun of it. The evidence lies in a confession he made few minutes before his execution.

He confessed that his parents were not capable of furthering his secondary school education and that was what forced him into robbery.
So without having a secondary school education, Oyenusi by no way could have been a medical doctor.

He came into the limelight after the Nigerian civil war ended in 1970. He robbed banks and people in both daylight and night, and he never let any of his victims live to see another day; he killed them all! This earned him the name “Doctor rob and kill“.

At the height of his horrific reign, Ishola Oyenusi bragged that “the bullet has no power“. He probably forgot that he who live by the sword will surely die by the sword.

His arrest.

However, nothing lasts forever, and as the Yoruba adage says, everyday belongs to the thief while a day belongs to the owner.

On the 27th of March, 1971, Oyenusi was nabbed by the police during one of his robbery operations in which he and his notorious gang killed a police constable named Mr. Nwi and stole $28,000 as at then.

Cloud of shame hovered above Doctor Ishola Oyenusi as he was casted before the law and found guilty then sentenced to death by firing squad.
Oyenusi confessed that he was not to die alone because he did not commit the crimes alone

He vomited the names of other members of the gang which included: Joseph Osamedike, Ambrose Nwokobia, Joel Amamieye, Philip Ogbolumain, Ademola Adegbitan and Stephen Ndubuokwu.

Back then, public execution was the order of the day, so when Oyenusi was ushered to the popular Bar Beach in Lagos where he was to be executed, over 30,000 Nigerians were happily and excitedly waiting to see the man who had terrorized them get riddled by hot bullets.

It was said that some civil servants even brought a coffin to the execution ground to mock the once mighty robber kingpin who was now nothing but a scapegoat whose breath would be exhausted in any moment.

He was sweating profusely but managed to smile all the way to the stakes. He kept smiling, smiling and smiling but could still not hide the agony and terror written boldly on his face.

The soldiers lined in front of them and aimed their ever-ready guns. Some of the criminals yelled their last words of protest at the cameras. Then a loud voice let out the word “fire”! Oyenusi and other criminals’ bodies were sprayed with bullets.

That was the bitter end of Ishola Oyenusi who lived by the bullets and died by the bullets. The execution of Doctor Ishola Oyenusi sent the streets of Lagos deserted at night. Families locked themselves behind doors for the fear that some of Oyenusi’s boys might retaliate.

Naija Exhibit

Political analyst and Writer

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