A 21-year-old footballer, Samuel Owawu, has been stabbed to death by a suspect, Adebayo Hammed, in the Ifako Ijaiye area of Lagos State, while jogging.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Owawu, who was a goalkeeper for Ifako Ijaiye United (FKJ United), was allegedly attacked by a gang led by Hammed, aka Eiye, on Friday because the footballer reportedly refused to give them money.
It was gathered that Owawu, who hailed from the Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, was planning to travel to Europe for a football trial in a few weeks’ time.
It was learnt that around 7am, while Owawu was preparing to go out for jogging, Hammed and two hoodlums, whose names had yet to be ascertained, had come to the deceased’s apartment on Eyiowuawi Street, and had demanded a sum of N500 from him before he could jog in the area.
The deceased was said to have given them N500 before they left his house.
Correspondent gathered that Owawu left the house after some minutes, and started his usual morning jogging in the area.
When the goalkeeper got to Ashiarobi Street, Hammed and the two others allegedly met him and demanded more money from the footballer.
An argument was said to have ensued between the parties, during which Owawu was stabbed. The hoodlums reportedly fled the scene.
Residents, who witnessed the attack, were said to have rushed the footballer to a general hospital in Iju where he died. Correspondents gathered that the matter was reported at the Pen Cinema Police Division and Hammed was arrested, while the two others were still at large.
When PUNCH Metro visited the area on Saturday, a crowd of sympathisers gathered at Owawu’s residence.
One of the goalkeeper’s team mates, Richard Sodje, said Owawu collected N1,000 from him to settle the hoodlums when they came to the house, adding that he was shocked to realise that they attacked and killed Owawu a few minutes later.
He said, “It was around 7.30am. Hammed and his cohorts came and were shouting, ‘Where is Sam, where is Sam?’ We are going to attack him if he does not give us money. I was in my room. I was listening to their loud voices. Sam (Owawu) came to me to collect N1,000 and he went out to meet them and gave them N500. They were happy and they left.
“Minutes later, as was his custom, Sam left the house in sportwear. Barely 10 minutes after he left for training, one of our friends rushed to the house to say the hoodlums had waylaid and stabbed Sam.
“I was shocked. I rushed to the place and I saw him in a pool of blood. He was taken to a general hospital, but he died.
“He was our goal keeper at the club. He used to go out for jogging every morning. His death is a shock to all of us. I learnt he was going to travel soon.”
A relation, who identified himself as Owawu’s uncle, but did not want his name in print, said, “What I heard was that some touts came to meet him in the house, and they later stabbed him while he was jogging. I am still baffled why they killed him. One of the attackers has been arrested, but they are three in number.”
A fan, who had been following the deceased’s football career, told PUNCH Metro that Owawu’s team won the Agege Principal Cup in 2014.
He said, “In 2014, his club won the Principal Cup in the Agege area. He was planning to travel to Europe for trial. It was the information that the thugs probably got and wanted to extort money from him.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed Hammed’s arrest, adding that investigation was ongoing.
She said, “Twenty-two-year-old Hammed allegedly stabbed Owawu to death and he has been arrested by the police. Effort is on to get others, but Hammed will soon be charged to court.”