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Iyalode Alaba Lawson

How I escaped from assassins, by Alaba Lawson
By Ernest Nwokolo

Three years after fleeing Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, for Lagos to escape the assassins’ bullets, Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief (Mrs.) Alaba Lawson, broke her silence yesterday on the assassination attempt on her on December 21, 2008.

Chief Lawson said she could not believe she could “walk” through the valley of “death” and come out unscathed when unknown gunmen broke into her home on Quarry Road, Abeokuta at 2am and attempted to gain entry into her bedroom after killing her guard, Mr. Yusuf.

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The gunmen, she said, struck on the day she finished her 21 days prayer and fasting” to seek God’s protection, stressing that about a week or two before the assassins visited, she had been “having goose pimples” and became afraid because of a strange visitor that kept calling on her guard.

“Because of the strange feelings I was having then, I collected all my keys from my guard and started locking my doors by myself. When they came, they tried the door; they opened it but couldn’t enter. I don’t know what they did to the four Alsatian dogs, they were not barking.

“In the morning I discovered that the dogs which were earlier released had been herded into the cages and locked. My guard was gruesomely murdered. Only God knows what they would have done if they had seen me,” she said.

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Narrating her experience at a reunion with members of the Ogun State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lawson said for three hours that seemed nightmarish and interminable, the suspected “murderers” seized her residence in their desperate bid to locate her hideout and ostensibly kill her.

Her ordeal, she noted, was made more harrowing by the fact that there was power outage in the neighbourhood, making it difficult for neighbours to be aware that attempt was being made to assassinate her.

She attributed her escape to divine intervention and telephone calls made to eminent Nigerians including former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, which made the police to mobilise to the scene and caused the gunmen to flee after hours of siege. 

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“I’m alive today, a living soul, but it is one incident I will never forget throughout my life. Though I walked through the shadows of death, I feared no evil. The staff of Jehovah comforted me. All those things are by-gone because it pleases Jehovah that I should live.  

“When Alaafin made me the Iyalode of Yorubaland, they threatened that he would be killed. They threatened that I would be killed also, but Alaafin resisted the threats.”

The Iyalode who had earlier held a thanksgiving at St. James African Church, Idi-Ape, Abeokuta, commended the Ajisafe Group, a social organisation that provided 24-hour guard for her while the security challenge lasted.

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Source: The Nation

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