Dr. Toyin Hamzat
By Olawale Olaleye and Gboyega Akinsanmi and Sheriff Balogun
Dr. Toyin Hamzat, a former Special Adviser on Health to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, was on Sunday shot dead by unknown gunmen in Sagamu, Ogun State.
Hamzat, a devout Muslim, was buried Monday at about 2 pm in his hometown in Ijebu-Aiyepe, also in Ogun State, according to Islamic rites.
Although, details of his death were sketchy, THISDAY gathered that the deceased had dropped off a female companion when he was attacked in front of the woman’s house in Sagamu GRA at about 9.30 pm.
Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed his death and the arrest of suspects, told THISDAY that the late Hamzat, who drove in his Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicle had taken the woman to her house and as she stepped out of the car, his attackers, who had come in a taxi and were obviously lying in ambush, opened fire on him.
The woman, other sources said, was one of the wives of the Sagamu Commander of the Ogun State Vigilante Group.
According to sources, the vigilante commander had once encountered Hamzat in the woman’s house and had warned him after an intense argument to stay away from her.
The Sunday killing, sources said, might not be unconnected to the fact that the man suspected Hamzat was having an affair with his wife.
Already, the police have arrested the woman, her husband and three of the people working with the man in connection with the killing.
While the police said it was premature to disclose the motive behind the killing, they added that it was a clear case of murder because the woman told them that she and Hamzat had noticed the two taxis trailing them and that eyewitnesses also confirmed that those who opened fire on Hamzat were from the taxis.
The police said while they could not tell if the woman’s husband had killed Hamzat, preliminary investigation showed that he had some connection with the suspected killers.
Adejobi told THISDAY Monday night that “five suspects have been arrested and are being interrogated in connection with the killing and we are making progress.”
The late politician was reportedly seen last on Saturday in Ago-Iwoye area of Ogun State during the burial ceremony of Oladimeji Sofowora’s mother, an aide of Fashola.
Meanwhile, Fashola condemned the killing and described Hamzat’s death as most unfortunate, shocking and heart rending, adding that it should not be swept under the carpet.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Hakeem Bello, “It was indeed a supreme irony of life that such a man of peace who gave so much in the service of his country in general and community in particular could come to such a violent end.”
The governor condoled with his Ogun counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the state government and its people as well as the immediate and extended family members of the deceased.
While praying to God to grant the widow and family members the fortitude to bear the loss, the governor described Hamzat’s assassination as a personal loss to him, Lagos State and the entire South-west family of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
A pharmacist, Hamzat who was a pioneer member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and the ACN, had served in different capacities in the party and in Lagos State.
Between 1999 and 2002, he was the chairman of Ikeja Local Government. He later became a special adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under the administration of former Governor Bola Tinubu.
Born on October 1, 1960, Hamzat attended Adeola Odutola College Ijebu Ode where he got his A’ Levels and later proceeded to the University of Lagos, Akoka where he obtained a degree in pharmacy.
He is survived by wives and children.