You might have watched the movie titled ‘Oyenusi’ produced
by veteran Nollywood actor, Odunlade Adekola but there are still some
dark parts of the notorious armed robber that was not revealed in the
This is the real story of Ishola Oyenusi aka Doctor Oyenusi
Ishola Oyenusi, popularly known as Doctor Oyenusi,
was a notorious armed robber who terrorized the people of Lagos and
other neighboring cities in the 1970s. Ishola Oyenusi and his gang of
six were highly skilled in snatching cars, robbing banks, factories,
stores and killing people like chickens.
Doctor 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
Oyenusi started off his robbery career by snatching a car (whose
owner died in the process) just because his (Oyenusi) girlfriend needed
some money. It was said by some people that Oyenusi was romantic.
He sold the car at the price of N400 and gave the money to his
girlfriend. It was also said that Oyenusi was hot tempered and arrogant.
During his arrest, he thundered down on a police officer who was ushering him around. He said, “people like you don’t talk to me like that when I’m armed, I gun them down!”
Oyenusi came into 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, Oyenusi bragged that “the bullet has no power“. He probably forgot that he who live by the sword will surely die by the sword.
Oyenusi was so infamous that he was regarded by some people as the “first celebrated armed robber in Nigeria“, and after him was Lawrence Anini, Babatunde Folorunsho (Baba oni lace), Shina Rambo, Buraimo Jimoh and others.
However, nothing lasts forever, and as the 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 were as
follows: 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.
carrying Oyenusi and his executors arrived at the execution ground
around 10:am. Doctor Oyenusi, his gang members and one other criminal
got down slowly. People jeered and booed them, especially Oyenusi who
they had really trooped out to watch die.Oyenusi
donned a dark long-sleeve shirt and had his hands tied behind him. 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.Few
minutes before he was shot, Oyenusi told journalists that he would not
have ventured into armed robbery if his parents were capable of sending
him to secondary school.He also said “I am dying for the offense I have committed“.
Oyenusi and other criminals were fastened to the stakes. 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 criminal’s body 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.
This fear lasted long that even in 1977, the veteran movie director, Eddie Ugbomah, called for actors to play the role of Oyenusi in a movie he was about to produce titled “The Rise and Fall of Dr. Oyenusi“, but no actor was brave enough to step forward to play the role.They
all feared that Oyenusi’s boys might show them pepper. Eddie Ugbomah
had no choice than to play the role of Oyenusi himself. In the movie, he
revealed the secrets of top Nigerian officials and military men backing
Oyenusi and his gang by providing them money and weapons.As
expected, Eddie Ugbomah was threatened and later, his store was looted.
He was told in a letter to stop shooting the movie and everything would
be returned to him. But Eddie Ugbomah proved not to be a coward by
eventually releasing the movie in 1977.In recent times, a Nollywood actor, Odunlade Adekola, also released a movie (Oyenusi) detailing the life of Ishola Oyenusi, the notorious Nigerian armed robber.
The name Ishola Oyenusi will forever be remembered in the history of crime in Nigeria.