Doctor’ Ishola Oyenusi, A Notorious Nigerian Robber.
‘Doctor’ Ishola Oyenusi is a name etched in the
history of Nigeria as one of the most violent armed
robbers, a criminal who unleashed boundless terror on
many Nigerians. But who was he and what did he do
that his name was associated with
so much notoriety?
The Nigerian Civil War had just ended in 1970 but by
the early 1970s, a stone-hearted armed robber,
Ishola Oyenusi (he called himself Dr. Oyenusi
even. if he never finished the secondary school),
was terrorising all of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest commercial
centre. Before one tale of his daring exploits died down,
another one had sprung up. Oyenusi was no ordinary
pilferer, this snitcher was downright. wicked and had all
the self-confidence
in the world. to go with it.
And you know something? He was quite romantic
and chivalrous. There was a story of how he
snatched his first car on Herbert Macaulay Road in Yaba,
Lagos. Why? His girlfriend was broke. He eventually sold
the car for N400 but the sad part
was that in the process of stealing the car, the poor
owner was shot dead. He actually snatched the first car
he saw on the road. Such was the ferocious
nature of his audacity.
Oyenusi’s arrogance was also legendary. In 1970,
he was arrested and handcuffed by a police officer.
As the policeman was ordering him around, Oyenusi
blasted him and thundered:
‘People like you don’t talk to me like that when I am
armed. I gun them down.‘
Hmmm, but that was not all. Oyenusi was so feared
that when the famed movie director, Chief Eddie
Ugbomah made a film titled The Rise and Fall of Dr.
Oyenusi in 1977, there was no one bold enough to
come forward to act the role of the armed robber
because they feared his members would show them
shege. Ugbomah had no other option but to act the
role himself with the feature film depicting the
senseless violence of armed robberies and the
absolutely atrocious manner by which lives of
innocent Nigerians were snuffed out. But there was
one interesting thing that happened: a medical
doctor by the name of Dr. Oyenusi was so mad at
the film producer that he headed for the court trying to
stop the shooting of the movie.
Actually, Ugbomah was threatened. He received a
letter from thieves who invaded and looted his
provision store, carting away all they could. In the
letter, they promised to return his goods if he would
only stop shooting the film in which he exposed the
support received by the armed robbers from their
‘godfathers’ and even high-ranking officers in the
Nigerian Armed Forces. The stubborn Ugbomah
called their bluff and went ahead with the
16mm-flick (kindly send us a clip of this film if you have
Ugbomah would later produce many other films such
as Death of a Black President (1983), Esan (Nemesis),
The Mask and Vengeance of the Cult in 1985.
In the 1970s, Oyenusi was no doubt the uncrowned
emperor of Nigerian robbers and he is described as
the ‘first celebrated armed robber in Nigeria’. He is
regarded by some as the pioneer of conventional
armed robbery in Nigeria. When Oyenusi reigned at
the height of his regal confidence, he declared:
‘The bullet has no power.‘
As at that time, armed robbers were condemned to
death and thousands joyfully came out to ‘enjoy’
the grisly public executions before the firing squad on
the pristine beaches of Lagos. Although Nigeria no
longer has very ‘famous’ bandits and thieves like
Anini (at teh age of 26, Lawrence Nomayagbon
Anini was the most notorious robber in Nigeria),
Babatunde Folorunsho, Monday Osunbor, Shina
Rambo, Buraimoh Jimoh, Oyenusi, ‘Mighty Joe’,
‘Captain Blood’ and George Iyamu (a former Deputy
Superintendent of Police who was Anini’s collaborator),
armed robbery is nonetheless a major
problem in the nation.


By oluwakiddo Posted in Music