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The Obafemi Awolowo University massacre was a series of shootings and murders which took place against students of Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria on Saturday, July 10, 1999. It resulted in the deaths of eight people and injuring of 11, all of them students at OAU.

It was perpetrated by an organized death squad of 40 members of the Black Axe Confraternity branch at the university. They invaded the Awolowo Hall of the university at around 4:30 A.M., clad in black trousers and black T-shirts, their faces hidden by masks; they carried and made use shotguns and hatchets against students.[1]

List of victims


  • George Iwilade (secretary-general of the students' union; shot in the head on his bed, then smashed on the head by an axe wielded by one of the Black Axe members)
  • Tunde Oke (a 21-year old student activist and member of Democratic Socialist Movement, DSM, the Nigerian section of CWI).
  • Eviano Ekelemu
  • 5 others


  • Lanre Adeleke (president of the students' union; shot, barely missed death by jumping out of a second-floor balcony window)
  • 11 others

The response

At around 4 p.m., Lanre Adeleke, the president of the students' union, called an assembly of the students' union members in Oduduwa Hall; he then demanded for Vice-Chancellor Wole Omole's resignation due to Omole's past impeding of the union's anti-cult activities. A N10,000 reward was placed by the union for Omole's capture, resulting in a student takeover of the entire campus and the kidnapping and ransoming of Omole's wife, who was on her way to church on the following Sunday, July 11th.[1]

Students also erected roadblocks at the university entrances, impounded vehicles and launched vigilante searches to flush out the killers. After raiding a local police station to regain a suspect that they had turned over to the police after fears of police leniency surfaced, a suspect named Frank Idahosa Efosa admitted that he had overheard Omole being referred to as the "patron" of the Black Axes and also overheard that Omole had offered a large bounty for the deaths of the student union leaders.[1]

By July 14th, the Nigerian Universities Commission, headed by education minister Tunde Adeniran, recalled Omole from his position of Vice-Chancellor, and a multi-million naira investigation to uproot the confraternities was launched through the Nigerian university system; the Olusegun Obasanjo government, on the 15th, ordered police to patrol the university campuses.

The day before the funeral, Adeniran addressed a student union rally on the matter of the reinstatement of expelled students. Also, over N45,000 was raised by the student union, 30,000 of which went to the organization of the funeral.


The "July 10th martyrs" were buried on July 20th, 1999, on the campus in front of the Awolowo Hall. Around 20,000 people attended the funeral, including students, workers, lecturers, parents, market women, and journalists from throughout Nigeria. A local woman donated the five coffins for the dead.

Two other injured victims later died in hospital, and their funerals were held separately.

In movies

Since then,there has been many movies conveying a storyline as the incident. In 2005, a Nollywood movie titled 'Dugbe Dugbe',written and produced by the famous Yoruba movie star, Bukky Wright was produced. As usual,there was blur speculation about the relationship of the movie to the incident but these was later confirmed with the location(Obafemi Awolowo University),cast and storyline. In the movie, Africa (the prominent victim of the incident) was represented with Ladi who was killed on campus for his activism against cultism. Jibola, a known cultist who had been jailed upon conviction of committing such offenses in the past was granted clemency and fraudulently made the Students' Union Group president in order to facilitate latter investigations. The Vice-Chancellor alongside another lecturer was accused and convicted of being cultism kingpins,despite their ironic opposition to cultism. An automatic self-conviction of Prof. Omole aiding the incident was made at the movie's last scene.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hank Hyena (Monday, 2 August 1999). "When things fall apart". Retrieved 2010-02-07.

See also

External links

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