Ishola Oyenusi is the first celebrated Nigerian armed robber notoriously known as Dr Oyenusi. Ishola Oyenusi was a terror. He and his gang carried about operations in Lagos city and neighbouring states.
In the early 70s, Ishola Oyenusi terrorized Nigerians with car jackings, armed robbery and murder.
His series of crimes included armed robbery, car jacking, and murder. He robbed banks and looted stores. He called himself Dr Oyenusi just to be fancy. He was far from a medical doctor.
Much is not know about is family and personal life It is however known that he came from a poor background which ultimately led him to a life of crime.
His parents couldn’t afford his secondary school education so he had to drop out.
Ishola Oyenusi first noted criminal act was an act of love. His girlfriend needed some money badly so Oyenusi went ahead to snatch a car.
He killed the owner of the vehicle. He got N400 from stealing the car and gave it to his girlfriend.
This is the reason why he was sometimes said to be the romantic armed robber. He had a mean streak in him also as he was hot headed and very arrogant even to the law.
Reign of terror
Ishola Oyenusi professional criminal life started after the civil war in 1970. Dr Oyenusi and his gang of robbers went on a spree robbing banks and killing people in cold blood. His knack for killing his victims made people call him “Doctor Rob and Kill.”
Ishola Oyenusi’s reign of terror come to a quick end the following year. On March 27, 1971, the long hands of the law caught up with him
The Nigerian Police Force caught him during an armed robbery operation in which a police officer was killed in the shoot out. Justice was swift for the daredevil killer. He was sentenced to death.
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Death sentence and execution
During those days, a death sentence was followed by public execution by a firing squad at the Lagos Bar Beach.
It was a regular occurrence in Lagos People will come out in their thousands to watch soldiers publicly execute criminals.
On the day of Dr Oyenusi’s execution, it was reported that 30,000 Nigerians showed up to see his end. They were happy to watch the end of his terror. Civil servants reportedly showed up at the beach with a fake coffin to mock the armed robber.
At 10 a.m Oyenusi and his gang were brought in trucks. People booed them as they slowly got down and marched towards their death.
According to Old Naija, Oyenusi 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.”
After journalists interviewed the criminals, the soldiers pointed the gun at them and fired. That was to be the end of Ishola Oyenusi.
What happened after the execution
Six years later, veteran Nigerian filmmaker Eddie Ugbomah decided to shoot a movie about Ishola Oyenusi. Actors did not show up for his auditions. They feared that the remaining members of Oyenusi’s gang will hunt them down and kill them.
When no one was forthcoming, Eddie Ugbomah played the role of the armed robber in the movie titled ” Rise and Fall of Oyenusi” released in 1979.
Eddie Ugbomah got some blow back for his action. Because the movie also revealed secrets of officers of the military and Nigerian officials who allegedly backed Oyenusi, his life was threatened and his store was looted.
In 2015, popular Yoruba movie actor Odunlade Adekola starred in a movie called “Oyenusi” an action film about a notorious armed robber.