Amid tears,the remains of a Nigerian banker, Daniel Orogun, who died in Liberia was at the weekend interred at the Ikoyi Vaults, Lagos. Orogun who was Managing Director (MD) of Guarantee Trust Bank’s (GTB) Liberia branch was said to have drowned in a Liberia river on January 24, while on a boat cruise with his wife, three children as well as a bank customer, George Kailondo who invited them for dinner and three others. But Orogun’s family who spoke last Thursday for the first time since he died, said the deceased was murdered by Kailondo and his accomplice identified as Michael.
They want the federal government to prevail on its Liberian counterpart to ensure justice was served, insisting that Kailondo had motives to kill the deceased. The spokesperson for the family, Pastor Felix Orogun who stated their position, described as untrue, reports that the deceased was celebrating his wedding anniversary when he fell into the water and drowned. Pastor Orogun said the family took time to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of his younger brother, adding that it was a clear case of murder.
“It is not true that my brother was celebrating his wedding anniversary when he drowned in the water. Besides, my brother was a very good swimmer and there was no way he would have drowned in that water which is calmer than the Lagos lagoon. “I was in Liberia for two weeks investigating my brother’s death. And the true position is that George Kailondo had a motive to kill him. He wanted to float an airline across the west coast (Kailondo airline), and wanted the bank (GTB) to fund it. “But my brother refused because after investigation by an aviation expert, it was discovered that Kailondo was not ready to float an airline. Because he had gone on air to say he was starting an airline and my brother told him the things he needed to do before the bank will fund the project, he saw my brother as a stumbling block.
“It was not the first time he invited him for dinner. He has been inviting him since last year but my brother never honoured it. He was to go last November but as he was about to enter his car, the door accidentally chopped off his thump and he was flown to Ghana for surgery. Maybe, that was the day he would have been dead. “But this time around, Kailondo invited my brother and his family for dinner. It was a Sunday and by the time he returned home after church service, he received three phone calls in quick succession from Kailondo on the invitation.
“My brother reluctantly told his wife, Isioma of the need to honour the invitation from Kailondo, a major customer of the bank. He was reluctant because he does not like missing football matches involving Arsenal and the team was to play with Chelsea that day.
“So, he phoned a friend of his to keep him informed of developments in the match, and then he took a bottle of wine and some soft drinks for the children to Kailondo’s place. On getting to the host’s house, the man offered them drink, but Daniel went to his vehicle and brought the drinks he had brought from home. “Kailondo then suggested that they should go for a boat ride so that by the time they returned, dinner would be ready. He took them to the boat, Daniel and his children first entered. His wife was a bit sceptical at first, but eventually entered, not wanting to stay away from her family.
“They all entered the boat only to discover that there was no life jacket. In the boat that was steered by Kailondo, Daniel’s wife said there were two other men seated at the rear. There was also a diver named Micheal, who was following them on Jet Skii.
“Isioma said she demanded for life jacket and other safety procedure before the boat drove off but they were assured there was no cause for alarm as expirienced divers were with them.” Continuing, Pastor Orogun said his brother’s wife disclosed that the journey was smooth until Kailondo suggested that they go into the high sea, which she and her late husband refused.
“They then stopped, relaxed and were chatting while Dan was responding to news on football game going on through his phone. Music was on in the boat. Dan was on the back seat. Kailondo emptied part of his whiskey into Dan’s cup but my brother saw him and reminded him that it was his own cup, at which point his wife took it away to prevent him from drinking from it. “While everyone was relaxed, Kailondo was dancing and watching Dan who was busy on his phone. Then, unexpectedly, Kailondo started the engine with high speed and made an almost 360 degrees turn anti-clockwise. The children and Isioma lost balance and fell inside the boat, while Dan was thrown inside the river. But the two young men who were at the nose of boat did not fall. It shows they were prepared for the move.
“Before this happened, Micheal, the diver who was following them on Jet Skii and and displaying some acrobatics had disappeared. The young men who Kailondo had also said were divers did not make any attempt to save Dan. “Instead of Kailondo to stop after realising that Dan was in the water, he rode for few minutes even as Isioma and the children were screaming that they should stop and rescue him or throw a rope towards Dan who was already swimming in the boat’s direction. “Isioma was fighting hard to prevent their young children who wanted to jump into the river to help Dan and at the same time, begging Kailondo and the other men to assist her husband by throwing the rescue rope to him but they all refused. “At this point, the wife who sensed foul play, started making telephone calls to other boat owners they know, to come and help her husband. When Kailondo saw what was happening, he reluctantly removed his shirt, jumped into the river, swam towards Dan and held him from behind, apparently to incapacitate him.
“The next thing my brother’s wife and children noticed was that both men sank, they were under water for sometime and later Kailondo came out of the water from another side without Dan. Shortly after, the said Jet Skii diver, Micheal, resurfaced from another end of the water too. But Dan was not seen again. “At this time, those Isioma called with her telephone, including some members of the United Nations Peace Keeping corps in Liberia had arrived and were looking for Dan. Isioma challenged Kailondo before them and told them that he took her husband under water but he claimed that a force pulled Dan down, that he saw blood and that the river was boiling so he left Dan and fled. He claimed it was witchcraft and that Dan was gone,” he said.
The family wondered where Micheal was while the incident lasted? Why Kailondo refused all appeal to throw the rescue rope to Dan who was swimming towards the boat, but instead went into the water and held him from the back with his hands clipped to his body to prevent him from swimming? It accused Kailondo of plotting the death of their brother as well as motive to kill his wife and children to erase all suspicion. It described the reappearance of Michael, shortly after Kailondo came out of the water as “no coincidence”, just as they expressed fears of getting justice since Liberia’s chief of Police was Kailondo’s in law.
“While we are grateful to the Liberian government for the actions they have taken since they came into the picture, I want to appeal to the Director, Liberia’s National Police, Clarence Massquol to not allow his family ties with George Kailondo affect justice in the case. The suspects ought to have been in police custody, not to be roaming the streets of Monrovia with impunity. “We are also appealing to the Nigerian government to take steps to ensure that the death of its citizen under suspicious circumstances is not thrown under the carpet. We believed perhaps the death of our brother has not been taken seriously by Nigeria because of the ineffectiveness of the Nigeria mission in Monrovia following the recall of the former High Commissioner. “We are willing to drag this matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to get justice for our brother. “We are also appealing to the bank to consider giving all his four children scholarship to the university level, since he dedicated over 24 years of his life in their service and was a committed employee,” said Pastor Orogun.
According to Pastor Orogun, the suspect ‘s plan to kill the banker and his family could not materialise because of the rescue teams that were called by his wife Isioma, adding that Michael acted as his accomplice in Dan’s murder. “Our position is that Kailondo never knew Dan was a good swimmer. This fact complicated his plan of killing Dan and his entire family, as well as made his intention of inviting the entire family clear. Another thing he did not know was that Dan did not drink the whiskey he poured into his cup to get him drunk.
“We are aware that George Kailondo has been sponsoring all the lies that were being fed to the Liberia press. I must put on record that Daniel knew how to swim; he did not go to Kailondo’s house to celebrate any wedding anniversary but himself and his family were invited by George Kailondo. “In his desperation to cover up his evil, Kailondo has gone to put life jackets in his boat. We know that he is desperate to escape justice, but he is under a divine woe and judgment already.
“This incident happened less than half nautical mile from Kailondo’s compound. While rescue efforts were still ongoing at about 8:30pm, Kailondo went to bed and told some of the rescuers that my brother was gone. “It is also curious that all efforts to find Daniel under water that day failed. It was until the morning of the third day that his body resurfaced at the very place it all happened. The clothe he was wearing, which I saw at the murtuary had mud stains, not white sand. culled www.thenationonlineng.net