A Nigerian Magazine Blog

THE STORY OF THE RISE AND FALL OF Dr. ISHOLA OYENUSI:Nigeria’s First Celebrated Armed Robber – Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna


HISTORY — With Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna


Nigeria has had its fair share of daredevil armed robbers who both stole money and headlines.

After Ishola, can the likes of Anini, Shina Rambo etc whom readily come to mind as Nigeria’s most famous armed robbers.
In the 60s & early 70s, Dr. ishola was Terror Personalified as far as armed robber is concerned.
Eventually becaming Nigeria first celebrated Armed Robber.


He was known as Ishola Oyenusi (or notoriously known as Dr Oyenusi). Ishola Oyenusi was a real real real Terror.

In the Nigeria Books of Crimes, Dr. Ishola Oyenusi’s full range of crimes included Snatching cars, robbing banks, factories, stores and killing people like chickens.


Doctor Oyenusi, as he was fondly called, was not a medical doctor by Profession, Neither was he an Academic Doctor. He Only adopted the title ‘DOCTOR’ for the fun of it. The evidence of this lies in the Confession he made few minutes before he was executed.

Ishola 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, Dr Ishola Oyenusi could not have been a medical or academic doctor (But Maybe a Crime Doctor)

Ishola Oyenusi’s Life :

Ishola Oyenusi is from Oyo State, Nigeria. Other part of his background are really Sketchy.
But what is established is that, Ishola Oyenusi is from a Poor Family.

This was the reason why his parents couldn’t afford his secondary school education, which led to ishola dropping out of Secondary School.

This was also the ultimately reason ishola gave as to what led him into a life of armed robbery and Crime.

Ishola Oyenusi started his robbery Career as early as far back as 1959.

But, Ishola Oyenusi sprang out of the wreckage of the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War.
He was a charismatic,cocksure gangster whose lordly disdain for the law cast the terrifying portent of social breakdown.

Ishola Oyenusi the love Doctor :

His first noted criminal act would be 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.

The reason why he was sometimes said to be a romantic armed robber.

Oyenusi was also hot tempered/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!”


Ishola Oyenusi’s Reign of Terror:

Ishola Oyenusi came into limelight after the Nigerian civil war ended in 1970. 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.

Dr. Oyenusi 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“.
Dr. No Mercy etc

At the height of his horrific reign, Dr. Oyenusi bragged that “the bullet has no power“.
He probably forgot that he who live by the sword will surely die by the sword.

Dr. Ishola Oyenusi’s Earthly judgement :

However, nothing lasts forever, and as the adage says, everyday belongs to the thief while a day belongs to the owner.

On 27th of March, 1971,Oyenusi was nabbed by the police during one of his robbery operations on a WAHUM factory.

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.

Dr Oyenusi then confessed that he would not die alone because he did not commit the crimes alone.
He then gave out the names of other members of the gang, which were ;
Joseph Osamedike,
Ambrose Nwokobia,
Joel Amamieye,
Philip Ogbolumain,
Ademola Adegbitan,
and Stephen Ndubuokwu.

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.

The sands of the Bar Beach has soaked the blood of so many Nigeria’s both criminals and Innocent.
In 1983, Popular Nigeria Actor Nkem Owoh’s (Osofia) brother was also Erroneously Executed by Buhari in this same Bar Beach.

This is the same Spot were ‘EKO’ ATLANTIC’ is situated.

Ishola Oyenusi at his Public Execution at the Lagos Bar Beach in 1971:

On the day of Dr Oyenusi’s execution, it was reported that 30,000 Nigerians showed up to see his end.
They were happily and excitedly waiting to see the man who had terrorized them get riddled by hot bullets.


Some Nigeria Civil Servants even brought a Coffin to Bar Beach the Venue of the Execution ground, so as to mock the once mighty robber kingpin who was now nothing but a scapegoat whose breath would be exhausted in any moment.

Oyenusi brought to the Venue :

By 10am, Trucks carrying Oyenusi and his Executors arrived at the execution ground. Dr. 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”.

Dr Ishola Oyenusi’s Warning Against a Life of Crime:

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 then warned others against following his life of crime. According to him “Crime does not pay in the long run”.

Dr. Ishola Oyenusi and other criminals were fastened to their various 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….Ready….Ready…. Ready “FIRE“!
Ishola 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.

Why was Ishola Oyenusi Smiling While on tied to the Stake?

Probably, Ishola Oyenusi smiled at the stake during his execution, because he foresaw his evil legacy of Crimes in Nigeria.
Because, Beyond Oyenusi loomed a systematic collapse of order that later long outlived him.

In years to come, other celebrity crime lords would follow; eventually, armed robbery proliferated into a frightfully ubiquitous feature of life in Lagos; and Nigeria atlarge.

The Nigeria Government disturbingly unable to combat the plague Systematically, its Agencies would Occasionally resort to high-profile Executions Instead.
And provided that the Culprit’s fund misappropriations were not of the retail street-crime variety.
That why No Public wholesale Corruption Criminal (Government Treasury Looters), have ever been Publicly executed in Nigeria.

The Film’s Dr. About Ishola Oyenusi the Armed Robber :

This fear lasted long even up until 1977.
Six years after his execution, Veteran Nigerian Movie director Eddie Ugbomah, Called Actors to come and Audition for the role of playing Ishola Oyenusi in a Movie he was about

to produce based on his flamboyant gangster’s life, titled “The Rise and Fall of Dr. Oyenusi“.

But, Actors did not show up for his auditions. They all feared that the remaining members of Oyenusi’s gang will hunt them down and kill them.

When no one was forthcoming, Eddie Ugbomah had no other Choice than to played the role of the Armed Robber in the movie titled ” Rise and Fall of Oyenusi” released in 1979.

In the movie, he revealed the secrets of top Nigerian officials and military men backing Oyenusi and

his gang by providing them with money and weapons for their robbery Operations.

As expected, Eddie Ugbomah got some blow back for his action. his life was threatened and his Video production equipments at his warehouse store was Stolen/looted.

Eddie Ugbomah was later told through a letter he was sent, 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 1979.



Ogaga Onokwakpor

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