When the police and the emergency services arrived the scene of the incident, attempts were made to resuscitate Bola but he succumbed to the severe injuries he had suffered from the attack a little later, noted Kristof Aerts of the Antwerp public prosecutor’s office.
Bola was well known in the African Community in Antwerp where he ran a thriving money transfer business. The police discovered on arrival that the 55-year-old had been seriously injured, including a fatal stab to his left chest. They found currency notes all over the counter and on the floor, some in the pool of the deceased blood.
The public prosecutor’s office has requested the investigating judge to treat the incident provisionally as robbery, stressing that the police will check all camera images to unravel how the murder was carried out and those responsible. It was the third attack on the Nigerian at the same business premises. In one of the attacks in August 2015, two masked robbers beat him up with their gun and stabbed him in the abdomen. The perpetrators were trapped in the escape car together with their driver. They were sentenced in 2017 to prison terms of three and four years.
At that trial, Bola testified of how that brutal robbery had changed his life. “I have been unable to work for two years because of nightmares, insomnia.” His lawyer Tim Smet stated that Bola was frightened, but that he still continued to work. “That man had built a well-functioning business and he didn’t want to give up that. He always said: “I can only do this. What else would I do to make money?”
A compatriot of Bola, who gave her name as Tina and resides in the Bisschopstraat neighbourhood, said she sometimes heard Bola complain about the risk of robberies. “He had installed security cameras as safety measures. Moreover, he kept his private residence in Antwerp as secret as possible. His wife and three children still lived in Germany. He went to them during the weekend.”
The news of the brutal killing of Bola devastated the African Community, Suma Foday, from Sierra Leone who once received support from Bola declared, “Bola never sent people who asked him for help home empty-handed. Sometimes he was too good. He recently complained to me that a customer refused to repay him a loan of €1000. Bola had informed the man that he would disgrace him in the media if he did not repay. Of course he wouldn’t really do that, but it shows that he sometimes had to nag to get his money back.”
Since Bola was killed days ago, speculation has been rife in the African/Nigerian Community as to who could have carried out the dastardly act. “Perhaps they are the same perpetrators as in 2015. We have heard that the perpetrators from that time served their sentences and were released. Maybe this time they have come to take revenge,” declares neighbour Tina.