Nigeria has been threatened by so many notorious armed robbers over the years. Many are boys raised from stark poverty or consequences of military parents who never cared if their children were watching them.
Isiaka Busari was born in 1939 into a Muslim family in Itafaji, Lagos Island, he had 4 siblings. His parents were stark poor and this resulted in the death of his father and 3 of his siblings leaving him with just one sister.
He went to school till standard four where he eventually dropped out due to fees. He started hustling to support his family even as he learnt about buying and selling goods from the port. As he struggled to survive he was introduced to stealing and he later joined the Abiodun Egunjobi gang.
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Mighty Joe in no time became the most fearful area boy in Lagos and he even somehow managed to get protection from an ex-soldier who was a part of the Abiodun Egunjobi squad. He was said to have started his squad of thugs who terrorised traders and motorists Nubians in Idi-Oro. Worse still, he wasn’t just into, he was also into the Indian hemp business at Idi-Oro Mushin where he resided.
He was a political thug who earned £65 monthly (N130 in 1973, N34,000 in 2021), and N2 daily for feeding. Joe looted shops and robbed businesses, and interestingly, he even became a protection for people who do not want to be robbed and they paid him.
Some stories said Mighty Joe was a member of the Oyenusi gang while some other said he was just an area boy who knew how to play the “Fear Me Game.”
He was often sent to jail and returned to the street after his term.
However, tables turned in 1971, at the motor park where he was arrested by Police Superintendent S. Fagbuyi from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Panti, in Yaba, Lagos.
He was charged with robbing a businessman who was carrying textile materials from Apapa to Majidun bridge in Ikorodu. Joe and his gang ambushed him and stole all his goods and N400.
Prior to that time, the police already declared him wanted for seizing N10 from Micheal Osayunana, a bar attendant at Right Time Hotel.
It was a double case from anti-robbery and the CID for Mighty Joe. He was arrested and the situation did not go as it has always been as he was charged under the Robbery and Firearms Tribunal set up through Decree 1970 by the military regime of Yakubu Gowon.
On the day he was to be executed, he requested a cigarette before the officers arrived in his cell. The gates of his cell were opened as he blew smoke into the air as they took him away to where a lot of people were waiting for his execution.
When asked for his final words before being executed, Mighty Joe said; “May God bless everyone, both my friends and foes.” Tell my wife, mother, and in-law to keep fit.”