Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality – Day 55

Day 55 of Oyo State Judicial Panel in session

Table of Contents

This is a report of the fifty-fifth public hearing of the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality, Violation of Rights of Citizens and Unlawful Killings in Oyo State.

Venue: The House of Chiefs, Oyo State House of Assembly, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:50am, shortly after the arrival of the Oyo State Judicial Panel members.

Petitions for Further Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

1. Case No. OYJPPB/031

The Family of Orelope Bashit Olaide v The Nigeria Police, Igana Area Command. The family was represented by Olatunji Waheed Orelope and a legal counsel, M. O. Olagunju (Esq.). The respondent on the other hand was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent present his witness before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. With that, the witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on Bible.

The name of the witness is DSP Emmanuel Temitope Ojo. He is a police officer currently serving as the DCO1 at Felele Police Division. He was formerly serving at SARS, Dugbe. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt his written statement on oath dated June 16, 2021 as his evidence.

He said that Bashit Orelope alongside the police rifle and the thirty rounds of ammunition he was carrying on the day of the incident, have not been found up until now.

He said that Bashit Orelope and the vigilante, Sunday Adegoke he was attached with, had gone to the border town of Igana town for patrol on the 11th of January, 2020. He said that Sunday Adegoke rode the motorcycle while Bashit Orelope sat behind him carrying the rifle.

He said that Sunday Adegoke reported that while they went for the patrol, they came in contact with some armed robbers. He said that on sighting the armed robbers, Bashit jumped into the bush with the rifle he was carrying and has not been found ever since.

He said that as part of his efforts to find Bashit Orelope, he had travelled to Igana and other border towns in the region on several occasions, but all efforts were abortive.

He said that on another occasion, he went alongside his team members to comb the robbery scene where the incident which preceded Bashit’s disappearance had happened, but found nothing belonging to Bashit.

He said that Bashit’s friend and roommate with whom he was doing a poultry business, Ikechukwu James was also invited as part of the investigation in order to get information about Bashit’s whereabouts. He said that Ikechukwu James was questioned and his statement was recorded.

He said that an investigation was carried out on the case of armed robbery and missing person and the report dated 18th of November, 2020 was submitted to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police.

He said that at the beginning of the investigation, police authorities deployed officers of Intelligence Response Team, Federal SARS, Anti-Kidnapping Squad as well as the SARS at the command level, to look into the case.

He said that the officers were later asked to withdraw from the investigation because they were not familiar with the terrain. He said that he was thereafter asked to continue with the investigation as a police officer attached to SARS at the command level. He said that the team was headed by him.

He further said that in the course of the investigation, he discovered that one Busari Ibrahim was shot in the buttocks by the armed robbers. He said he made several attempts to meet Busari Ibrahim but he was told that he had been taken to another town for treatment.

He said he thereafter met with the King of the town who did his best to get him the address. He said that he paid a visit to the victim of the robbery attack. He said he visited Busari Ibrahim to ascertain if there was a robbery incident and to know what happened afterwards. He said he questioned the victim, took his photographs and left.

He said that to ensure that Bashit was found, he organised a town hall meeting which had the presence of the Chiefs and representatives from each local government, Fulani representatives and vigilantes in the region, with the help of the Federal SARS Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Agboola.

He said that in the course of the investigation, Inspector Toyin Ogunlade, who booked the gun Bashit was carrying on the said date of incident, Ikechukwu James and Sunday Adegoke were detained as suspects but were later released. He said that he was aware that Bashit’s family wrote independent petitions to the Commissioner of Police, to seek for assistance in finding Bashit.

He said that during the investigation he was not privileged to meet with Bashit’s parent. He said that he recently came in contact with Bashit’s father when he approached the station.

Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel tendered a copy of the investigation report, recorded statements and Ibrahim Busari’s photographs before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they were marked and admitted as exhibits.

The witness was thereafter cross examined by the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Olagunju and members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel.

Having heard the testimony of the witness, petition OYJPPB/031 was adjourned sine die.

2. Case No. OYJPPB/034

Mr Salami Sarafadeen v The Nigeria Police, Saki Area Command. The petitioner was absent but was represented by D. S. Olabode (Esq.). Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Olabode pointed out that the petition was last adjourned to enable the police release the petitioner’s motorcycle, but the motorcycle was yet to be released.

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah however said that the letter was addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State. He said that he inquired if a letter was received from the Police Headquarters, Eleyele yesterday but was told that the letter was yet to be received.

Therefore, he prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to write a letter of reminder to the Commissioner of Police to request the release of the motorcycle.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel expressed disappointment about how the Commissioner of Police had refused to release the motorcycle as well as respond to the letter.

With that, the petition was adjourned till June 24, 2021 to enable the police present a report about the motorcycle. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered the Secretariat to issue and serve a fresh letter on the Commissioner of Police regarding the release of the petitioner’s motorcycle.

3. Case No. OYJPPB/038

Mr Adegbite Nasiru v The Nigeria Police, Eleyele Ibadan. The petitioner was present and was represented by Abisade Oyelakin (Esq.) and Esther Ajayi (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah represented the respondent.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. However, Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment because he was yet to get in touch with his witness.

Therefore, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till June 29, 2021 for the respondent to open a defence.

Day 54 of Oyo State Judicial Panel in section

4. Case No. OYJPPB/066

Mr Jurgen Johnson v SARS, Dugbe. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. Mr Ojeah said that when he was served with the petitioner’s letter of employment and termination of appointment, he took steps to find out if the letters were genuine.

He said that he went to the said company address which was indicated on the letters as 70, Liberty Stadium Road, Ibadan, but discovered that the company was never in existence.

The petitioner was thereafter invited to the witness stand and was re-examined based on the documents he tendered before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. The petitioner affirmed that the company is still in operation at the same location but the company’s building has been renumbered by the youth as 128, during a carnival celebration.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel therefore promised to gather more information about the existence of the said company, to ascertain if the petitioner was telling the truth.

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah therefore told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that he would rely his case on the evidence of the petitioner.

With that, petition OYJPPB/066 was adjourned sine die.

5. Case No. OYJPPB/060

Comrade Segun Ogundepo v Agugu Police Division. The petitioner was present and was represented by R. A. Eyinade (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr. M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. However, Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment because his witness, Sergeant Esther Oluloro was indisposed.

In response, Mr Eyinade, the petitioner’s counsel said that the respondent gave the same excuse at the last adjourned date. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to excuse the petitioner from the next day of adjournment because he is a civil servant.

With that, the petition was adjourned till June 24, 2021 for further hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered the respondent to file his witness’s written statement on oath before the next adjourned date.

Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

6. Case No. OYJPPB/075

Mrs Oluwatoyin Oseni v The Nigeria Police, Ikeja Police Command and Commissioner of Police, Oyo State. The petitioner was present and was represented by Temitope Adesiyan (Esq.). The first respondent was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel meanwhile the second respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petitioner’s counsel, Miss Adesiyan said that she would present three relevant witnesses before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. With that, the first witness, Mrs Oluwatoyin Oseni was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Quran.

She lives at (redacted) Ibadan. She is a civil servant. She prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt her written statement on oath dated April 26, 2021 as her evidence.

She prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to retrieve her car as well as compensate her with the sum of N10 million.

The petitioner’s counsel, Miss Adesiyan tendered the photocopies of the documents of the Honda Accord car belonging to Mrs Oluwatoyin Oseni before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they were marked and admitted as exhibits.

The petitioner was cross examined and the second witness was invited to the witness stand. The name of the second witness is Fathia Hussein. She prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt her written statement on oath which was deposed on the 26th of April, 2021 as her evidence.

She said that she was before the Oyo State Judicial Panel to corroborate the petitioner’s evidence. She said that the police suddenly approached her on the said date while she was at her shop.

She said that she was severely beaten by the police officers without any explanation. She said she was thereafter taken to SARS, Dugbe from where she was taken to Lagos. She said that she was detained in Lagos for two weeks.

She said that she was thereafter released after a lawyer wrote a petition on her behalf. She said that she later found out that she was accused of having a connection with a stolen vehicle.

Having gone through her written statement on oath, the Oyo State Judicial Panel concluded that the witness suffered more in terms of police brutality and human rights violations. The panel said there was a need for the witness to extract her evidence and present same as a petition before it.

In response, Miss Adesiyan, the petitioner’s counsel promised to file a separate petition on behalf of the second witness, as a pro bono counsel. The witness was thereafter cross examined after which the third witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Quran.

The name of the third witness is Hussein Omolewa. He resides in Ibadan. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt his written statement on oath which was deposed on the 26th of April, 2021 as his evidence.

He said that he made a video recording of the police officers assaulting Mrs Fathia Oseni while he was hiding in the mosque. He said that Mrs Faithia Oseni is his brother’s wife. He said that he went to Lagos to visit her, while she was in detention.

Miss Adesiyan, the petitioner’s counsel tendered a compact disk containing the video recording before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and it was marked and admitted as exhibit.

With that, the witness was cross examined by the members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel and the petitioner closed his case.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel stated that a letter had been written to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to request for the release of the car but the car was yet to be released nor was a response filed in respect to the letter. The panel added that a letter of reminder would be issued and served on the Commissioner of Police, to demand for the release of the petitioner’s car.

With that, petition OYJPPB/075 was adjourned sine die.

Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 3:45pm.