This is the report of the twenty-fourth 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: Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:23am, shortly after the arrival of the panelists.
Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel
1. Case No. OYJPPB/034
Mr Salami Sarafadeen v The Nigeria Police, Saki Area Command. The petitioner was present and was represented by D. S. Olabode (Esq.). The respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.
The petition was last heard on February 23, 2021 and the petitioner had closed his case with the hope that the respondent’s counsel, would open the case today since he promised to present a witness before the panel.
The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah however prayed the panel for an adjournment because the witness he had intended to present before the panel was indisposed and was admitted at Eleyele Hospital.
With this, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 20, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent present a witness before the Oyo State Judicial Panel.
2. Case No. OYJPPB/042
Pastor Ayekunle Ayeleke v Commissioner of Police, Lagos State. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, the respondent was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel.
Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele, the counsel to the panel said that the processes were served on the respondent on March 15, 2021 but a response had not been filed.
The petitioner however told the panel members that he would no longer need the services of a pro bono counsel because the ones he was assigned to by the panel, were not forthcoming.
With this, Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele offered to lead him if he was willing to conduct his case today but the petitioner said that he would like a month adjournment so that he could seek the services of a new counsel and to also make necessary adjustments to his petition.
The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 21, 2021 for definite hearing or striking out.
3. Case No. OYJPPB/013
Bello Olusegun Kayode v Nigeria Police, Sango Police Station. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent. The petitioner was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Holy Bible.
The petitioner, Bello Olusegun Kayode lives at (redacted) Ibadan. He is a post graduate student at University of Ibadan studying Communication and Language Art. He was before the panel today to state how he was unlawfully arrested, detained, and beaten by the authorities of the University of Ibadan and the Nigeria Police on October 10, 2008 over the hike in school fees payable by the students during the administration of Prof. Oluwafemi Bamiro, who was the vice chancellor at the time. He was the editor-in-chief of the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ) and the students were agitating for reduction in the school fees that had already been hiked.
He said that one of those that masterminded the protest that eventually took place on October 13, 2008 was Mr Timileyin Olagunju who gave him flyers that mobilised the students for the protest. He said Mr Olagunju gave him the flyers as the editor-in-chief of the UCJ on the 8th of October, 2008 and they were with him till October 10, 2008.
He said that on October 10, 2008 he was attending a program organised by University of Ibadan for the new intakes when the security operatives of the university approached him even though he was at the program in the capacity of an executive member of the UCJ. He said the security operatives searched his bag and saw the flyers that mobilised the student for the protest which was organised.
According to him, he was taken to the security unit of the University of Ibadan popularly called Abefele. At the security unit, his belongings such as articles, press release, flyers were taken from the bag. He was asked what he was doing with the flyers and he told them they were given to him by Mr Timileyin Olagunju. He was told at that moment to remove his shoes, belt and jacket but he didn’t comply and instead asked what his offence was.
He said about five security operatives bounced on him and removed his shoes, belt and jacket. He said that while they were doing that, he was beaten and he sustained injury in his mouth. After this, he said he was taken to the investigation unit where further information was obtained from him. He said that one Mr Wale, a security personnel at the unit asked some questions which he believed were self-incriminating. He said that he had earlier told the security operatives the name of the person who gave him the flyer but the person was not invited to the station. He also said he made a statement at the investigation unit.
He said that when the investigating officer realised that he was not going to incriminate himself, two security persons led him to the van which was parked outside. He was asked to enter the van and was driven to Sango Police Station. On getting to Sango Police Station, he was taken to a store within the premises where an IPO took his statement and the security operatives from UI left later in the day. He said that the IPO also wanted him to implicate himself but he refused.
He was told on the same day to call those he would like to inform that he had been arrested in. He said he called the past editor-in-chief of UCJ in person of Mr Faith Abiodun but he said that he was out of town and that he would reach out to the then president of the UCJ whose name is Mr Sola Amiola. He said that throughout that day, he neither saw Mr Faith Abiodun nor Mr Sola Amiola. He said he called his sister, Bimpe Bello who said she was on her way to Ondo State for an engagement. He said that at of 6pm that day, nobody visited or bailed him.
According to him, when the IPO saw that no one checked up on him, he was taken to the counter for proper recording and detention at Sango Police Station. He said he was detained from October 10, 2008 till October 13, 2008. He said that while in the cell, the IPO approached him to inform him that Timileyin Olagunju had been arrested and he should go and identify him at Iyaganku Police Station. With this, he was taken to Iyaganku Police Station where he met with another police officer who told him that the students of the University of Ibadan were protesting because of him and he was detained at the Iyaganku cell. He said he saw the security operatives of UI and police officers from Sango Police Station entering the station on that day. He was later taken to the office of the area commandant where he was bailed by the security operatives and officers of the Sango Police Station, in order for him to be delivered to the protesting students at University of Ibadan.
He said that while he was at the cell there was no light bulb, no bed, no food, he slept on a bare floor, he used a bottle to urinate, and was bitten by mosquitoes.
He said that he later received a letter from the Student Affairs of UI accusing him of gross misconduct which had to do with the distribution of flyers to mobilise students for the October 13, 2008 protest over a hike in school fees. He said that he was given 48 hours to respond to the allegation and he replied that he was innocent. He said he attended panels between 2008 and 2010 over the case while he was a student. He said that within the period, the person who gave him the flyers was not invited by the school authorities.
According to him, he faced the last panel which was a central student disciplinary committee on April 13, 2010 and he was pronounced suspended for one semester due to the same allegation. He said that he resumed for the second semester academic activities which spanned from June till October, 2010. By 2011, he was to graduate from the University of Ibadan but could not due to the suspension. He said he graduated in November, 2012 and was not posted to any of the law school campuses. He said that Prof. Oluyemisi Bamgbose, the then Dean of Law Faculty University of Ibadan made negative comments about him to the Nigeria Law School stating that he was the one that masterminded the protest of October 13, 2008. As a result of the negative comment his admission into the law school was referred to the Council of Legal Education for further decision. He said that he did not know that his admission was referred to the council until when he wrote a petition to the Public Complaint Commission over the delay of his law school admission. He said that the Public Complaint Commission wrote the Nigeria Law School for their comment on the petition. It was however contained in the response of the Nigeria Law School that Prof. Bamgbose made a negative comment about him. It was also stated in the response that he should wait for the decision of the council after which a copy of the petition was handed over to him.
He said that he traveled to the Philippines in 2014 for a volunteering program. He came back in 2015 and went to the Public Complaint Commission to remind them of his petition and he was told that the Council of Legal Education had said that he could only reapply in 2016. With this, he went back to the Philippines in 2015. In 2016, one his representatives in Nigeria, Mr Mustapha Olawuni said the University of Ibadan Faculty of Law needed his data for the law school. He sent his data via the internet but the Faculty queried the originality of his statement of result. He said that the graduating certificate was needed for him to be admitted into the law school but he was yet to get the certificate till date.
He said that as a result of the incident which happened in 2008, he had been victimised, oppressed and his law school admission was delayed. He said that he was eventually admitted into the Nigeria Law School Abuja Campus in 2016 and the session was supposed to end in 2017. On March 15, 2017 there was an issue over seat reservation and poor learning facilities and a student named Akam Chidinma reserved a seat for another student and he sat on the seat. At the end of the day, he was told to vacate the seat by the Marshal, Mr Julius Akinyemi and he did. He said he was issued a query letter which stated that he was rude to the Marshal, the next day. He said that he was later expelled due to the information which was obtained at the University of Ibadan that he was capable of inciting the students against the school.
He closed his case by appealing to the panel to make recommendations to the government for him to be reinstated back to the law school as well as obtain his certificate from the University of Ibadan, as a means of compensation for police brutality and maltreatment on the part of the University of Ibadan.
With this, he was cross examined by the respondent’s counsel, Mr M. A. Ojeah and the Oyo State Judicial Panel members. The petition was therefore adjourned till April 20, 2021 for further hearing for Mr Ojeah to present his witness before the panel.
The Oyo State Judicial Panel’s Chairperson, Hon Justice Badejoko Adeniji concluded by saying that the petitioners would be invited at the end of the panel’s sitting, after which recommendations would be made to the government. Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 1:40pm.