This is a report of the twenty-sixth 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 Mediation Centre, Ministry of Justice Secretariat, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:24am, shortly after the arrival of the panelists.
Petitions for Mention at the Oyo State Judicial Panel
1. Case No. OYJPPB/029
Alhaji Olayiwola Sulu and Anor v Inspector-General of Police and Six Others. The petitioners were present and represented by Oluwatobi O. Fatoki (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondents were absent and not represented by a legal counsel.
The petitioners’ counsel, O. O. Fatoki (Esq.) told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that at the last adjourned date which was 3rd of March 2021, they were informed that the Intelligence Response Team would appear before the panel today but unfortunately, they were absent.
Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele, the panel’s counsel however said that she served the processes of the petition on the respondents but there was never a response from that end. She also pointed out that the sixth and seventh respondents are residents of Oyo State and when she reached out to them, their counsel said that there is a court issue already but he does not know if the issue in court is related to the one before the panel.
In response O. O. Fatoki (Esq.) said that the matter before the panel has nothing to do with the issue in court and that the issue has a separate counsel handling it.
In view of the absence of the respondents despite the fact that they were served, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 6, 2021 for mention. The panel also ordered that fresh hearing notice be issued and served on the respondents.
2. Case No. OYJPPB/073
Mr Seye Brodiemenas v Nigeria Police, SARS Dugbe. The petitioner was present and was represented by Adeshile Obasa (Esq.). The respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.
Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel said that he was served with the amended copy of the petition this morning, and there was a need for him to respond to the petition.
With this, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 20, 2021 for definite hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered the respondent to file the necessary response and that the petitioner’s counsel should respond accordingly.
3. 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 while Mr M. A. Ojeah maintained appearance on behalf of the second respondent.
Mr Ojeah, the counsel to the second respondent stated that having gone through the new petition which was substituted with the old one, he did not see the involvement of the police in Oyo State as the police mentioned are in Abuja. However, the panel said that Oyo State is a necessary party in the matter because the petitioner’s car is still within the premises of SARS in Dugbe.
The petitioner’s counsel, Temitope Adesiyan (Esq.) said that she was in Lagos to serve the processes on the first respondent but she was told that the Special Tactical Team is no longer in Lagos but now in Abuja. She further said she was told that the team is from the office of the IGP but the team is not attached to any particular unit of the police and this would make it difficult for the team to be invited.
The petition was adjourned till March 31, 2021 for mention. The Oyo State Judicial Panel also resolved to write a letter to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to confirm if the car which is the subject of the petition, is within the premises of SARS Office at Dugbe.
4. Case No. OYJPPB/087
Adejumo Lekan Isaac v Nigeria Police, Ogbomoso Area Command. The petitioner was absent but was represented by Ayoola Ajayi (Esq.) and A. J. Atanda (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.
Mr Ayoola Ajayi, the petitioner’s counsel reminded the panel that the petitioner was excused from appearing before the panel until when the petition is to be heard due to his critical condition.
The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah said he had been served with the processes of the petition but was yet to respond. He promised to file a response before the next adjourned date.
Subject to the convenience of the Oyo State Judicial Panel, the petition was adjourned till April 15, 2021 for hearing. The panel also ordered that the necessary responses should be filed before the next adjourned date.
5. Case No. OYJPPB/094
Mr Alawode Olumide Abel v Nigeria Police, Oyo State Command. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.
The petitioner told the panel that after the incident happened, he visited Anwarudeen Hospital in Abeokuta for treatment.
The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 28, 2021 for hearing. The petitioner was told to present all necessary documents and witnesses from the hospitals he received treatment, at the next adjourned date.
Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel
6. Case No. OYJPPB/081
Emenike Bakosi v Operation Burst. The petitioner was present and was represented by Babatunde Oni (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr Kayode K. Babalola appeared on behalf of the respondent.
The first petitioner’s witness, Joseph Bakosi continued the case from where he stopped yesterday. He told the panel that he spent over 3.5 million naira on his brother’s treatment. He tendered the copies of the receipts which according to him were 131 in total, as well as the printed copy of the tabularised medical expenses before the panel. He also said that some of the receipts were soiled by the drip being administered on his brother. He said that he paid for the medical report at UCH [University College Hospital, Ibadan] but it was not issued to him. He however said that he added the receipt of the medical report to the receipts tendered before the panel.
However, the Oyo State Judicial Panel counted the receipts and recorded 185 some of which were blurred, unreadable while some were duplicated and held with staple pins. With this, the printed copy of the tabularised medical expenses was admitted and marked exhibit A while the 185 receipts tendered before the panel were tendered and marked exhibits A1 – A185.
Thereafter, the witness was cross examined by the respondent’s counsel, Mr Babalola and other members of the panel after which the second witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Bible.
The second witness was the petitioner. His name is Emenike Bakosi. He lives at (redacted) Ibadan. He sells clothes at his shop (redacted) Ibadan. He said that on the day of the incident, the 24th of November 2020, he was sitting at the front of his shop when he suddenly saw people running. He said he immediately packed in his goods. He stood at the front of his shop with others watching what was going on after which men of Operation Burst came to disperse the crowd. He said that due to the noise, he decided to leave the scene. He said he stopped to buy a sachet water and that what the last thing he knew.
He said that when he opened his eyes, he found himself lying on the bed at the University College Hospital. He said he can’t remember the number of days it took him before he could open his eyes.
According to the petitioner, he was hale and hearty with normal walking position before the incident. He said that he could no longer use his right hand even though he used to write with the hand before the incident. He prayed the government for compensation.
With this, he was crossed examined by the respondent’s counsel and the by the Oyo State Judicial Panel members.
The petition was thereafter adjourned sine die.
7. Case No. OYJPPB/010
Lance Corporal Adeborijo Adebayo Samuel v The Nigeria Police, Intelligence Response Team Abuja. The petitioner was present and was represented by T. T. Istifanus (Esq.). The respondent was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel.
The witness, Lance Corporal Adeborijo Adebayo Samuel was invited to the witness stand and he was sworn in on the Bible. He lives at (redacted) Ibadan. He is a soldier. He said he joined the Nigerian Army on June 12, 2012 and was promoted as a lance corporal in 2015. He tendered the photocopy of his identity card before the panel and it was admitted and marked exhibit A.
He said that he filed a fundamental human rights suit before Apo High Court in Abuja. He tendered a copy of the suit before the panel and it was admitted and marked as exhibit B.
He said that he wrote the petition against police brutality and the violation of his fundamental human rights. He said his brother, Corporal Adeborijo Monday who is serving in (redacted) Nigerian Army in Ijebu Ode, called him on the 8th of July 2019 and told him to go to Orita Challenge in Ibadan because some people had trespassed on his land. He said that he went there alongside three other soldiers. On getting there, he met his brother’s friend called Alfa and introduced himself to him. He said that Alfa told him that he had handled the matter and that the police from Orita Challenge had arrested the trespassers. With this, he went to the police station alongside Alfa and the three other soldiers.
He said when they got there, Alfa requested to see the IPO. He said that the IPO came out and invited them to his office. On their way to his office, he saw one Afeez who was on a full army uniform and he called his name. He said that Afeez turned and moved as if he was coming towards his direction but instead ran to the back of the police station. He said that one female police, Inspector Comfort asked him why the soldier ran away and he responded that he was a civilian and not a soldier.
He said that the officers at the counter ran after him. He said that the DCO stepped out to inquire what had happened and Inspector Comfort explained to him. He said he told the DCO that Afeez is not a soldier. The DCO then exchanged number with him and promise to contact him if he was caught. He said by the time he finished with the DCO, Alfa told him there was no need to see the IPO again as he had written a statement and the matter had been settled.
He said that after leaving the station, he dropped the three other soldiers at Challenge and he drove to Mile 12, Lagos to buy 48 bags of rice for his wife. He said he left Ibadan with N800,000 and returned with N148,000. He said he spent 4 days in Lagos and arrived Ibadan at about 2am on the 13th of June, 2019. He said immediately he got to his family house at Alafia Estate, he locked the vehicle. He said he heard a gun crack and four men approached him and told him to surrender. He said he was chained and taken to the parked vehicle outside and he was ordered to enter which he refused.
He said that he was beaten and forced into the vehicle. He said his car key was demanded and he was made to describe his room to them. He said the person who led the team was Inspector Oluomo and others were Sergeant Alaba, Sergeant Ayegba and Sergeant Sunny Virus.
He said that Inspector Oluomo, Sergeant Ayegba and Sergeant Sunny Virus went into his 4-bedroom apartment and returned about 15 minutes later. He said his wife, his younger ones and his children were in the house. He said the officers came back with a lot of phones, his military ceremonial wears, four black boots, two mp3 Bluetooth, some of his unused uniforms and also drove out his Toyota Hilux out of his compound.
He said he was thereafter searched. He said his phones, wallet and a sum of N148,000 was collected from him. He said that Sergeant Sunny Virus searched his wallet and saw his military ID card, his national identity card, voters’ card and driver’s licence. He said that he was later driven to Orita Challenge Police Station. On getting there he was asked about the gun he was giving people to rob with and he told them that he is not an armed robber and he does not have an illegal gun. He said he never knew Afeez was locked inside boot of the vehicle. On getting down, Afeez was told to identify him and he was asked if he knew Afeez and he said yes.
He said that after this, Inspector Oluomo brought out Afeez’s phone and scrolled through the pictures on the phone. He said Afeez was seen on different uniforms with AK 47 rifles in company of some MOPOLs [Mobile Police] and soldiers. He said in one of the pictures on Afeez’s phone, he was able to recognise one Okiki who is serving in 81 Battalion but was attached to Operation Burst outside duty. He said that he then queried why he was arrested because his pictures were not found on Afeez’s phone neither did he appear in any of the group pictures.
He said he did not make any statement and he was taken to one of the cells at the station. He said that he was brought out of the cell three days later and was told that he had been booked for Abuja. He said they didn’t go to Abuja that day instead they lodged in a hotel in Ijebu Ode and they moved the next day. He said when they got to Ijebu Ode Tollgate, three out of his bags of rice were given to a food seller and they were paraded as armed robbers and kidnappers terrorising the vicinity.
From there, he said he was taken to Okitipupa CID, and was abandoned there for a week. He said that after a week Inspector Oluomo came back to ask him who Adeborijo Monday was as he had been calling his phone and he answered that Monday is his brother. The inspector asked him to unlock his phone for him to call Monday but he said that immediately he did, a call came in from his uncle, Olatubosun.
It was however pointed out by the Oyo State Judicial Panel that most of what of what was narrated by the petitioner were not contained in the submitted petition. At this point, the petitioner’s counsel, T. T. Istifanus (Esq.) made an application for an adjournment to enable him regularise and amend the petition, to contain the statement of the petitioner and that of his brother, CPL. Adeborijo Monday.
The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till tomorrow March 25, 2021 for the adoption of the aforementioned document.
8. Case No. OYJPPB/058
Comrade Sulaimon Adeniyi and Anor v The Nigeria Police, Intelligence Response Team Abuja. The petitioners were present and represented by W. A. Lamidi (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel.
Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele, the panel’s counsel said that the respondent was served with the processes of the petition through the courier services but there has never been a response from that end.
The petitioners’ counsel, W. A. Lamidi (Esq.) told the panel that he was briefed about the petition today and there was a need for him to make adjustments to the petition.
The petition was therefore adjourned till April 22, 2021 for definite hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel also ordered the petitioners’ counsel to present all the relevant documents and witnesses before the panel, at the next adjourned date.
9. Case No. OYJPPB/084
Prof. Olumuyiwa Okubena v The Nigeria Police, Intelligence Response Team Abuja. 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.
The petitioner is Olumuyiwa Olamide Okubena. He lives at (redacted) Ibadan. He is an academic and an entrepreneur. He lectures at (redacted) South Africa. He is currently the Executive Chairman for Center for Accountability, Probity, Safety and Equality Development (CAPSED).
He said that on the 9th of December, 2019 at about 8am one of his staff, Mrs Damilola called him on his phone to alert him that a team of police men with an inscription on their clothing that does not attest to be EFCC but rather Intelligence Response Team/IGP, had visited his office located at (redacted) Ibadan and demanded to see him.
He said that he told Mrs Damilola to allow him speak with one of the officers. He said that the officer told him on the phone that they are team from Abuja and they wanted to see him. He said that he queried further the reason for the visitation to the office and why they wanted to see him. He said the officer told him that if he does not find his way down to the office, the office would be locked and the staff would be arrested.
He said that immediately he heard that submission he told the officer that his counsel would be there. Before the arrival of his legal counsel, the staff members had been arrested and were taken to SARS Dugbe. He said he later called his counsel to tell him that he would be meeting his staff members at SARS Dugbe but his counsel insisted that they go together. His counsel was at his house and they went to the SARS office together. On getting there, he met his staff members and the IRT. He said that he introduced himself to the team and asked them to release his staff members.
He inquired why the staff members were arrested. He said that a member of the team asked him if he knew Mrs Ijeoma Emerebe and he answered in the affirmative that she is a partner with the research centre. He said that Mrs Ijeoma Emerebe has an NGO called Woman Africa which collaborates with CAPSED.
He said that from the SARS Office at Dugbe, he was driven to Abuja on that same day on the notion that they were going to have a brief discussion with Mrs Emerebe at IRT/IGP Office in Abuja. He said that they arrived the office at about 2am. On arrival, he inquired about Mrs Emerebe and he was told that he was under arrest and was ordered to remove his shoes, belt, clothes and also collected about N16,000 which he had with him. He said he was afterwards taken to the IRT maximum underground cell which is very far from the offices. He said that immediately he got in, he realised he was in a great danger.
He said that Mrs Emerebe came to IRT office in Abuja the next day and demanded for her money as they had partnered to help people at the grass roots with finances in form of loan and most of the people were yet to pay. He said he asked her if that was why IRT arrested him and she answered in the affirmative. He said he told her in the presence of DSP Sini that she had been paid 29 million naira but she said that was just the interest.
He said that the first hit he got was to his head and this made him lose his front tooth to the extent that he spits blood up till date. He said that he was detained for over two and a half months without provision for food.
He said that in the course of his stay at the prison he was subjected to torture by other inmates. He said he could not afford to obtain the services of a counsel because the IRT/IGP froze his personal cheque account and that of the NGO. He said he was later transferred to Keffi, Nasarrawa Prison where he was released on March 16, 2020. After his release, he contacted a legal counsel so as to sue for human rights violation and he was told to pay one million naira but he couldn’t because his account had been frozen.
He said that he heard that the Judicial Panel was set up to look into the case of human rights violation and he decided to take advantage of the panel. He said that he wrote the petition because his human rights were violated and he was brutalised.
He told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that he wants to be compensated for the money spent on his health, he wants the Intelligence Response Team brought to book and his accounts should be unfrozen.
With this, the petitioner was cross examined by the by the Oyo State Judicial Panel members.
The petition was thereafter adjourned sine die.
Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 5:45pm.