Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality – Day 31

Table of Contents

This is a report of the thirtieth 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, April 7, 2021.

Before the commencement of the proceedings, Hon Justice Badejoko Adeniji, the Chairperson of the Oyo State Judicial Panel, asked everyone to stand to observe a minute silence for the passing away of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Prince Wasiu Gbadegesin and one of the reporters covering the Oyo State Judicial Panel Sitting, Mr Sunday Ogunyemi of FRCN. With this, today’s sitting commenced at about 9:37am.

Petitions for Mention at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

1. Case No. OYJPPB/029

Alhaji Olayiwola Sulu and Tirimisiyu Sulu v Inspector-General of Police and 6 others. The petitioners were present and were represented by Oluwatobi O. Fatoki (Esq.). The sixth and seventh respondents were represented by J. A. Sanusi (Esq.).

The petitioner’s counsel said that he had been served with the response of the sixth and seventh respondents but prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adjourn the petition for hearing since the first to fifth respondents have failed to file a response to the petition.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel however said that the sixth and seventh respondents must appear before the panel regardless of the fact that they were represented by a legal counsel and failure to do so would amount to contempt of the panel.

With this, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 29, 2021 for definite hearing.

2. Case No. OYJPPB/091

Mr Alamu Toheeb v Nigeria Police, Eleyele Police Station. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.

Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele, the counsel to the Oyo State Judicial Panel, pointed out that the petitioner was present at the last hearing which took place on March 31, 2021 and his counsel was called on the phone yesterday to remind him that the petition would come up today but could not explain the reason for his absence. She further said that a copy of the petition and a hearing notice were served on the office of CSP Funke Fawole, the Police Officer in Charge Legal on the 5th of March, 2021 but there was yet to be a response from her end.

In response, Mr Ojeah said that he was not aware that the petition was served but promised to do the needful before the next adjourned date.

The petition was therefore adjourned till April 22, 2021 for mention. The Oyo State Judicial Panel also ordered that a fresh hearing notice should be issued and served on the petitioner.

Picture of the hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on April 7, 2021

Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

3. Case No. OYJPPB/077

Mrs Sumbo Salami v The Nigeria Police, Adelubi Station. The petitioner was present and was represented by Deborah Oluyemi Collins (Esq.) and Afolakemi Adeoba (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petitioner said that she lives at (redacted) Ibadan and had reported the case of assault at the Adelubi Police Station but instead of investigating she was beaten by eight officers.  She said that she reported her neighbour at the police station because he placed a generator close to her window and when she complained, nothing was done about it. She said that when she bought her generator and placed it at the same spot, her neighbours came to fight her and threw away her generator. She said she was hospitalised for two days.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel therefore advised the petitioner’s counsel to make necessary amendment to the petition, to include the pictorial evidence of the assault and receipts of medical bills, before the next adjourned date.

The petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 28, 2021 for definite hearing to enable the petitioner regularise the petition.

4. Case No. OYJPPB/079

The Family of Late Tosin Thomas v Oyo State Security Network (Amotekun). The family was represented by Mrs Toyin Thomas. The family was also represented by counsels – Akinjide Sadiq (Esq.) and Ibironke Sadiq (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr Olusola Orobode appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, Akinjide Sadiq (Esq.) said that the complaint received was that the petition was not properly filed. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment to enable him file an amended copy of the petition and to give the respondent the opportunity to react accordingly.

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Orobode however said that he had not been served with the copy of the petition but was instead served with the hearing notices.

In response, the Oyo State Judicial Panel’s counsel, Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele said that all the petitions were sent to the Ministry of Justice and they were duly received on the 15th of March, 2021. She said that once the amended petition is filed, she would ensure to serve the respondent’s counsel, Mr Orobode.

The petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 27, 2021 for definite hearing.

5. Case No. OYJPPB/082

The Family of Late Gbadebo Kolade Abiodun v The Oyo State Security Network (Amotekun). The family was represented by the deceased’s father, Oni Ganiyu Gbadebo and legal counsel, A. B. Bello (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr Olusola Orobode maintained appearance on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, A. B. Bello (Esq.) appreciated the Oyo State Judicial Panel for the effort put in place to see to the release of the deceased who was killed and hidden by the Amotekun Corps and further informed the panel that he had been buried.

The respondent’s counsel, Olusola Olorode prayed the panel for an adjournment to enable him familiarise himself with the petition, gather relevant documents and also file a response before the Oyo State Judicial Panel.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel however advised the petitioner’s counsel to amend the petition to include the name of the erring officer as well as include the case of the deceased’s brother who was also arrested and tortured by Amotekun Corps in December 2020.

With this, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till April 15, 2021 for definite hearing to enable the petitioner regularise the petition and for the respondent to file a response.

6. Case No. OYJPPB/083

The Family of Late Kabiru Arekemase v The Nigeria SARS, Dugbe. The family was represented by Ngozi Arekemase. The family was also represented by counsels – S. O. Ogunjimi (Esq.) and O. A. Ojebisi (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petitioner’s counsel, S. O. Ogunjimi (Esq.) told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that he would like to present two witnesses before the panel. With this, the first witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Bible.

The name of the first witness is Ngozi Arekemase and she opted to speak in Yoruba language. She lives at (redacted) Ibadan. She is 70 years of age. She is the mother of the Late Kabiru Arekemase. She said that she made a statement at the registry of the Oyo State Judicial Panel on the 6th of April, 2021 in support of the petition.

She said that her son was an interpreter because he could speak different languages. She said because of this the SARS operatives visit his house to ask for money and he usually gave them money. She said however, on the day in question, the SARS operatives came back to his house as always to ask him for money but instead he refused to give out the money and he was threatened with arrest. She said that her son was arrested from his home and detained at SARS Dugbe for more than four months but was released after he was charged to court and was exonerated due to the intervention of a legal counsel.

She said after her son was released, he later continued with his job of interpreting languages but was later rearrested by SARS. She said that on one of her visits to the SARS office at Dugbe to check up on him, she was told by one of the officers that her son had been wasted. She said she lost her sight due to her constant tears after the death of her son because he was the breadwinner of the family.

She said that Kabiru was 23 years and was a secondary school graduate as at when the incident happened. She prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for financial compensation of N300 million to take care of the deceased’s two children.

Thereafter, the respondent’s counsel, Mr M. A. Ojeah and the Oyo State Judicial Panel members took turn to cross examine the petitioner. With this, the second witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Bible.

The second witness is Falade Adeniyi. He opted to address the Oyo State Judicial Panel in English. He lives at (redacted) Ibadan. He is 65 years of age. He said he is a friend to the family. He opted to adopt his statement as contained in the petition. He prayed the government to adequately compensate the petitioner.

With this, the second witness was cross examined by the respondent’s counsel, Mr M. A. Ojeah and the Oyo State Judicial Panel members, after which the petition was brought to a close.

The petition was adjourned sine die.

7. Case No. OYJPPB/093

Re: Mr Olatunde Gbenga v The Nigeria Police, Ojoo Police Station. The petitioner was present and was represented by Babatunde Oni (Esq.). Mr M. A. Ojeah maintained appearance on behalf of the respondent.

Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel said that he would appear in protest because a quick glance at the petition indicated that the petitioner was asking for medical assistance due to the head injury he sustained from a stray bullet which was fired during the last #EndSARS protest. He further said that the fired stray bullet cannot be pinned to anyone in particular as it could have been fired by any other person apart from the police.

With this, the petitioner’s counsel, Babatunde Oni (Esq.) applied to strike out the Nigeria Police and prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment because there were discrepancies in the receipts compiled and attached to the petition.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel approved the application of the petitioner’s counsel to strike out the respondent’s name from the petition and also advised that the petition be rewritten as Mr Olatunde Gbenga request for medical assistance without making a reference to any respondent. The petition was adjourned till April 21, 2021 for definite hearing.

Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 12:30pm.