Prison Commandant Rejects Summons to the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry – Day 41

Table of Contents

This is a report of the forty-first 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, April 29, 2021.

Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:25am, shortly after the arrival of the Oyo State Judicial Panel members.

Petitions for Mention at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

1. Case No. OYJPPB/090

Alfa Hamzat Ibrahim v Nigerian Correctional Service, Agodi Ibadan. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. The respondent was also absent and was not represented by a legal counsel.

The petitioner and his counsel were present at the last adjourned date which was March 31st, 2021 and the Oyo State Judicial Panel had ordered that a letter of summon be served on the commandant of the Nigerian Correctional Service. However, the letter was rejected.

In view of the absence of the petitioner and his counsel, the Oyo State Judicial Panel adjourned the petition till May 12, 2021 for mention. The panel also ordered that fresh hearing notices be served on the petitioner and his counsel before the next adjourned date.

Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

2. Case No. OYJPPB/090

Mr Suleman Kehinde v The Area Commander, Nigeria Police Ogbomoso. The petitioner was absent but was represented by Sherifat Bello (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, Sherifat Bello (Esq.) told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that the petitioner was absent because he was indisposed. She further apologised for his absence.

The counsel to the Oyo State Judicial Panel, Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele however pointed out that the petition had appeared before the panel for the fifth time and the petitioner was never present on all occasions.

The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till May 25, 2021 for definite hearing.

3. Case No. OYJPPB/015

Mr Kamaldeen Hassan v The Area Commander, Nigeria Police Ogbomoso. The petitioner was absent but was represented by Sherifat Bello (Esq.). The respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till May 25, 2021 for hearing.

4. Case No. OYJPPB/029

Alhaji Olayiwola Sulu and Anor v Inspector-General of Police and Six Others. The petitioners were present and were represented by Oluwatobi Fatoki (Esq.). The first to fifth respondents were absent and were not represented by a legal counsel while the sixth and seventh respondents were represented by J. A. Sanusi (Esq.).

The counsel to the petitioners, Mr Fatoki said that he had served the processes of the petition on all the parties involved but the first to fifth respondents had refused to appear before the Oyo State Judicial Panel as well as file a response.

The counsel to the sixth and seventh respondents, Mr Sanusi however said that he had filed a response dated April 6th, 2021 before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. He prayed the panel to strike out the names of the sixth and seventh respondents because they have no connection with first to fifth respondents.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel maintained that the names would not be struck out and the petition would definitely be heard.

With this, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till May 18, 2021 for definite hearing. The panel also ordered that fresh hearing notices should be served on the first to fifth respondents.

5. Case No. OYJPPB/044

Mr Kunle Ajayi v The Nigeria Police, Bodija Ibadan. The petitioner was present and was represented by U. S. Ngugah (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The Manager of Le Chateau Event Centre, Mr Owoade David told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that an event was held at the old building of the event centre on the 8th of February, 2020. He said that he was informed that the petitioner’s car was stolen from where he had parked it outside the gate of the event centre. He said that CCTV was not attached to the old hall, so it would be difficult to ascertain what transpired on the day of the incident. He said that he wasn’t informed about the incident immediately it happened and it was only brought to his notice the following week.

The petitioner was thereafter invited to the witness stand and he was sworn on the Bible. The name of the petitioner is Kunle Ajayi. He lives at (redacted) Ibadan. He is a teacher as well as a Bolt driver. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt his statement on oath which was filed on the 27th of April, 2021 as his evidence.

He said that he went to Le Chateau Event Centre for a wedding on the 8th of February, 2020. He said there was no space within the premises of the event centre so the security guard on duty told him to park his car outside the premises.

He said he later left the event centre for Iwo Road where he had intended to book a bus traveling to Abuja but didn’t go with his car in order to avoid traffic congestion. He said when he returned, he realised that his Toyota Camry 1999 Salon car had been stolen from where he had parked it. He said he informed the security guard on duty that his car had been stolen but he said he knew nothing about it.

He said those with whom he attended the event, told him to report the incident at the station, which he did. He said he went to report the incident at Bodija Police Station and nothing was done.

He said he proceeded to report the incident at Iyaganku State CID where he met an officer, Ontana. He said that Ontana requested him to pay N15,000 before he could do anything. He said when he made an attempt to transfer the money, he rejected the transfer and requested for cash.

He said he paid the money to Ontana in cash the next day after which his petition was filed. He said he later noticed that Ontana did nothing but instead threatened him to stay off.

He said that he was dehumanised and traumatised by the incident. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to compensate him with one million naira for the damages.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Ngugah tendered the particulars of the vehicle and other relevant documents before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they were marked and admitted as exhibits.

Thereafter, the petitioner was cross examined by the respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah and the members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel. Mr Ojeah therefore invited his first witness to the witness stand and he was sworn on the Quran.

The name of the witness is CSP Moruf Odunayo Ilyasu. He is an officer of the Nigeria Police Force. He said that he joined the police force 18 years ago. He was the former DPO of Bodija Police Station but now the DPO of Otu Provisional Headquarters, Oyo State. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt the written statement on oath which was deposed on the 29th of April, 2021 as his evidence.

He said that he came in contact with the petitioner on three different occasions. He said that the petitioner made a statement at Bodija Police Station as regards his stolen car. He said that to this end, two security guards working at Le Chateau Event Centre, Okpara Solomon and Peter Obadiah who were on duty on the said date, were arrested and interrogated. He said that the suspects wrote a statement and they were released on bail. He said that the matter was later transferred to the State CID, Iyaganku due to the signal he received from the Commissioner of Police.

He said that he spoke with the engineer in charge of the CCTV of Le Chateau Event Centre but his lawyers were the ones representing him. He said while he was still in the process of convincing the engineer to appear, he received a signal from Iyaganku to transfer the case. He said the incident happened on the 8th of February, 2020 and he got the transfer signal on the 24th of March, 2020.

With this the respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah tendered a copy of the petitioner’s statement, the statement of the suspects, and the letter ordering the transfer of the case before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they were marked and admitted as exhibits.

Thereafter, the witness was cross examined by the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Ngugah and members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel. With that, the second witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Quran.

The name of the second witness is Inspector Ajibade Babatunde. He is a police officer attached to State CID Iyaganku, Ibadan but currently serving at the Area Command Office, Saki. He said that he joined the police force 18 years ago. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt his written statement on oath which is dated 29th of April, 2021 as his evidence.

He said that he knows the petitioner, Mr Kunle Ajayi. He said that he took the statement of the petitioner when he approached the station to report the case of his stolen car. He said after the petitioner had written the statement, he advised him to obtain the services of a legal counsel but the petitioner said he had no money.

He said he guided the petitioner on how he should write a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State in respect of the incident. He denied taking N15,000 as alleged by the petitioner and added that proper investigation was carried out to get to the root of the incident. He said that he did not threaten the petitioner at any point.

Thereafter, Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel tendered the statement written by Kunle Ajayi, and a copy of the petition written to the Commissioner of Police before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they marked and admitted as exhibits.

With this, the petition was adjourned sine die.

Picture of the hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on April 29, 2021

6. Case No. OYJPPB/045

Mr Daodu Ayoniyi Edward v The Nigeria Police, Iyaganku. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petition was last adjourned on the 14th of April 2021 and the Oyo State Judicial Panel had ordered the police to provide the names of the officers who were on duty on the day of the incident.

Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel however said that he was at Iyaganku Police Station to get the record but was told that the office was flooded as a result of heavy down pour and the files were destroyed.

In view of the absence of the petitioner and his counsel, the petition was adjourned till May 19, 2021 for definite hearing or striking out. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered the respondent to file a response for record purposes.

7. Case No. OYJPPB/060

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

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Eyinade prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment to enable him amend the petition as well as file the petitioner’s statement on oath.

With that, the petition was adjourned till May 18, 2021 for definite hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered the respondent to file the necessary response.

Petitions for Further Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

8. Case No. OYJPPB/017

The Family of Late Abass Lawal Adekoya v Commissioner of Police, Oyo State. The family was represented by Lawal Alimat but was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah.

The petition was last adjourned for further hearing however the petitioner’s counsel wrote a letter to the Oyo State Judicial Panel to seek for an adjournment.

In view of the absence of the petitioner’s counsel, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till May 25, 2021 for further hearing.

9. Case No. OYJPPB/057

Mrs Mosunmola Labinjo v Nigeria Police, Housing Police Station. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah maintained appearance on behalf of the respondent.

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah said that the petition was adjourned for further hearing to enable him open his defence but his witnesses were out of reach at the moment. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment.

With that, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till May 18, 2021 for hearing to enable the respondent open his defence.

10. Case No. OYJPPB/056

The Family of Late Kehinde Omotosho v The Nigeria Police. The family was represented by Ademola Omotosho. Toyese Owoade (Esq.) and O. O. Fabinu (Esq.) appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Mr M. A. Ojeah maintained appearance on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Owoade recalled that he opened his case with the presentation of two witnesses, Jelil Rasaq and Sekinat Yusuf at the last adjourned date which was on the 15th April, 2021. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to bring his case to a close.

With this, the respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah opened his defence by inviting his witness to the witness stand and he was sworn on the Quran.

The name of the witness is Inspector Shuaibu Ibrahim. He is attached to SCID, Iyaganku. He said that one Saidat Azeez came to the State CID Iyaganku, Ibadan on the 16th of July, 2020 in company of Morufat Ibrahim, to report that the body of her son, Ibrahim Azeez, who was murdered by the OPC was found somewhere along Agugu Area.

The witness said that Saidat Azeez was told to write a statement. He said that Saidat alleged in the statement that her son was murdered by one Kehinde Omotosho, Jelil Rasaq, Peter S. S. Beulah, Kabiru Alagbo and Jelil Oderinde.

He said that the police proceeded to the crime of the scene for investigation and the decomposing body of Ibrahim Azeez was found at the scene. He said that the picture of the body was taken. He said that after they had left the scene, they went alongside with Saidat Azeez to Falade Street in Agugu area on the 17th of July, 2020.

He said that when he got there with other police officers, Jelil Rasaq and Kehinde Omotosho were arrested while others took to their heels. He said that the suspects were taken to the State CID, Iyaganku where they were told to write a statement.

He said that the suspects were charged to court and the court ordered that the suspects should be remanded. He said that the Late Kehinde Omotosho complained that he was sick on the 21st of July, 2020 and he was immediately taken to the Police Clinic at Eleyele for treatment.

He said that the doctor however informed them after about two to three hours that Kehinde Omotosho had died. He said that after Kehinde Omotosho was pronounced dead, his body was taken to Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road.

He said that in the course of the investigation, one Jelil Oderinde was arrested and his statement was also taken after his arrest.

With this, the respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah tendered the statements written by Saidat Azeez and Morufat Ibrahim, the photographs of the decomposed body, the statements of Jelil Rasaq and Late Kehinde Omotosho, the charge sheet, the court order, Jelil Oderinde’s statement and other relevant documents before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they were marked and admitted as exhibits.

The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till May 6, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent conclude his examination in chief.

Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 6:29pm.