Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality – Day 52

Oyo State Judicial Panel in session

Table of Contents

This is a report of the fifty-second 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: Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:37am, 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/043

Mr Afolabi Ayodamope v The Nigeria Police Force. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba maintained appearances on behalf of the respondent.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent to open a defence. However, the respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah said that his only witness had appeared before the Oyo State Judicial Panel today but he had met him for the first time this morning. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment because there was a need for him to prepare for his defence.

With that, the Oyo State Judicial Panel adjourned the petition till June 15, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent open a defence unfailingly.

2. Case No. OYJPPB/018

The Family of Late Mrs Sakirat Olaegbe v Commissioner of Police, Oyo State. The family was represented by Awwanat Olaegbe, the daughter of the deceased and a legal counsel, Olumide Ojedokun (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel said that he would present only a witness before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. With that, the witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Bible.

The name of the witness is SP Adebisi Williams. He is presently attached to the Kano State Police Command. He was formerly the DCO 1 (Divisional Crime Officer) at Mapo Police Division. He served at Mapo Police Division between 2016-2018. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt his written statement on oath which was deposed today, June 8, 2021 as his evidence.

He said that at about 6:19pm, one Alfa Lawal Lukman and Isiaka Olaore approached the station on the 17th of July, 2017 to report that someone was killed. He said he took the complainants to the DSP, and they were made to record their statements.

He said that due to the report that was made, some hoodlums were arrested in connection with the incident. He gave the names of some of the hoodlums as Wasiu Oni, Sadiq Olalere, Olumide Olagunju and Adegunwa Bamitale. He however said that at the end of the investigation carried out by the State CID, Sadiq Olalere and Olumide Olagunju were indicted and charged to Magistrate Court for conspiracy and murder.

He said that he has never worked with SARS before now and there was never a time when SARS officers were deployed for crowd control. He said that it was only the officers attached to Mapo Police Division who went to the scene of the incident, where the hoodlums caused trouble during a masquerade festival that took place at Idi-Arere.

He said that he went to Idi-Arere on the said day with about eight of his officers and they were only armed with tear gas since they were at the scene for the purpose of crowd control. He said that the tear gas was shot to disperse the crowd after violence broke out. He said that he was not there when the deceased was shot but it was reported that she was shot at Popoyemaja.

He said that the police recovered charms and axes from the suspects. He said that even though tear gas was shot into the air, the violence did not cease. He said that the hoodlums kept shooting but they were not enough in terms of numbers, so they had to seek refuge. He said that he thereafter reached out to the DSP, to send more men to the scene.

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah tendered the said statements and charge sheets 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 Ojedokun and members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel.

Having cross examined the witness, the Oyo State Judicial Panel pointed out that there was a need for Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel to present the Police Officer in Charge of SARS as at the time of the incident because the deceased’s family said that the deceased was shot by a SARS officer. The panel said that the witness had tried his best but he does not have the requisite knowledge about what happened on the said day and the panel needs to get to the root of the matter.

Mr Ojeah however said that even though the petitioner mentioned SARS in the petition, there was really nothing that nails the SARS officers. He added that in the course of his investigation, he discovered that SARS officers have nothing to do with the case and that was why he had to invite his witness from Kano, to appear before the panel. With that, he brought his case to a close.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel thereafter adjourned Petition OYJPPB/018 sine die.

3. Case No. OYJPPB/038

Mr Adegbite Nasiru v The Nigeria Police, Eleyele Ibadan. The petitioner was present and was represented by S. A. Oladele (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba.

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah said that he had challenges with the witness he had intended to present before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. He, therefore, prayed the panel for an adjournment to enable him to present his witness.

With that, the petition was adjourned till June 16, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent open a defence.

4. Case No. OYJPPB/058

Comrade Sulayman Adeniyi and Anor v The Intelligence Response Team. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. In the same vein, the respondent was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel.

The petition was last adjourned on June 2, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent open a defence. However, the respondent had failed to appear before the Oyo State Judicial Panel as well as file a response to the petition.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel pointed out that the respondent was served with the processes of the petition on several occasions through courier services and personal service but had failed to appear. The panel pointed out that the petitioner had closed his case at the last adjourned date and there was no need for further adjournment because it is evident that the respondent would not appear.

Thus, petition OYJPPB/058 was adjourned sine die.

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5. Case No. OYJPPB/065

The Family of Late Waheed Olanrewaju v The DPO, Mokola Police Station. The family was represented by Saheed Olanrewaju, the deceased’s brother and a legal counsel, Adekola Kareem (Esq.). The respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent to open a defence. However, the respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah prayed the Oyo State Judicial for an adjournment because his witness, the IPO in charge of the case, was not available.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Kareem said that the petition was last adjourned at the instance of the respondent but it appeared that the police was not ready to put up a defence. According to him, the key witnesses involved in the case are the victims of the alleged rape case (Akintunde Ifeoluwa), Funmilayo Ojo (Iya Ife) and the motorcyclist (Oreofe Temitope) and they are supposed to appear before the Oyo State Judicial Panel as part of the defence.

He added that at the last adjourned date, the Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered that it should be inquired if the corpse is in Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road and if it is, it should be released to the family. He however said that the corpse was yet to be released to the family.

He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to ensure that the corpse is released to the family, so that the deceased can be given a befitting burial.

Saheed Olanrewaju, the deceased’s brother however said that upon inquiry, he was given a phone number to call when he last went to Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road. He said that he called the person on phone and he was told that the corpse was brought to the hospital on the 12th of January, 2021 two days after he died. He said that he saw the corpse and he can confirm that the body is in Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel said that Iya Ife is a critical witness in the petition and there was a need for her to appear before the panel. The panel pointed out that even though it was gathered that Iya Ife had relocated, the landlord who connected the deceased’s family with Iya Ife’s sister, could be instrumental in getting Iya Ife’s new location through her sister.

With that, the petition was adjourned till June 15, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent open a defence. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered that a letter of summoning should be issued and served on Funmilayo Ojo, Iya Ife.

6. Case No. OYJPPB/066

Mr Jurgen Johnson v SARS, Dugbe. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel however said that after he received some of the documents tendered by the petitioner, he took some steps to investigate the matter.

He said that he realised that all the documents tendered by the petitioner were counterfeits. He said that he went to the company address provided by the petitioner and when he asked around, he was told that there was never a company with that name, in the building.

He said that the current occupants of the building said that they have been there for more than 12 years whereas the reported issue happened in 2011. He added that due to the information he received, he didn’t prepare for a defence.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel responded that it also conducted an investigation and it was discovered that the company the petitioner claimed to have worked with, is truly registered with the government but the initial or present location of the company, is something that has not yet been confirmed.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel said that there is a clear difference between the petitioner’s work place and the issue before it, with an addition that the petitioner approached the panel because his rights were violated by the police and that has nothing to do with his workplace.

With that, the petition was adjourned till June 16, 2021 for further hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered that fresh hearing notices should be issued and served on the petitioner.

7. Case No. OYJPPB/082

The Family of Late Gbadebo Kolade Abiodun v The Oyo State Security Network (Amotekun). The family was represented by Gbadebo Ganiu, the father of the deceased and a legal counsel, A. B. Bello (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr Tosin Fijabi.

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

The name of the witness is Jamiu Rasheed Korede. He lives at (redacted) Ladigbolu, Oyo. He is an official of the Amotekun Corps. He is the second in command to the team lead of Amotekun Corps, Atiba Local Government Area. He prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to adopt his written statement on oath deposed today, June 8, 2021.

He said the Amotekun Corps were at Roundabout, Owode on the 19th of December, 2020 to secure the street light and the power generator provided by Gov. Seyi Makinde. He said that they were there to secure the generator because the second generator was stolen by miscreants in the area.

He said that they thereafter divided the officers into two groups, one half was to go on patrol while the second half was to remain at the generator site. He said in the course of the patrol, he and his team came across a roadblock and they alighted from the patrol van to check what was wrong.

He said immediately they stepped out of the van, they were being shot at. He said the bullet couldn’t get into their bodies, so they fired back in retaliation and the deceased was shot dead in the process.

He said that after the deceased was shot, he left the scene with his men and two other culprits who were arrested in connection to the incident, to report at the police station.

He said that they were told to record their statements after which the police officer in charge reprimanded them for leaving the corpse at the scene of the incident. He said the arrested suspects did not include it in their statements that they had a relationship with the deceased.

He said that he didn’t know the name of the deceased, until he got to Iyaganku Police Division. He said that the police officers went to SPED, Oyo to investigate and it was discovered that the deceased was known as Akin SARS in the institution.

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

The respondent’s counsel, Mr Ojeah thereafter brought his case to a close and the petition was adjourned sine die.

Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 3:40pm.