Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality – Day 54

Table of Contents

This is a report of the fifty-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: Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:45am, 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. Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent present his 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 Inspector Olufemi Thomas. He is a police officer attached to Yemetu Police Division. He said that he does not know the petitioner. He said that he is not a SARS officer and did not make any arrest on the 16th of September, 2020 as alleged by the petitioner. He concluded that he was on counter duty on the said date.

With that, the witness was cross examined by the petitioner, Mr Ayodamope and the members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel.

The petitioner, Mr Ayodamope said that his petition was directed at the officers of SARS who arrested him on the said date and thereafter took him to Yemetu Police Station. He said that he does not know the witness and his petition has nothing to do with the police officers on counter duty.

Subject to the agreement of both parties, the petition was brought to a close by the Oyo State Judicial Panel. Having heard the evidence, petition OYJPPB/043 was adjourned sine die.

2. Case No. OYJPPB/017

The Family of Late Abass Lawal Adekoya v Commissioner of Police, Oyo State. The family was represented by Lawal Alimat, the deceased’s sister and a legal counsel, Olumide Ojedokun (Esq.). Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent present his last 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 Inspector Dapo Popoola. He was formally attached to the SARS office at Dugbe but is now attached to the route monitoring team at Eleyele.

The petitioner had alleged that her brother, Abass Lawal died in police custody after he was arrested for armed robbery. The witness, Inspector Dapo Popoola however said that he does not know anything about the deceased, but was aware when the deceased was transferred to SARS, Dugbe from Adelubi Police Station. He said that he never met with the deceased’s family at any given point in time.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel invited Lawal Alimat to the stand to narrate her side of the story as contained in her written statement on oath. She said that the police officers at Adelubi Police Station arrested her late brother for armed robbery. She said that her brother was later transferred to SARS, Dugbe for further investigation.

She said that in the course of trying to rescue her brother, she met Inspector Dapo Popoola who told her that he was the one in charge of the case. She said that Inspector Popoola told her to pay the sum of N500,000 before her brother could be released but she pleaded with him to accept the N99,000 she had with a promise to look for more money. She said that Inspector Popoola collected the money and even bought her a drink.

She said that Inspector Popoola called her on phone few days later to inform her that there was a need for her to provide a male guarantor before her brother could be released. She said however, that when she went back, she was told that the case had been transferred to Abuja. She said she traveled to Abuja to see her brother but was told that there was no case involving Abass Lawal in Abuja.

She said she was on her way home when a neighbour of hers called to inform her that she saw her brother in the morgue. She said that she called Inspector Popoola on phone and rained curses on him. She said that she thereafter approached PRALAG, a nongovernmental organization for assistance because she was denied access to her late brother’s body.

With that, Comrade Alonge Olusuyi, the National Coordinator of PRALAG was invited to the stand to tell his side of the story. He said that Alimat Lawal approached PRALAG’s office on the 26th of April, 2017 to report that her brother, Abass Lawal was arrested by officers of Adelubi Police Station and was later transferred to SARS, Dugbe where she was told that the matter had been transferred to Abuja.

He said that Alimat told him that when she got to Abuja, she was told that there was no case involving Lawal Abass and this made her approach PRALAG. He said that he got Inspector Popoola’s phone number from Alimat and he called him on phone on the 28th of April, 2017. He said that he spoke with Dapo on phone for about I minute 2 seconds. He said that he later went to SARS office to see Inspector Popoola who eventually took them to see Mr Sola Aremu. He said that Mr Sola Aremu told him that Lawal Abass robbed one Lekan. He said that Mr Sola Aremu brought out a photograph in which Lawal Abass was seen with a Dane gun and some money.

He said that he was told that Lawal Abass was arrested alongside another suspect. He said that they were both beaten and tortured before they were taken to the hospital for treatment but Lawal Abass died in the process.

He said that he inquired about what happened from the second suspect and he was told that the mob who arrested them before the arrival of the police forced them to drink a substance.

He said that he thereafter demanded for the deceased’s body for burial but was told that police do not release the corpse of armed robbers. He said that this was what prompted them to approach Petals FM, Ibadan and the issue was discussed on one of the programmes. He said that the police called the deceased’s family afterwards, to come for the corpse.

He said that Adelubi Police Station gave the deceased’s family a note to Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road to claim the corpse. He added that Lawal Alimat did not inform him that she gave Inspector Popoola the sum of N99,000. He said that he saw Inspector Popoola for the first time when he took him to meet his boss, Mr Sola Aremu.

Having heard the testimonies of Alimat Lawal and Comrade Alonge Olusuyi, the witness confessed that he knows Lawal Alimat but did not take money from her. He said that he was in the same team with Charles Aghedo who gave his evidence at the last adjourned date. He added that Charles Aghedo was the IPO and head of the team in charge of the petition.

He said that the suspects were charged with armed robbery and conspiracy. He said that the deceased complained of stomach ache shortly after he was transferred from Adelubi Police Station to SARS, Dugbe. He said that the deceased was taken to Police Hospital at Eleyele for treatment but did not survive the torture. He said that he was not the one in charge of the case but he accompanied the IPO to deposit the corpse in the morgue at Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road.

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

The petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till June 29, 2021 to enable the respondent present Inspector Toyosi, a police officer in charge of the case at Adelubi Police Station because there was a need to get to the root of the matter.

3. Case No. OYJPPB/065

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

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Kareem informed the Oyo State Judicial Panel that Saheed Olanrewaju visited Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road last week, and he found his brother’s corpse at the morgue.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. With that, the respondent’s witness was invited to the witness stand and was sworn on the Bible.

The name of the witness is Inspector Adeyera Ayodele. She is an officer attached to Mokola Division. She has been an officer at Mokola Police Division for the past two years.

She said that a case of defilement was reported by one Funmilayo Ojo, the mother of the alleged victim on the 10th of January, 2021 at about 11:50pm. She said that Funmilayo Ojo complained that one Waheed Olanrewaju alias Agbaje had defiled her daughter.

She said that the complainant reported that she sent her thirteen-year-old daughter, Ifeoluwa Akintunde on an errand to recover the debts she was owed from some of her customers, when the deceased beckoned her to his apartment and thereafter defiled her. She said that the neighbours called her attention to the act and begged her to settle the issue amicably but she refused.

She said that the complainant reported that she went to the deceased’s house with a motorcyclist, Oreofe Temitope to convey the deceased to the station but the deceased fell from the motorcycle and was attacked by mob thereafter. She said that the complainant later left the station that night with a promise to return the next day.

She said that the case was transferred to her at about 10:30am on the 11th of January, 2021. She said that she recorded the statements of Funmilayo Ojo, the alleged victim, Ifeoluwa Akintunde and the motorcyclist, Oreofe Temitope.

She said that Ifeoluwa Akintunde, the alleged victim stated in her statement that after her mother picked the deceased from his residence with the intention of taking him to the police station, she was on the same motorcycle with the deceased and the motorcyclist while her mother was on a different motorcycle.

According to her, Ifeoluwa reported in her statement that on their way to the police station, the deceased jumped off the bike and took to his heels. She mentioned that the motorcyclist chased him but couldn’t catch up with him so she called him a thief. She said that people came out from different corners and started hitting him.

Ifeoluwa said that her mother later came to the scene and begged the mob to stop beating the deceased but she was instead slapped by one of the mobs. She said that the mobs thereafter left the scene after they realised that the deceased was not moving. Ifeoluwa recorded in her statement that her mother poured water on the deceased and thereafter took him to a private hospital where he was confirmed dead.

She said that immediately the case was handed over to her as the investigating police officer, she commenced an investigation on the defilement case. She said that she took the alleged rape victim to the Police Hospital at Eleyele for medical checkup to know if she was truly penetrated.

She said that she thereafter proceeded to the crime scene with her boss to ascertain what had happened but they could not find the corpse. She said that the complainant, Funmilayo Ojo later said that she took the deceased to Eden Hospital at Ode-Olo due to the injuries he sustained after he was attacked by the mob, but he was confirmed dead. She said that the complainant said that she deposited the corpse at a private mortuary.

She however said that the deceased’s family, Jimoh Nurudeen and Ghaniyat Olanrewaju approached Mokola Police Station on the 18th of January, 2021 to report a murder case. She said that the complainants recorded their statements after which she commenced a murder case investigation.

She said that in the course of the murder case investigation, she went to the private mortuary where Funmilayo Ojo said she had deposited the deceased’s body, to invite the owner to the police station for questioning. She said that Mr Gbenro Famuniyo, the owner of the private mortuary and Dr Olufemi Olapade, a doctor at Eden Hospital where the deceased was confirmed dead, approached the police station thereafter, to record their statements.

She said that she later took the corpse from the private mortuary to Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road where his body was deposited in the morgue. She said that the preliminary investigation was still going on, when she received a signal to transfer the case.

She said that Funmilayo Ojo, the victim’s mother was blamed for sabotaging the police by arresting the deceased in the first place. She said that she deposited the corpse in Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road on the 12th of January, 2021 and does not know who has been responsible for the embalmment fees. She said that she does not know the whereabouts of the three people involved in the case ever since the petition was transferred to the State CID.

She said that she wrote a report of the investigation activity in the murder case file, before transferring the case to the State CID. She said that she took the complainant, her daughter and the motorcyclist to the State CID, Iyaganku on the 19th of January, 2021.

Mrs Oloorukoba, the respondent’s counsel tendered the recorded statements, the victim’s police medical report, Oyo State Management Board brought in dead card, investigation report and document transferring the case to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and they were marked and admitted as exhibits.

With that, the witness was cross examined by the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Kareem and members of the Oyo State Judicial Panel.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Kareem thereafter prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to ensure that the corpse is released to the deceased’s family for burial.

Having heard the witness’s evidence, the Oyo State Judicial Panel pointed out that the petitioner had approached it for restitution and there was a need to get to the root of the matter to ascertain if there was no deliberate attempt by the police to shield Funmilayo Ojo and her daughter, as alleged by the petitioner.

With that, the petition was adjourned till June 22, 2021 for further hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered that the two police officers who recorded the statements of Funmilayo Ojo, her daughter and the motorcyclist as well as the DPO in charge of the case, be brought before it.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel also directed the secretariat to write a letter to Adeoyo State Hospital Ring Road, to demand that the corpse be released to the deceased’s family.

Picture of the Oyo State Judicial Panel sitting on June 15, 2021

4. Case No. OYJPPB/078

The Family of Abdul-Qudus Agbolade v The Nigeria Police, Ojoo Division. The family was represented by Agbolade Ahmed but was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba maintained appearances on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner said that his counsel was not present before the Oyo State Judicial Panel because she had an urgent matter to attend to. He therefore apologised on behalf of his counsel.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. However, Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel said that he could not get in touch with his witness. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment.

With that, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till June 22, 2021 for further hearing.

5. Case No. OYJPPB/087

Mr Adejumo Lekan Isaac v Nigeria Police, Ogbomoso Area Command. The petitioner was absent but was represented by A. I. Olaosebikan (Esq.). Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba appeared on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Olaosebikan told the Oyo State Judicial Panel that the petitioner was absent because he was still receiving medical treatment in the hospital. He added that the panel ordered the respondent to present his witness as well as file a response to the petition but he was yet to get a response.

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

The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till June 22, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent open a defence.

6. Case No. OYJPPB/089

Pastor Ajayi Opeyemi Isaac v The Nigeria Police, Akanran Police Station. The petitioner was absent but was represented by Mr M. O. Olagunju (Esq.). Meanwhile, Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba maintained appearances on behalf of the respondent.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Olagunju apologised to the Oyo State Judicial Panel for the petitioner’s absence. He said that the petitioner was absent because he was indisposed.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the respondent open a defence. However, Mr Ojeah, the respondent’s counsel said that he was not able to get some title document from the police. He therefore prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel for an adjournment to enable him open a defence.

With that, the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till June 22, 2021 for further hearing to enable the respondent open a defence.

7. Case No. OYJPPB/097

Mr Baaki Gbadebo v Oyo State Security Network Agency (Amotekun). The petitioner was present and was represented by A. B. Bello (Esq.). The respondent on the other hand was represented by the Principal State Counsel, Mr Tosin Fijabi.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Bello pointed out that the Oyo State Judicial Panel ordered at the last adjourned date that a witness summon should be issued and served on Woman Sergeant Ghaniyat who was in charge of the petitioner’s case at Idi-Aro Police Station and the doctor who treated the petitioner while he was in custody.

He said that Mrs B. K. Oloorukoba, the counsel to the police promised to present the witnesses before the Oyo State Judicial Panel but did not fulfil her promise. He therefore prayed the panel for an adjournment to enable the witnesses appear to corroborate the petitioner’s evidence.

Mrs B. K. Oloorukoba, a counsel to the police however said that she didn’t present the two witnesses because the police was not a party in the petition.

With that, the Oyo State Judicial Panel adjourned the petition till June 24, 2021 for further hearing. The Panel ordered that the relevant processes should be served on the police.

Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

8. Case No. OYJPPB/090

Alfa Hamzat Ibrahim v Nigerian Correctional Service, Agodi Ibadan. The petitioner was present and was represented by J. O. Abdulsalam (Esq.). The respondent on the other hand, was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel.

The petitioner’s counsel, Mr Abdulsalam said that he told the Oyo State Judicial Panel at the last adjourned date that he received a phone call from the Comptroller-General in Abuja who confirmed that he had received the petition and had forwarded it to the regional director for prompt action. He said that he reached out to the phone number after the last adjourned date but he was told that the command was yet to file a report.

He thereafter said that the comptroller general called him on phone this morning to inform him that he was yet to get a response from the commandant at Agodi.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel however said that efforts have been made to ensure that the correctional service file in a response but the new commandant was deployed to Agodi Zone about three weeks ago, so he was yet to go through the petition.

The petition was thereafter adjourned till June 29, 2021 for definite hearing. The Oyo State Judicial Panel said that the petitioner would open his case unfailingly on the next adjourned date regardless of the respondent’s absence.

9. Case No. OYJPPB/092

Mr Azeez Jabaru v Nigeria Police, Mokola Station. The petitioner was represented by his grandmother, Mrs Aminat Akinyemi and his stepfather, Rasheed Adekola. The petitioner was also represented by a legal counsel, Mr M. O. Olagunju (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Mr M. A. Ojeah and Mrs B. K. Olorukooba.

The petition was last adjourned to enable the petitioner appear before the Oyo State Judicial Panel to give his evidence. However, the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Olagunju said that the petitioner’s family are no longer interested in prosecuting the petition.

Mr Olagunju said that through the intervention of Mr Ojeah and the Police Officer in Charge Legal, CSP Funke Fawole, the matter has been settled amicably.

In view of the application of the petitioner’s counsel, wherein he prayed the Oyo State Judicial Panel to withdraw the petition, petition OYJPPB/092 was struck out.

Having gone through the proceedings for today, the Oyo State Judicial Panel said that the panel was not set up to indict anyone but to investigate the petitions before it thoroughly as well as make necessary restitutions through recommendations.

The hearing was thereafter brought to a close at about 5:10pm.