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Oyo Judicial Panel Orders For the Appearances of Police Officers and Lawyer in Charge of Late Omotosho Case

The Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and extrajudicial killings on Thursday have ordered for the appearance of police officers who were responsible for the death of an Ìbàdàn trader, Kehinde Omotosho, who died in their custody on July 21, 2020, after an arrest by police officers from the CID unit, Iyaganku, Ibadan for an offence allegedly committed by his nephew, Kabiru Rasaq.

The panel also ordered that a letter of inquiry be sent to the Oyo State Hospitals Management Board to ascertain the location of the corpse as the police in its process before the panel, claimed that the corpse of the late Omotoso was deposited at the morgue of the Ring Road General Hospital following his death at the police hospital. The panel went to summon before their court, the appearance of the lawyer whose name appears on the letter attached to the affidavit explain who briefed for the job.

Earlier in the process, the family had called two of its three witnesses, Jelili Rasak who was arrested alongside the deceased and Sekinat Yusuf, the younger sister of the deceased.

Jelili, who was led in testimony by Barrister Toyese Owoade from the Afe Babalola Chambers, narrated that around 12:25 am on July 17, there were gunshots in the neighbourhood and the night watchman was alerting the neighbourhood that thieves had attacked the area but before he could come out of his room, there was heavy knocking at their door by some people who identified themselves as police officers, who shoved him into the house with a gun and when they asked questions, the police officers hit them on the chest and head with guns restricting them from talking.

He said that the officers from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, who said they were looking for Kabiru, handcuffed him and the deceased as the only men in the house took them to Agugu Police Station and immediately transferred them to Iyaganku where they were thrown into the cell around 1:15 am without telling them their offence or telling their family where they were taken them to.

According to him, they met about 126 people in the cell of around 15×15 feet and the morning, they asked them questions, wrote statements on their behalf and told them to sign under duress and were taken back to the cell around 10:00 am without allowing them to see anybody or eat, adding that they did not eat for five days as they had no one to give them food and had no money on them.

He stated that “on Monday, they took us out again and took us to the officer-in-charge of the anti-cultism unit and he asked if we were ready to tell them Kabiru’s whereabouts. We repeated that we didn’t know where he was as he left the house months before the incident.

“We were taken back to the cell, and on Monday night, Kehinde was in too much discomfort and stomach pains. We went to bed and he was already dead in the cell before morning,” he said.

Sekinat in her testimony narrated while it was true she signed the affidavit presented by the police because she doesn’t know the contents as she couldn’t read or write, she thought that the officers were helping her when they told her to sign the affidavit.

Under cross-examination by police counsel, Matthew Ojeah, Jelili and Sekinat, including their elder brother, Demola Omotoso, and two daughters of the deceased didn’t change their testimony.

The panel scrutinising the police response to the petition reported that the police order to remand Omotoso for 14 days was obtained on the afternoon of the day he died with the police doctor’s report confirming he died at 6:00 am that morning.

Further, the panel remarked that the date on the warrant of arrest and search warrant was procured by the police was two days after Jelili and Kehinde had been apprehended and from police exhibits, nothing incriminating was found on the two men.

The panel enquired the reason why all processes like search and arrest warrants were done together for the two but a remand order was only obtained for Omotoso and it was obtained on the day he gave up the ghost.

Reacting, the police counsel said he was only involved in the legal aspects and can’t say much about the investigation.

The panel consequently repeated its order that all police officers mentioned in the process and the lawyer whose letterhead appeared on the affidavit should appear before the panel and adjourned the matter till April 29, 2021, for further hearing.

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