Death Of Ibadan Trader In Police Cell: Akin Fadeyi Foundation Hands Case To Afe Babalola Chambers
Following the death of a trader in Gbagi Market, Ibadan, Mr Kehinde Omotosho, in police custody, during what has been termed illegal detention, the Akin Fadeyi Foundation has officially taken over the matter to get justice for the family and has handed the matter of the illegal detention and death while in incarceration to the Afe Babalola Chambers for prosecution.
The chambers now officially represent the Omotosho family on behalf of the foundation to demand investigation and justice for Omotosho, who was illegally arrested at his residence as a substitute for his nephew identified as Kabiru whom the Police originally came to the residence to arrest.
The absence of Kabiru was said to have infuriated the police officers from State CID Iyaganku who decided to arrest his uncle, Kehinde Omotosho alongside his brother, Mr Rasak Olaotan Jelili in place of Kabiru for a crime they did not commit.
The foundation has described the arrest as illegal as well as infringement and a clear breach of the law and his right to dignity under fundamental human rights as entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in Chapter 1, Section 4, and has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the National Human Rights Commission and the Transparency International, to order a full investigation into the death of Kehinde Omotosho while in the detention cell at State CID, Iyaganku Ibadan in Oyo State.
Akin Fadeyi foundation further demands that the leadership of the Nigerian Police Force in the company of representatives of Civil Society Organisations should pay a visit to the Police station to see the inhumane conditions under which suspects are being held.
“We condemn this barbaric, corrupt and indecent culture of arresting innocent family members of a suspect as a place holder by the police during the investigation. We hereby call on the Inspector General of Police to direct Oyo State Commissioner of Police to order a full investigation into the activities of his officers at Iyaganku State CID. We also call on the National Human Rights Commission, Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, Oyo State Governor, MrSeyiMakinde, Minister of Police Affairs, Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila and other organisations with interest in the protection of rights of citizens to demand a joint visit to inspect detention facilities and living condition of detainees at the State CID, Ibadan.”
Speaking on their arrest, Razak, a nephew to the late Omotosho who was arrested with him in a graphic narration of the tragic episode on FlagIt, the anti-corruption reporting App developed by Akin Fadeyi Foundation, said despite his uncle’s protest and claim to innocence, he was inhumanly kept in detention where he died in the custody of the Nigerian Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku on the night of Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at 5 am, claiming that the Iyaganku State CID is working hard to suppress and hide the truth by forcing an illiterate extended family member of the deceased to swear to a ‘No Case’ affidavit.
However, 22- year-old Khadijat Omotosho, the first daughter of the late Omotosho has stated categorically that she rejects the affidavit sworn to by her extended relative, insisting that this extended relative was not representing the collective interests of the biological children of the late Omotosho and demanded justice for her family.
Consequently, the foundation took over the case and has vowed that the Akin Fadeyi Foundation shall spare no effort and material resources until the culprits are fished out and punished, adding that it will also ensure that the infrastructure of oppression and suppression of citizens at the notorious Iyaganku State CID is dismantled.
According to the foundation, “the coerced affidavit stated that the family would not be interested in the autopsy report of the late Omotosho who was unlawfully arrested. As a foundation that defends public interest and rights of citizens. This is ridiculous in modern society and the Akin Fadeyi Foundation will ensure that even in investigating crimes and criminals, the Police must uphold the right of citizens to life, dignity and justice for them. The children insist on an investigation, and they demand answers as to why the Nigerian Police would unlawfully arrest a man and keep him till he died in their custody.
“The moment this incident was flagged on our FlagIt app, we called to alert the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police in Ibadan, Superintendent Gbenga Fadeyi who claimed his office had no information regarding the case. We are surprised that the same Gbenga Fadeyi is deflecting responsibility and culpability of the police in press reports that the victim did not die in a Police cell. We ask, if he did not die in a Police cell, how come he was in the same vein informing the public that Police were carrying out autopsy? This dishonest statement made by SP Gbenga Fadeyi, we regret to say, is another fruit of a decadent system.
“We have the mandate of the family to demand justice using all lawful means. This death is very unjust and avoidable if the Police had carried out their duty as stipulated by law. Apart from the deceased and his nephew, Rasak who were kept in police detention for five days without access to their relatives and food, the foundation is also calling attention to the plight of other suspects who have been held, mostly illegally, for upward of six to eight months at the same Iyaganku State CID under trumped-up charges.
“Some of those arrested are expected to bail themselves with huge sums of non-negotiable fees. Those who cannot afford to pay are dumped inside dingy cells. This evil practise of extorting innocent citizens is equal to slave-trading of fellow citizens and must be stopped by the Inspector General and Oyo State Commissioner of Police, if indeed there is no cartel within the Police that benefit from this illegality,” the foundation said.
While calling on the Oyo State Chief Justice and other heads of the judiciary across the states to visit police detention cells and prisons at least once in a month to see the degrading condition of detainees and awaiting trail suspects, the Foundation enjoins the judiciary to live up to its much-touted reputation as the last hope of the common man, adding that there is no better time to reiterate the call for judicial reform which should cascade down to the bottom.
“To draw special attention to the evil of illegal arrests by the Police and other forms of corruption within the organization, the Akin Fadeyi Foundation according to the founder will soon launch a special Police Reporting feature on its FlagIt app to enable Nigerians to have easy access to reporting corruption and also register any act that dehumanizes them adding that an aggressive campaign to make sure Police detention facilities are brought up to global standards will also commence.
Mr Fadeyi commended the Afe Balalola Chambers for the quantum of free services it has provided in defence of citizen’s freedom in Nigeria and for stepping up to secure redress for the Late Kehinde Omotosho family.