The Oyo State Government has continued to detain nine residents of Ibadan, the capital of the state, at Abolongo Medium Prison, Oyo, over the October 2020 nationwide #EndSARS protest.
According to court documents obtained by FIJ, the detainees were arraigned before a high court in Ibadan on a five-count charge bothering on the murder of Inspector James Akanmu, who was killed by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest, and illegal possession of firearms.
The detainees are Rasheed Tiamiyu, Sodiq Ariyo, Afeez Ariyo, Ikechukwu Eze, Adesina Ademuyiwa, Oyewole Olumide, Taoreed Abiodun, Adekunle Moruf and Ikenna Amaechi.
‘POLICE RAIDED LIKE MIDNIGHT THIEVES’
FIJ gathered that policemen from Ojoo Police Station, alongside some officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Dugbe, Ibadan, raided different houses in November in search of the hoodlums who burnt their station and killed Akanmu.
Coordinator of the TakeItBack Movement in Oyo State, who asked not to be named, accused the officers of unprofessional conduct while carrying out the arrests.
“All of these people were randomly arrested at different dates and locations,” he said. “How will you pick people like that and charge them with the same offence? Some of them were arrested in the middle of the night under the threat of breaking their doors and killing people if the dwellers did not willingly open the entrance doors.
“For example, Adesina Ademuyiwa and Taoreed Abiodun were arrested at about 2am on November 13. Alongside others, they are facing charges on murder and possession of illegal firearms, though they (the police) never saw any guns with them.”
The Oyo State members of TakeItBack movement and the detainees’ family members combed different police stations in Ibadan, but none of the police officers at the visited stations admitted to keeping the arrested people in their custody.
Meanwhile, Ademuyiwa’s mother-in-law insisted that she saw some of the officers wearing SARS vests when they raided the house. She also recognised one of the police officers from Ojoo, ‘officer Sunday’, in the team.
Subsequently, a police insider informed the family that 11 persons were languishing in SARS detention at Dugbe, including Ademuyiwa.
Thirteen days after their illegal detention in Dugbe, the detainees were arraigned before a magistrate court and then remanded at Abolongo Medium Prison in Oyo town, without the knowledge of their family members.
On February 3, the case was again filed at the state high court in Ibadan, but the detainees were not produced in court.
The coordinator of the pro-democracy group told FIJ that the defence counsel influenced the release of two out of the 11 detainees because they were minors, bringing the number to 9.
INVITATION FOR FRIENDLY TALKS
After much agitation on social media, Nathaniel Okeniyi, Director of Public Prosecution, Oyo State, invited Adesina’s family for a ‘friendly talk’ in June 2021 over the case.
“At the meeting, he promised to ensure the trial was completed before his annual leave in October,” Kemi, Ademuyiwa’s sister, told FIJ. “He was not happy that the case was already trending on social media. In fact, what I observed from that meeting was that the governor heard about it.
“Seun Fakorede, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, also reached out to me over the issue, but all of them did nothing since then. The DPP told us to file for bail, but the court didn’t grant the application. If they had granted it, at least my brother and others would have been going to court from home until it was finally over.
“Now, they have detained him for almost a year without a clear direction on the case.”
CASE ADJOURNED UNTIL MONDAY
In a recent development, the case scheduled to be heard on Thursday didn’t hold because the presiding judge was not available. It was adjourned to Monday, September 27.
When FIJ contacted Oyelowo Oyewo, Oyo State Commissioner of Justice, he said he was not aware of the case. He would later implore our reporter to call him on Monday when he must have been briefed about it.
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