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17.05.2022 Featured SWAT Protects ‘Unlicenced’ Driver Who Killed Motorcyclist in Ogun Community, But Jails Innocent Residents

Published 17th May, 2022

By Tola Owoyele

Oluwabukunmi Akinyemi, 25, was driving a Toyota Camry in Pakiyaima Phase II, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, in Ode-Remo, Ogun State, on April 1, when he hit Abdul Ibrahim, a resident of the area.

FIJ learned that Ibrahim, a commercial motorcycle rider, who hailed from Kano State, did not survive the accident. He died on the spot.

Abdul Ibrahim, the Motorcycle Rider Killed in the Accident
Abdul Ibrahim, the Motorcycle Rider Killed in the Accident

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Following Ibrahim’s death, commercial motorcycle riders in the area, who are mostly of Hausa descent, went on rampage and burnt Akinyemi’s car in the process.

Picture of the burnt car
Picture of the burnt car

Muraina Habeeb, Akinyemi’s friend, was also in the car when the accident occurred.

To prevent Akinyemi and Habeeb from being lynched by the mob, a few residents of the area came to their aid and quickly transported them to Ode-Remo Police Station.

When the violence eventually subsided, residents of Pakiyaima thought it was all, but two days later, a new chapter would be opened by the police.

INDISCRIMINATE ARRESTS

Ex-parte presented in court by Ogun police's legal department
Ex-parte presented in court by Ogun police’s legal department

Two days after the incident, policemen from Ode-Remo stormed Pakiyaima and arrested 14 residents. Among the residents arrested were Mallam Ahmed, a motorcycle salesman, Mark Michael, a charcoal merchant, and Leke Adesanya.

“When the policemen came, they said they were looking for a particular pastor who was alleged to have collected the phone of the guy who drove the vehicle,” Mark Michael, one of the arrested persons, told FIJ.

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“When they could not find the pastor, they started arresting anybody they could find. That was how they arrested me and two of my apprentices. In all, the policemen arrested 14 of us. From Ode-Remo, they transported us to Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) Magbo, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Late Abdul Ibrahim
Late Abdul Ibrahim

“When we got to Abeokuta, I was made to pay N15,000 before I could be granted bail. One of my apprentices was also able to regain freedom after paying them another N15,000. However, the other apprentice is still in their custody and the police have refused to allow us to secure his bail.”

FIJ gathered that Ahmed and Adesanya had to pay N100,000 and N85,000 respectively before they could regain freedom.

A VULCANISER WAS ARRESTED

Rafiu Sheriff's statement
Rafiu Sheriff’s statement

Rafiu Sheriff, a roadside vulcaniser, was also one of the residents of Pakiyaima arrested during the raid.

Kehinde Adebayo, the owner of the shop where Sheriff works, told FIJ that the 35-year-old is innocent of the charges the police are pinning on him.

“On the day the incident happened, we saw a thick smoke emerge from where the car was being burnt by the mob. When people started speculating around our work place that it could be that a violent riot was going on, Sheriff decided to visit the spot to know what was going on,” Adebayo said.

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“It was when he visited the area that the police took pictures of him. They later arrested him during their raid. On the day they were arraigned in court, we were shocked when the judge said they had been charged for robbery and would have to remain in detention for 60 days.

“There was no robbery anywhere. I find it ridiculous that someone can be arrested and jailed for wanting to know what is going on in his environment.”

SWAT CHANGES NARRATIVE

SWAT Abeokuta's Report
SWAT Abeokuta’s Report

After the raid, the families of the arrested persons did not know where they were taken to until April 13. The arrested persons in SWAT’s custody include Peter David, Abdullahi Yaya, Konga Pinnel, Boniface Thomas, Rafiu Sheriff and Nuru Aminu.

However, in the police report that was supposed to detail the incident, it was not mentioned that there was an accident that led to the death of a motorcycle rider or manslaughter. Instead, the report detailed how officers from de-Remo Police Station had arrested the 14 persons for robbery and arson.

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“The first question I asked the public prosecutor was if he was aware that this was a case of manslaughter that had led to the death of a family man? He said he was not aware. Despite having a picture of the burnt vehicle, he did not mention it that someone was killed,” said O. O. Nwani, a lawyer, in an interview with FIJ.

Police charge
Police charge

“They also concocted a report at the SWAT office that the mob collected the driver’s licence belonging to Akinyemi, whereas he drove without having a driver’s licence. What kind of mob would have the time to be demanding for a driver’s licence?

“They are shielding the driver of the car and his companion. Unfortunately, most of the people that were arrested were not even present at the scene of the accident. We want the ministry of justice in Ogun State to quickly render their legal advice swiftly because the arrested persons have been remanded in prison for the next 60 days.

“They are suffering for what they do not know anything about. The man that has killed a motorcycle rider with his car is still walking freely, a clear perversion of justice.”

AKINYEMI OLUWABUKUNMI’S STATEMENT

Akinyemi's Statement
Akinyemi’s Statement

FIJ was able to obtain a police statement written by Akinyemi that detailed his own side of the story. Just like the contents of the police charge, there was no mention of manslaughter in what he wrote.

“We are driving on the road beside the covert lane then a bike man cross the road and cause an accident. Meanwhile, he passed the wrong way. So, the car stopped moving due to power steering oil has leaked [sic] and immediately we took a bike to the police to report,” Akinyemi wrote.

“On our way to the police station, some of the Hausa came to cross us on the road and use planks to hit me on the head and eyes.”

READ ALSO: Police Harass, Arrest Lady Who Stood Up for Her Male Friend in Lagos

In the statement, Akinyemi also alleged that his phone and driver’s licence were seized by the mob. He said the car and his phones, an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy that cost N360,000 and N310,000 respectively, were burnt by the mob.

He further stated that two cartons of blenders worth N200,000 were burnt alongside the car.

FIJ’S INTERVIEW WITH THE IPO IN CHARGE OF THE CASE

Sworn Affidavit by Femi Fatunla
Sworn Affidavit by Femi Fatunla

Speaking with FIJ, Femi Fatunla, the investigative police officer in charge of the case, said, “Nobody reported the case of manslaughter to us. All we know at the SWAT office is that the officers from Ode-Remo Police Station said the mob wanted to lynch the driver. They had to rescue him from being killed by his attackers. His phone was collected and his vehicle was burnt”.

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When Fatunla was asked if SWAT made efforts to know the events that led to Akinyemi’s car getting burnt, he said, “The case brought before me is that of arson, robbery and conspiracy. Just like I said earlier, nobody reported the case of manslaughter to me. We could not also sight any deceased body. We are not investigating any manslaughter incident”.

POLICE NOT INVESTIGATING MANSLAUGHTER

None of the documents gathered by FIJ indicted Akinyemi in the alleged manslaughter act that led to Ibrahim’s death.

FIJ was also able to establish that the police, either by omission or commission, left out the allegation that it was Ibrahim’s death that led to the mob attack on Akinyemi and his friend.

All the sources FIJ interviewed on the matter have confirmed that most of the persons that are currently in detention at SWAT, Abeokuta, know little or nothing about the issue they have been arrested for.

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This set of people may end up spending the next two months in jail, unless a miracle happens.

FIJ made several calls to I. A. Opayemi, legal officer, Ogun State Police Command, but they were not answered. He had also not replied to an SMS sent to him at press time.

The phone calls made to Adebayo Bamidele, the Director of Public Prosecution in the state, were also not answered, and he had not replied to an SMS sent to him at press time.

Published 17th May, 2022

By Tola Owoyele

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