Under an administration that prides itself in anti-graft war, a civil right group, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has again accused men of the Ogun State Police Command of the Nigeria Police Force of illegally arresting and detaining citizens.
The state police command was recently accused of engaging in trumped up arrests and extortion of Nigerians by men of the Sango Ota police area command.
The latest, the group alleged, are a senior health worker with the Lagos State Government, Mrs. Deborah Kolade Omotunde, and her family members.
Specifically, the CHRSJ is accusing the Ogun State Police Command of deliberate move to shield members of the family of Omotunde’s landlady, Abigail Titilayo Kilani from investigation after the alleged murder of the landlady.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Executive Chairman of the CHRSJ, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman accused the Ogun State Police of a deliberate plot to systematically fleece Omotunde’s family by orchestrating their involvement in the death of Kilani with a view to further extorting them of their hard earned money.
Sulaiman in the statement accused the police of double standard in the investigation into the death of Kilani, who until her death on Sunday 1st of October, 2017, was the landlady of the property situated at no 1, Kilani Street, Gasline Bus Stop, Ijoko, Ogun State.
According to the CHRSJ, the Ogun State Police have demonstrated bias in its investigation into the murder by arresting innocent people who had no hand in the death of Kilani.
Narrating what transpired between Omotunde and her deceased landlady, Sulaiman said, “The relationship between the two was that of a landlady and a tenant in the property located at no 1, Kilani Street, Ijoko, Ogun State.
But a rift began between them on Sunday August 27th, 2017 over non-payment of rent prompting the deceased to issue her a three month quit notice.
“Hardly had the notice expired than late Kilani took laws into her hands by sealing up Omotunde’s apartment up by denying her access to the apartment, a situation that led to serious tension between the two, which prompted Omotunde to leave the premises for her landlady who continued to refuse her access to the apartment.”
The activist added that prior to Omotunde’s decision to vacate the premises without taking away her personal effects led her to report the case to the Divisional Police Headquarters in Sango Ota, Ogun State.
“From our findings, the former Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the station and the investigating police officer (IPO) in charge of the case, had wanted to take the right action on the matter before they were eventually transferred away to other locations but the case took another dimension when they were transferred.” He said.
Sulaiman stated that the untimely death of Kilani soon changed the complexion of the case as the police decided to arrest Omotunde and her family for alleged complicity in the murder, which by all indications they knew nothing about as they had left the premises since August.
Apart from Omotunde, three others were arrested in connection with the death of Kilani and they are the sister to Omotunde, Miss Bidemi Kolade, her husband and Mr. Sheriff Shobayo with their eight months daughter, Demilade Shobayo.
Others arrested by the Ogun State Police include a brother to Omotunde, Mr. Joseph Kolade and the priest in charge of the church that Omotunde attends, Prophet Ayodele Ogunbiyi who had since been released while others are still in detention at the state police headquarters in Eleweran area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The group however flayed the police for not arresting members of the immediate family of Kilani, her friend whom she passed the night with the day before her death on September 30, Mrs. Oluajo (popularly known as Iya Bola).
“The information we got is that, Mrs. Kilani was a guest of Mrs. Oluajo whom we learnt sheltered her in her apartment a day before her death.
“We are also not happy because the police have not deemed it to arrest Shola Kilani, one of the children of the deceased who was living with her mother at the time of her death.” He said.
According to the CHRSJ, the prime suspect in the case is one of the daughters of the deceased, Ms Toluwani Busayo Kilani who was alleged to have celebrated the death of her mother at a popular hotel in Sango Ota by spending well over N173,000 to buy drinks and food for those present at the hotel on Tuesday 3rd of October, 2017.
Sulaiman said the development (the celebration) led to the refusal of the family’s first born, Mr. Alayo Kilani not to be part of the case since the matter began.
“We are of the strong suspicion that Toluwani Busayo Kilani has a lot to answer alongside Mrs. Oluajo in the death of Mrs. Kilani.
“We are of the view that her involvement might not be unconnected to the refusal of the mother to give her some money to process her travelling documents to another country which we don’t know yet after she had initially been deported from Dubai in the United Arab Emirate.” Sulaiman stated.
He stated that Mrs. Oluajo should have a lot to tell the Ogun State Police on the death of her friend, since, we gathered that she placed a call to her friend to pass the night with her only to allow her leave her premises at about 3:17am only for her corpse to be found at 4:03am in the front her (Kilani’s) house.
“We are very surprised that in spite of all the circumstantial evidences linking these two people to the gruesome murder, up till now, none of them has been arrested for questioning by the police.” He said.
Sulaiman stated that rather institute a thorough investigation into the matter, the police in Eleweran have turned the case into a money making venture by collecting huge sums of money from both the detainees and the family of the deceased.
“We have informed that the police have collected the sum of N210,000 from Toluwani Busayo Kilani who we believe to be the prime suspect in the case.
“From the innocent victims, we have been reliably informed that the police have so far collected the sum of N300,000.
“We were told that the sum of N150, 000 was paid by the traumatized detainees for investigation while the other N150,000 was for the bail of Mrs. Omotunde who had been in detention since Monday October 2nd, 2017 till date as she has been severely physically tortured by the police for a crime, we believe she knows nothing about.” He said.
He stated that despite collecting the initial N300, 000 from the detainees, the policemen are still demanding the sum of N300,000 each from them amounting to a total of N900,000 before they can breathe the air of freedom.
He stated that the lawyer to the detainees, Mr. Oluwaseun Ojugbele has decided to take up the gauntlet by ensuring the release of the detainees while also fighting that the police carry out proper investigation by arresting the real culprits.
“As we are putting this statement together, Mr. Ojugbele is currently with the police officers at the Criminal Intelligence Investigation Department (CIID) in Eleweran, Abeokuta but the issue is still yet to be resolved based on the insistence of the investigating police officer, Mr. Raphael whose phone number is 08133855237 and another officer, Ms Taiwo whose number 08036116060 and the team leader that the sum of N900, 000 (nine hundred thousand Naira) be paid before they are released.” Sulaiman said.
He stated that the matter runs contrary to the Criminal Code CAP “C38”, EFCC Act, ICPC Act, Money Laundering Act, Extras with Cases & Materials, Law of the Federation, (2004); Criminal Code Law with Question & Answers for Police Colleges; Law Enforcement & Human Right in Nigeria Law; Police Act & Regulations; Coronal Law, Robbery & Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Terrorism Act (2011) & Money Laundering Act 2011 (As amended), Freedom of Information Act (2011) & National Human Rights Commission Act (Amendment) 2010; With the Apex Law of the Federation “FRN” (1999) Constitution (As amended).
He said the CHRSJ has written petitions to the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chairmen of the Public Petition & Police Matters Committees of both the chambers, Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG Zone 2), Ogun State Governor, Ogun State Commissioner for Justice/Attorney-General, Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, Chief Judge (CJ) of Ogun State, for the immediate release of the detainees.
“We are calling for the immediate release of the following people from detention; they are Mrs. Deborah Kolade Omotunde, Ms. Bidemi Kolade, Mr. Joseph Kolade and Mr. Sheriff Shobayo without further delay. We are also calling on the men of the police command in Eleweran to refund all the monies collected from the detainees before our locomotive litigation against the police both at Eleweran and the federal.
“We are also calling on the police to arrest and investigate the Ms. Toluwani Busayo Kilani, Shola Kilani and Mrs. Oluajo (popularly known as Iya Bola) for proper prosecution and trial.” He instructed the Ogun State Police.