Afe Babalola petitions IGP over death of businessman in Police custody

A legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola SAN, on Monday, petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over the arrest and death of one Mr. Kehinde Omotosho.

Babalola in a petition made available to newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, alleged that Omotosho was arrested and detained by some Police officers of the anti-cultism unit of the Oyo State Criminal Investigation Department last week.

The legal luminary further claimed on the petition that Omotosho was detained for six days without trial, the arrest which led to his death in Police custody.

He said, “We are Solicitors to Miss Khadijat Omotosho (for herself and on behalf of other children of the late Mr. Kehinde Omotosho), and have her instructions to present to you, this Petition regarding the unlawful arrest, detention and eventual death of her father, Mr. Kehinde Omotosho, (hereinafter referred to as the deceased) on 21st July 2020 while in custody of the police officers attached to the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Oyo State Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, Ibadan.

“As we shall subsequently detail, this Petition has been presented to request urgent investigation of not only the propriety of the arrest and detention of the deceased in lieu of another person for a period of 5 days until his eventual demise but also more importantly, the circumstances surrounding his death which are rendered particularly suspicious and disturbing by a seeming attempt by certain Police Officials to cover up and distort the events leading up to this tragic incident”.

“In the early hours of Friday, 17th July 2020 (at about 12:30am), several police officers from the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Oyo State CID stormed the residence of our clients’ father’s house at No. 2, Ifedapo Zone 2, Alaja Meta, Gbaremu, Idi-Obi, Ibadan, where the deceased resided alongside other tenants. The officers from the Anti-Cultism Unit were accompanied by some other police officers in Agugu Police Division, led by one officer identified simply as ‘SOJ’.

“After breaking down the door of our client’s father’s residence, Mr. Omotosho (now deceased), the Police officers demanded to see one Mr. Kabiru who, about 5 months prior to that time, had moved to another apartment in a different vicinity. Upon realizing that their prime suspect, Mr. Kabiru, no longer resided in the apartment, the police officers arrested the two occupants of the house – Mr. Omotosho (now deceased) and one Mr. Jelili Razaq – in lieu of the suspect. At the point of arrest, both Mr. Omotosho and Mr. Jelili Razaq requested to know the crime for which they were being arrested but instead, the police officers gun-whipped them with their weapons several times. Thereafter, the Police officers from the Agugu Police Division (led by SOJ) returned to the Agugu Station while officers from the Anti-Cultism Unit proceeded with both the deceased and Mr. Jelili Razaq to the State CID. They were thereafter locked in the cell, alongside about 130 (One Hundred and Thirty) inmates. This was around 1:20am on Friday, 17th July 2020.

“On Monday, 20th July 2020, the deceased and Mr. Jelili Razaq were brought before the Officer-in-Charge of the Anti-Cultism Unit for interview. In the course of the interview, the OC demanded that both the deceased and Mr. Jelili Razaq produce their prime suspect, Mr. Kabiru, before they could be released. However, both the deceased and Mr. Jelili Razaq informed the OC that they were all co-tenants, and that Mr. Kabiru had relocated to another place and did not inform them of his new location. Nevertheless, the OC insisted that their release would be consequent upon their production of Mr. Kabiru. They were, thereafter, returned to the cell. It was at the point of this interview that the police informed the deceased and Mr. Jelili Razaq that the prime suspect, Mr. Kabiru, was involved in a fight, which led to the death of a person. There was however no suspicion or allegation that either the deceased or Mr. Jelili Razaq were involved in the said fight or committed any crime whatsoever.

“The following day, i.e. on 21st July at about 5am, Mr. Kehinde Omotosho, our clients’ father, died in police custody. Prior to his death, the deceased spent 5 days in detention while Mr. Jelili Razaq spent 6 days before being released on bail, both without any investigation, reasonable suspicion of crime, or arraignment.

“From the moment of their arrest and until the death of the deceased, the officers of the Anti-Cultism Unit prevented the deceased’s and Mr. Jelili Razaq’s family members from visiting them or providing them with food. Prior to his unlawful arrest, detention and death, the deceased had no underlying medical ailment”.

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