Afe Babalola Petitions IG over Death of Ibadan Businessman

Afe Babalola

EKemi Olaitan in Ibadan

Eminent lawyer, Aare Afe Babalola, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, over the arrest and subsequent death of an Ibadan-based businessman, Mr. Kehinde Omotosho.

THISDAY learnt that Omotosho was arrested and detained without trial by some officers of the Anti-Cult Unit of the Oyo State police criminal investigation department last week for six days and later died in police custody.

But Babalola, in a petition written by his chambers on July 26, 2020, and signed by Oluwasina Ogungbade, urged the IG to use his office to set up an investigation into the allegations against the police officers, particularly the circumstances surrounding the unlawful arrest, detention and eventual death of Omotosho in the custody of the Anti-Cult Unit of the Oyo State CID.

The petition read: “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 July 21, 2020, while in custody of the police officers attached to the Anti-Cult 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 five 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 officers to cover up and distort the events leading up to this tragic incident.”

The legal luminary explained that in the early hours of July 17, 2020, at about 12:30a.m., police officers from the Anti-Cult Unit of the state CID stormed the residence of Omotosho at No. 2, Ifedapo Zone 2, Alaja Meta, Gbaremu, Idi-Obi in Ibadan, where the deceased resided with other tenants.

He stated further that after breaking down the door of the residence of Omotosho, the police officers demanded to see Mr. Kabiru who, about five months prior to that time, had moved to another apartment in a different area, stating that on realising that their prime suspect, Kabiru, no longer resided in the apartment, the police officers arrested the two occupants of the house, Omotosho (now deceased) and one Mr. Jelili Razaq, in lieu of the suspect.

“At the point of arrest, both Omotosho and Razaq requested to know the crime for which they were being arrested but instead, the police officers gun-whipped them with their weapons severally. Thereafter, the police officers from the Agugu Police Division (led by SOJ) returned to the Agugu Station while officers from the Anti-Cult Unit proceeded with both the deceased and Razaq to the state CID. They were thereafter locked in a cell alongside about 130 inmates. This was around 1:20a.m. on July 17, 2020.

“On July 20, 2020, the deceased and Razaq were brought before the Officer-in-Charge of the Anti-Cult Unit for interview. In the course of the interview, the OC demanded that both the deceased and Razaq should produce their prime suspect, Kabiru, before they could be released. However, both the deceased and Razaq informed the OC that they were all co-tenants, and that 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 Kabiru. They were, thereafter, returned to the cell. It was at the point of this interview that the police informed the deceased and Razaq that the prime suspect, Kabiru, was involved in a fight which led to the death of one person. There was, however, no suspicion or allegation that either the deceased or Razaq was involved in the said fight or committed any crime whatsoever.

“The following day, July 15, at about 5a.m., Omotosho, our clients’ father, died in the police custody. Prior to his death, the deceased spent five days in detention while Razaq spent six 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-Cult Unit prevented the deceased and 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,” the petition stated.