62-year-old mother narrates how her son was unjustly killed by police in custody
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FLORENCE Fasere, 62, has narrated how Seyi Fasere, her first son and a final-year student of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, was shot dead in police custody by the police in Ilupeju Ekiti in 2013.
The grieving mother told Punch newspapers in an interview that her son was arrested on his way back to school for his final year paper by policemen from Ilupeju police station who were combing the streets to look for armed-robbers who had come from Kogi state to rob a bank at a neighboring town.
“I was a trader but I have not been able to work since the police killed my son, my first child. Seyi was shot dead by a policeman, popularly known as Akobi Esu (Devil’s firstborn).
“They said he was an armed robber but my son was not an armed robber. They just wasted his life and the killers are walking freely as if they have not committed any offence,” she said.
“It happened in March 2013. He was killed at a police station at Obalasan in Ilupeju Ekiti. It is very close to Oye Ekiti.
She continues: “My son, Seyi, was a final-year student at Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti when the incident happened. He was taking his final examination and had one more examination to take. He had not fully paid his tuition; he still had N100,000 to pay and he said the school management was threatening that he would not be allowed to sit the last examination if he did not pay. He came back home to Ilupeju Ekiti and we were able to raise the money and give it to him. I think he had an examination to take the following day.
“He went to a barbershop to have a haircut and sent a neighbour to tell me that his younger brother should bring his bag to him at the bus stop – Esinkun. But I told his brother that he could not just leave without returning home to shower and wash off the hair and more importantly, pray before embarking on the journey. I never knew I would not see him alive again. He left around 5:30pm; that was the last time I saw him.
“His brother took his bag to him at the bus stop and I was later told that he saw a woman he knew in the bus going to Ado Ekiti and she asked him to join but he said he would wait for a car. But the woman, who is a septuagenarian, Madam Victoria, told us later that he persuaded him to board the bus because she was also going to Ado Ekiti to visit her children. That was how he boarded the bus and they embarked on the journey. Just three of them were in the bus.
“When they got to Obalasan, they heard that armed robbers were attacking a bank ahead of them and the driver was said to have asked the old woman if she knew a shortcut so they would not run into the robbery scene. They said she gave the driver the direction of another route. The driver was new on that road so he was said to have asked to be directed. At that time, we started hearing gunshots in Ilupeju because it is not very far from us. I was worried and I ran to Esinkun where he boarded the bus but I was told that he had left. Later, the driver parked the bus and they hid somewhere so they could wait until the shooting would stop. The woman said she asked Seyi to go and bring their bags because the driver had dropped their bags and turned back.”
According to her, the late Seyi was arrested and was taken to the police station and was shot dead after interrogation despite her son’s plea that he is not an armed robber.
The grieving woman also narrated how she and her husband, Joseph, were physically assaulted and detained by the police when they went to the station to confirm their son’s death.
“The following morning, one of my younger brothers called me and told me that they had killed Seyi at the station. I left and his dad also came from Ado-Ekiti and together with Blessing, his younger brother, we left for the police station.
“Immediately we got there, the policemen there grabbed me and beat me ruthlessly. They slapped me about 0 times and kicked me several times; they removed my slippers and used them to hit my head. Despite what happened, they beat me, humiliated me and put me behind the counter. I was just weeping and crying to God that why would this terrible thing happen to me.
“My husband too was not spared, they slapped him so many times. They removed his shoes and used them to hit his head. They brutalised us and my husband was put in a cell at the police station and not behind the counter. I fell down there and to compound my sorrow, they brought my son’s corpse and put it before me and asked me to be looking at my son. There is no agony that can be worse than that for a mother. I wept bitterly.
“They said Seyi was an armed robber. They said we did not bring him up well and that was why he became an armed robber. But I was weeping and telling them that my son was not a thief and each time I said that, one of them would slap me.
“They had removed his shirt and tied his hands behind his back. His trousers were worn inside out. That confirmed it that he was arrested before he was killed and he was not killed while shooting at them as they claimed. Will an armed robber tie his two hands behind his back and be shooting? Even if I did not go to school, I know that is not logical but they wasted my son’s life, humiliated me, and labelled my son an armed robber. It is only God that can remove that sorrow from my heart. They offended Seyi’s creator, who is God almighty and I know He will fight for us.
“They killed him around 4am and put his corpse before me from 7am until the time they saw one of the armed robbers who participated in the “robbery. I think the armed robber was shot during a gun battle between them and the police. He was wounded and was in pain. He was found the following morning and residents drew the attention of the police to him and they picked him up. He was begging them to take him to hospital to be treated. He didn’t want to die. He was one of the armed robbers. I heard him say he only distributed guns to the robbers but not a marksman. He said they all came from Kogi State and that he is Ebira.”
They were only allowed to go following the confession of one of the armed robbers that was later caught shortly after her son was killed. Seyi was not part of them who
She said her son’s corpse was not released to her for burial until after two years in the mortuary.
“The policemen asked the arrested armed robber if Seyi was one of them and he said he was not a member of their gang. He said six of them came from Kogi State for the operation.
“That was when they asked us to go home. Seyi’s brother, Blessing, was also thoroughly beaten and he was handcuffed and locked up. At a point, they took him in handcuffs to our house to search everywhere. But what would they find in the house of a poor person? They found nothing. They tarnished our image because some people saw how Blessing was handcuffed and led to the house by the police. They heard that the police killed Seyi so they would conclude that my children were armed robbers but God sees everything and I want Him to fight for me. They eventually released us and asked us to go home when they knew Seyi was innocent but they did not admit that they were wrong. The three of us were put on a motorcycle and asked to be taken home to mourn our son.
“They later took his corpse to the mortuary at the Federal Medical Centre, Ido Ekiti. His hands were tied behind his back the way he was killed. We went there a number of times but I became tired at a point. We were asked to go and get his remains from the mortuary after almost three years after the incident. I brought him home and buried him but since then, I have not been okay. The sorrow led to high blood pressure and after the beating, I know that I have not been alright but there is nothing I can do about it,” she said.
Why adding that the situation has traumatised and redirected the course of her life negatively, she expressed her willingness to seek justice for the death of her son from her killers before the recently constituted state’s judicial panel of investigation on police brutality.