Two suspects die in Ogun Police custody in one month

AT least two suspects died while in the custody of the Ogun state Police command between November and December 2023.

The recent case occurred on December 15 and involved a suspect, Ezekiel Okewusi, who was remanded at the Ajuwon Police station in the state.

According to a petition to the state commissioner of Police Abiodun Alamatu by a lawyer representing the family of the deceased, Alayo Akanbi, Okewusi died after spending four days in detention.

The deceased was accused of stealing a phone and had been attacked by a mob who were members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) before he was handed over to the Police.

Akanbi alleged that the Police locked the deceased in a cell rather than granting him access to medical treatment, which ultimately led to his death.

“We further gathered that Okewusi died as a result of brutalisation and torture by his assailants coupled with arbitrary and unlawful detention for four days by the Police under harsh and life-threatening conditions at Ajuwon Police cell without medical facilities,” the petition partly read.

Reacting to the allegations, public relations officer (PRO) of the command Omolola Odutola said the deceased had complained of body pains and was taken to the hospital by the Police, where he died.

“I was informed that the deceased complained of body pain after they got to the station, but what they suspected was that probably they had beaten up the deceased before they brought him to the station. So that story that somebody died in the Police station is not true. He didn’t die in the Police station; he died in the hospital,” she said.

In November 2023, Odutola issued a similar statement denying allegations that another suspect, Seyi Samson, was tortured to death in Police custody.

She noted in the statement that Samson, who had spent about four days in detention at the Eleweran Police station in Abeokuta, the state capital, suddenly went berserk, shouting and biting other detainees in the cell.

“Other suspects in the cell alerted policemen on duty, and he was allegedly taken to the Police hospital and later to Ijaye General Hospital Abeokuta, along with other suspects he gave bites in the cell for medical treatment against infection. Other suspects were treated and discharged, but Seyi, while on medical attention, later gave up the ghost. Every other allegation is hereby debunked,” she noted.






     

     

    Her statement came after Samson’s family members accused the Police of complicity in his death.

    They alleged that Police officers had whisked away Samson on Monday, November 20, while he was charging his devices. He was detained for the rest of the week, and by Friday, November 24, his sister was informed of his death when she brought him some food at the Police station.

    The command officers also shot Nollywood actor and movie director Azeez Ololade Ijaduade in the Iperu area of the state on Saturday, December 23, 2023.

    The ICIR called Odutola on Thursday, January 4, over the recurrent pattern of handling suspects by the command, but the calls were unanswered. She has also yet to reply to a text message sent to her at the time of filing this report.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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