… Beaten to death by NSCDC, Customs officials

By BOSE ADELAJA

What would have prompted two friends, one of them an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC and the other, an official of Nigeria Customs Service to throw caution to the wind to beat an innocent civilian to death?

The offence of the unfortunate fellow was that he dared to scratch a Honda car with plate number KTU 246 AQ belonging to the paramilitary officials who were at the time negotiating through the perennial gridlock on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

The tragic incident which occurred on Thursday March 20, 2014 at Dopemu Underbridge has since thtrown the family of the deceased 38-year-old Abiodun Akeju into deep mourning.

As at the time of the incident, both friends were said to be in mufti, but were later identified as law enforcement agents, although the Police is yet to come up with further details about them.

To worsen the plight of the Akejus, the Police at Panti was said to have allegedly demanded for N50,000 from this distraught family ‘to carry out tests to ascertain the cause of his sudden death’  while their son lies in the mortuary.

However, the Akejus are crying out to well-meaning Nigerians, the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, as well as the Commissioner of Police, CP Umaru Manko, to help them unravel the mystery as the Police are yet to reveal the identity of the suspects who carried out the dastardly act.

Although both ‘jolly friends’ have been arrested in connection with the matter but their full identity has not been released by the Police. Hence, the Akejus who hail from Abeokuta, Ogun State, are still in the dark as regards the alleged killers of their son.

Abiodun’s elder brother Olawale, who narrated their ordeal to Vanguard Metro feared the matter could be treated with kids glove as the Police are yet to come out with details of the suspects in spite of the fact that both have been in their custody for a week.

According to the family, Abiodun, a panel beater at Opebi, left his Agbado-Ijaye residence in company of his widow Comfort in his commercial bus for Sango, Ogun State and on their way back, Comfort alighted at the nearest bus-stop while he proceeded to his Opebi workshop.

After the close of work, Abiodun was said to have called his widow to prepare his dinner, unknown to him he will never live to eat the meal. He later ran into a gridlock at Dopemu Under-bridge and in the process, his commercial car scratched a Honda car with the unidentified men as the occupants of the car.

An argument was said to have ensued and the duo took the law into their hands. Pleas by sympathisers not withstanding, the duo descended on Abiodun and dragged him out of the commercial bus, beating him with various weapons. Sensing danger, Abiodun was said to have ran for his dear life, crying at the top of his voice but the duo ran after him with dangerous weapons and beat him into unconsciousness, accusing him of trying to escape without paying compensation for the damage inflicted on their vehicle. Realising what was at stake, the men were said to have tried to escape but were prevented from doing so through  the prompt intervention of the Divisional Police Officer DPO of Alabo Divison, who dispatched his men to the scene after a distress call.

The suspects were arrested while Abiodun was taken to a nearby hospital where he later gave up the ghost.

An eye witness who pleaded anonymity lamented the way and manner the victim was beaten by the suspects. ‘’The incident happened very close to a new generation bank. Both men reached for their belts and beat him severally; they also hit him with sticks  and other dangerous weapons. However, he was able to escape the scene, but the men ran after him, beating him until he eventually collapsed !’’

VM  could authoritatively reveal that the matter was last Monday transferred from Alabo Division to Panti for further investigation.

In an emotion-laden voice, Comfort told VM  the father of four was a good father to his children      Akeem, Mariam, Aishat and Aliya. ‘’My husband does not usually take the family’s upkeep with levity, now that he is no more, we shall all miss him greatly. I pray that the mystery behind his untimely death is unravelled soon,’’ she said.

In a chat with VM, the Akejus who said they have incidented the matter with Office of The Public Defender OPD, praised Mrs Tola Rotimi for a job well done. They also called on the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Umaru Manko and Governor Babatunde Fashola, to ensure justice is done. ‘’We reported the matter at OPD last Tuesday and Mrs Tola Rotimi immediately stepped into the matter by dispatching a lawyer to handle it.  Our prayer is that the suspects are  brought to book while full compensation is paid for the sake of his children,’’ they said.

Olawale also told VM that a search party was oraganised when the family did not hear from him. ‘’Few minutes after he called his wife, his lines were switched off and his whereabouts was unknown.

“A search party was later organised which combed everywhere but to no avail until the midnight of Friday March 21 when the Divisional Police Officer DPO, of Alabo put a call across the family informing us that the panel beater was lying in the mortuary!  On getting to the Police station, we were informed that he died the previous day during an encounter with the suspects,’’ he in

 

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