A caterer, Mrs Tolulope Openiyi, on Friday told the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses that a policeman who allegedly killed her husband, had yet to be held accountable.
Recall that the petitioner identified the policeman as Jide Akinola with Force Number -32405 and attached to Sabo Police Station, Yaba, Lagos.
Led in evidence by her counsel, Mr Babatunde Adefila, she alleged that Akintola shot her husband, Olusegun, to death while he was on his way home from work.
Tolulope said her late spouse was a staff of Celtel now known as Airtel.
She testified that Olusegun left his residence on Aug. 19, 2007, in his official car to go to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for an assignment.
“On his way back, he was stopped by the police, he probably had an argument with them and they shot at his tyres.
“They forced the door open, dragged him out and shot him at close range on the left side of his chest.
“When they realised he was an innocent man, he was taken to the Military Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, where he gave up the ghost and his corpse was transferred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH),” she said.
She said that autopsy conducted on Olusegun at LASUTH revealed that he died from gunshot injuries.
She said her father-in-law, Mr Michael Openiyi, who was present at the panel, had petitioned the Lagos State commissioner of police and the inspector-general of police.
The witness told the panel that the news of her spouse’s death was published in newspapers.
“Jide was arrested and detained for a while but he was later released. He was never charged to court.
“The police did not do anything when the incident happened and they also did nothing about the petitions.
“My husband was buried by his family and friends at the Iperu Cemetery at Ogun State on Aug. 23, 2007. The police tried sweeping the matter under the carpet,” she alleged.
Tolulope, who became emotional, narrated that since Olusegun’s death, life had been difficult for his family members.
She said that she lost her husband two years after they got married, adding the marriage produced two children, Ayomide who was two years and two months old when her father died, and Teniola who was two weeks old.
The children, now aged 15 years and 13 years, were present at the proceedings.
“Life has been very hard for me for 13 years. I cry everyday and it is taking the grace of God for me and the children to survive.
“I live in a rented apartment and have been given a quit notice because I have been owing two years’ rent. I live in fear because anytime I can be evicted from the house.
“Since January, the children have been at home because I do not have money for their school fees.
“My husband was a generous man and a caring husband, he was the breadwinner of the family. He had worked at Celtel for about four or five years before we met,” she said.
Tolulope said that her requests were that the police officer responsible for her husband’s demise be held accountable for his alleged actions and that her children be adequately compensated for the loss of their father.
While being cross-examined by Mr Cyril Ejiofor, counsel to the police, she told the court that her father-in-law petitioned the police over Olusegun’s death.
She said that she was unaware of any ballistics tests carried out on the bullet used to kill her husband.
She testified that the police shot her husband and never paid his family a condolence visit.
“The police did not pay you a visit because they were not responsible for your husband’s death,” Ejiofor said.
In his evidence, Michael an ex-soldier and Olusegun’s father, told the panel that he was invited by Mr Samuel Olukayode, the then Divisional Policer of the Sabo Police Station, on Aug. 20, 2007, a day after his son’s death.
He said that Olukayode informed him that his son had been shot and killed by Akintola and that the corpse deposited at a mortuary.
While being cross-examined by counsel to the police, he said that the police shot his son.
He said that he approached Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) to take up the case but it was dropped due to fund constraints.