*As widow demands release of the husband’s body
Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
A petitioner, Mr Teslim Ibitoye, on Thursday narrated how he and his younger brother were shot by police over an offence they knew nothing about.
Ibitoye disclosed this in a petition at the resumed sitting of the Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Human Rights Violations and Related Extra-Judicial Killings in the state capital.
He added that he was shot three times at different parts of his body when they visited a cousin at Erin-Osun in 2017, while his younger brother, Akeem Ibitoye, was shot died on the spot.
This is even as the wife of the deceased, Kafayat Ibitoye, urged the panel to prevail on the police authorities to release the corpse of her spouse that had been withheld and kept in the morgue since 2017.
The petitioners who had approached the panel for justice decried the brutality nature with which they were treated saying their family has not recovered from the irreparable loss suffered since the meted incident.
Narrating his ordeal at the hands of the police, Ibitoye revealed that he has been carrying a live bullet in his spinal cord since the incident occurred.
Ibitoye who was emotionally devastated said he needed to be taken overseas for an immediate medical operation to remove the bullet from his body.
He added: “On this fateful day, my younger brother and I went to see our cousin, one Mr Nureni at Erin-Osun. Though we didn’t meet him at home, when we called him, he asked us to wait for him. But immediately he joined us, all I heard were gunshots. I couldn’t phantom were the gunshots were coming from. All I could remember was that I suddenly became unconscious.
“The three of us were taken into the vehicle i.e. myself, the corpse of my brother who died immediately and our cousin. It was when I was laid in the vehicle that I partially woke up and saw the policemen who were accusing us of kidnapping.
“I was taken to the hospital immediately and when I regained consciousness, we were taken to the Police State Command, Osogbo, where the then Commissioner of Police ordered proper medical treatment.
“But to my surprise, after a few weeks, some officers sneaked us out of the Command and I was taken to Abuja where I spent a few days.
“When I got to Abuja, I was handed over to Abba Kyari, the head of Police Intelligence Response Team, who, after seeing my health condition, asked them to take me to the hospital. I was eventually admitted to General Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, where I spent several days on a sickbed.
“I was discharged from the hospital on the 1st of August, 2017 after which I was taken to State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Headquarters where I spent two weeks before I was eventually released.
“We took the matter to the High Court, Osogbo, after my release but I was not satisfied with the judgement as the matter was struck out unjustly.
Though the interpretation of the judgement was that our arrest at that material time was because of the proliferation of kidnapping.
“So, we have come here to seek justice. Our hope lies heavily on the outcome of the panel on this case because the corpse of my brother is still in police custody since 2017, close to four years.
“I am appealing to the panel to prevail on the police authorities to release the corpse to us and arrange how I will be flown abroad to receive medical operation because since the incident occurred, I have been carrying a live bullet in my spinal cord, and all efforts to get it operated in Nigeria proved abortive; and I have been advised to go overseas for the operation.”
The petitioners further appealed to the panel to award them reasonable compensation.
Counsel for the respondent, Barrister J. Idoko, while fielding a question from the panel, said the deceased’s body still lies at the morgue.
Panel Chairman, Justice Akin Oladimeji, said the case would not be continued due to the absence of the petitioners’ counsel who had earlier informed the panel of another engagement and adjourned the till to March 1, 2021, for further hearing.