A petitioner, Mr. Teslim Ibitoye, has narrated how he and his younger brother were shot by police over an offense they knew nothing about.
Ibitoye disclosed this on Thursday in a petition to the Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Human Rights Violations, and Related Extra-Judicial Killings when the panel resumed sitting.
Ibitoye said he was shot three times at different parts of the body by the police while his younger brother, Akeem Olakunle Ibitoye, who sustained degrees of gunshot injuries, gave up the ghost immediately.
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 meted out to them which, according to them, had thrown the family into everlasting sorrow and irreparable loss.
Narrating his ordeal at the hands of the police, Teslim Ibitoye, revealed that he has been carrying a live bullet in his spinal cord since the incident occurred.
He said the incident had physically deformed him as he had sustained gunshot injuries all around his body.
Ibitoye, who was on the verge of crying but tried to hold back his tears, 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 where 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, 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 the 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 judgment as the matter was struck out unjustly. Though, the interpretation of the judgment 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 to cushion the effects of all that had happened to them.
we recall that the panel had on the adjourned date directed the two parties through their counsel to visit and confirm if the corpse was still in the morgue, at the State General Hospital, Osogbo, where the corpse is preserved.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the Counsel for the respondent, Barrister J. Idoko, confirmed the existence of the corpse at the morgue, a claim that was affirmed by the petitioners.
Chairman of the panel, 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.
He, therefore, adjourned the case to March 1st, 2021 for further hearing.