Police officers, especially those in the Public Relations Department have incessantly hammered it into the ears of the vast population of Nigerians that the “Police is your friend”. Most of those who have however heard the statement have chosen not to believe it as some have done so at their peril, some never lived to regret believing that the police, their supposed friend cannot hurt them.
The crude, unconventional methods and the high degree of baseness adopted by some officers of the Nigerian Police Force have pitched them against the generality of Nigerians. Police brutality seems to have become part of the Nigerian system. The Nigerians that have been murdered in cold blood by trigger happy policeman cannot easily be numbered.
Just when the country was getting over the shooting of Idris and Ademola Aderinto, protesters who were shot by policemen during the fuel subsidy saga in January, police brutality has again reared its head in another ugly form. Controversy has surrounded the death of Ademola Lawrence Adedeji, a staff of the Adebola Group of Companies, (producers of Rite & Bigi beef roll) and it is not the type that will clear in a hurry. . He was arrested on Thursday 9th of February and taken to Area F police station, Ikeja over an issue with Adebola Group.
Efforts to get him released on bail proved abortive, according to the widow, “the Police refused his bail that night, and 2 hours after I left him in police custody, the Police killed my husband! He turned 39years old just last week”. The deceased and his wife have 3 young children with the oldest being 7 years old, the other 5 and the youngest will be one year old next week.
It was alleged in some quarters that after his demise, the police took his corpse to an undeclared morgue. Street Journal gathered that no family member was allowed to see his body.
Speaking further, the widow disclosed that “the same Nigerian Police claims they don’t have any record of his arrest! Please help me, Nigerian Police Force and Adebola Group should produce my husband! Please help, make them answer to this injustice” she lamented.
Reacting to the allegations however, the Police stated in a message to Street Journal that “one Late Ademola Lawrence Adedeji, Male, Yoruba by tribe was brought to Ikeja Police division on 9th February by Adebola Group for issuing a dude cheque. He fell sick and was transferred to the Hospital for medical attention where he was reportedly dead. It has nothing to do with Police brutality and his family was informed accordingly”.
The deceased’s sister in-law also disclosed to Street Journal that “he was refused bail on Thursday. They asked for 1million Naira as bail. We offered to drop a new unregistered vehicle worth N 1.5million but the police refused.
A new twist however emerged when the family’s lawyer went to Area F police station. The DPO Charles Uwabuoku confirmed that Mr Ademola Adedeji was arrested and brought by Adebola Group of Companies. And less than 2 hours after the wife and family left, he started gasping for breath.
The station could however not produce the statement written by Ademola Adedeji. The police claimed he was shivering at the time he was brought in, so the officer in charge wrote the statement on his behalf. Less than an hr after he was arrested the wife got to the police station around 2pm and she left around 9pm. She however disclosed that she didn’t see or notice the husband shivering.
The Area F DPO was quoted in an interview published by Daily Independent on Monday, 13th February as saying “no one with the name Ademola Adedeji was arrested”.
When the deceased’s family however got to the station with their lawyer, the DPO confirmed that he was arrested and detained at the station.