At 20, young Ayomide Taiwo was already the breadwinner of his family. His father had died a few months after he was born on September 8, 2000 in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of Osun State. From then, the care of the family fell on the shoulders of his mother, Yemisi Taiwo, a farmer.
Lacking financial resources to continue his education, Ayomide enrolled as an apprentice with a fashion designer in the same town towards the end of 2016. At the end of he training in 2019, he embarked on petty sewing to raise money for his graduation which was billed for September 10 this year. Unfortunately, he was killed by a police officer over a N50 bribe, a month before the day that his mother had been looking forward to.
Late Ayomide had come home from Owena where he was practicing his trade to celebrate the Islamic festival, Eid-el-Kabir, with his mother. Days after the event on August 3, he decided to travel back to his base with his friend, Wasiu Oladimeji. The deceased had bought a motorcycle which they were riding on the fateful trip.
The journey to grave
As if she had a premonition, before leaving the house, Mrs Taiwo said she had counselled her son to be careful with bribe-seeking police officers on the road.
“Don’t argue with them on the road ooo. Once they ask for money, give them N50,” the widow recalled telling her son. She also recalled giving him 10 N50 notes (N500) for the bribes.
At Ere Junction in Obokun, Ayomide and his friend were stopped by police officers at a checkpoint; and as usual, they demanded a bribe. Mr Oladimeji said four officers attached to Obokun Divisional Police Headquarters stopped them and in the course of negotiating the bribe, an inspector who appeared drunk, Ago Egharevba, hit Ayomide with butt of his riffle.
Her tears forced this reporter to stop the interview.
Corroborating his mother’s account, Adebayo, an elder brother to the deceased, said the family wants justice to be dispensed over the incident. He said the family spent over N400,000 to save Ayomide’s life but it was in vain.
Police actions, inactions
While the officer who fatally attacked Mr Ayomide is in custody, the family said the police did not assist with the hospital bills. They accused the police of negligence and inhumane acts.
“After Ayomide was confirmed dead, we were given another bill of N79,000 to pay at LAUTECH to claim the body. Unfortunately, the money I had alongside my mum that day was just N11,000. I called the police DPO to inform him but he shouted at me on the phone that we should ‘dump’ him in the mortuary. Since then, he has not responded to my calls and we don’t know how to get Ayomide out of the mortuary. We ought to have buried him but we are scared of incurring more debt. So, he’s still in the mortuary as we speak,” Adebayo concluded.
The Commissioner of Police in Osun, Undie Adie, has recommended the dismissal of Mr Egharevbe, the officer who attacked Ayomide, to the Inspector-General of Police.
On August 17, a Magistrate Court in Obokun remanded the officer for the killing which the prosecution said is contrary to and punishable under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap. 34 Vol. Il Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2002.
The Magistrate, B.O. Awosan, remanded the accused in Ilesa Correctional Centre and adjourned the case till October 19.
For three days, the state police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, refused to respond to our correspondent’s enquiries on whether the police have compensation for families of victims of such incidents. PREMIUM TIMES’ findings, however, revealed that the police do not have any policy of compensation for families of victims of extra-judicial killings.
Two top officers who spoke under anonymity said there is no compensation for even families of officers who die on official duties.