Okada rider allegedly tortured to death by SWAT operatives in Ogun
Operatives of the Special Weapon Tactical Team (SWAT) have allegedly tortured a 39-year-old commercial motorcyclist, Abiodun Oladele, to death while in their custody in Ogun State.
According to DAILY POST, Oladele was arrested on April 1 by the SWAT operatives following a violence that broke out in Itori, Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun.
It could be recalled that some irate youths had gone on a rampage to protest the killing of a commercial motorcyclist by a vehicle belonging to a suspected smuggler.
The death of the okada rider, it was gathered, led to chaos as youths at the scene of the incident went on a rampage, setting properties on fire.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, at the time, said police waded into the matter, restored normalcy and arrested some suspects in connection with the riot.
It was learnt that Oladele, a father of three, was one of those apprehended at Itori by the police.
He was detained alongside others in the custody of SWAT at Magbon, Abeokuta, where he was allegedly tortured to death.
Elder brother of the victim, Omolekan Olugbenga, said family members had visited Magbon on April 4 to see the suspect but were denied access to him.
According to Olugbenga, the family members visited the station again on April 7, but the SWAT Commander, Kalejaiye Olarewaju, told them that Oladele had died.
“We were shocked. The next time I went there, the Area Commander inquired how many of us came from the family? I told them we were about eight including a lawyer. He asked me to enter with one or two people.
“When we entered with my elder sister, he said ‘the boy got ill, they took him to the Federal Medical Centre for treatment, but we have lost him.’
“Then, he said we should make arrangements on how to conduct an autopsy so that we can carry the corpse. But I told him I won’t be able to carry the corpse because such a duty is beyond me, we have other family members at home,” he narrated.
Olugbenga alleged that while Oladele was being held in custody, other suspects who were arrested with him were released on bail.
According to him, suspects revealed to him that Oladele died from the pains of torture in police custody.
“When I returned to Itori, I saw other guys with whom my brother was arrested. They told me he did not fall sick. They said the operatives beat him, handcuffed him and left him in pain.
“He was bleeding through the nose. They said when the pain was too much, they called the police but they failed to respond. They said around 5am, my brother had fainted. The police later came to carry him. Those guys said they did not know where they took him to. I did not see his corpse, but it is in their custody,” he said.
Olugbenga demanded justice, saying his brother knew nothing about the incident he was arrested for.
“We want justice. My brother was not part of those who committed the alleged offence. As a matter of fact, all those arrested, none of them took part in the violent protest and alleged arson. They just went to one place and arrested all of them,” he said.
The Ogun SWAT Commander, Kalejaiye, said he was not allowed to speak on the matter, saying the Police Public Relations Officer should be contacted.
But the police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said “I’m not sure something of such happened. But I will find out and get back to you.”
WITHIN NIGERIA recalls that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) created SWAT as a replacement after the dissolution of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) following the nationwide #EndSARS protest.
The aforementioned publication reported that the Magbon office vacated by SARS in Ogun State is now being used by SWAT.
At a panel set up by Governor Dapo Abiodun to listen to complaints of police brutality, there were allegations of how suspects died in the Magbon custody of SARS.
The report of the panel is yet to be made public by Gov Abiodun, over a year after it was submitted to him.