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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Photos: Family demands justice after their son was allegedly tortured to death by soldiers in Edo over N1.5m debt

Members of the Oladele family in Jakpa Warri, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State has demanded for justice over the death of their son, Ajayi Oladele, who was allegedly killed by soldiers of the 4 Mechanised Brigade in Benin City, Edo State.
The father of two, Oladele sustained multi-level traumatic spinal cord injury as a result of the beating from the soldiers, which resulted in his untimely death.
It was gathered that soldiers arrested Oladele at his residence on May 8 under the instructions of the commanding officer of the brigade’s military intelligence group. He was arrested for allegedly collecting N1.5m from one Kayode Adeoye since January to fund a commercial transaction that failed.

According to reports, he was kept incommunicado with his mobile phones and other items in his possession seized, while his legs were chained.

“He was taken before the Commanding Officer of the Military Intelligence in the Brigade, who told him that he must pay back the sum of N1.5m before his release. Mrs. Esther Oladele was taken before the Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Group where the Commanding Officer told her why her husband was arrested. The Commanding Officer directed that she should go and source for the N1.5m to pay the complainant to effect the release of her husband from their custody. She was later allowed to see the husband in the hospital." a source said.
However, Oladele in his dying state denied the allegations against him.
“Later, Lt. Col. Yakubu directed Sgt. Hassan Hassan to release Mr. Oladele to his wife on bail, after signing some bail bond with written undertakings that the N1.5million would be paid. The said Sgt. Hassan Hassan later took them to the military hospital where the late Oladele’s one leg was still chained to the hospital bed in his dying condition."
“Mrs. Esther pleaded that her hubby was in a terrible condition and that he should be quickly rushed to his personal doctors who knows how to handle him in Warri." the source said.
Medical doctor of the military hospital issued a referral letter to the Central Hospital in Warri. He could not move any of his two legs and one of his hands.
“It was in this condition that Mr. Oladele was put in a vehicle and driven to Warri just as the Commanding Officer instructed that Sgt. Hassan Hassan and the Complainant, Kayode Adeosho with some soldiers stationed at the Effurun Army Checkpoint should accompany the deceased to Warri for the purpose of identifying Oladele’s address and the surety that took him on bail.

“The leader of the team stated that he had directives that he should be taken first to the residence of Oladele and the surety before going to the hospital. The soldiers spent almost two hours inspecting and taking pictures of the apartment of the deceased, while Oladele lay down in pains.
Upon arrival to the hospital, he died. His remains was deposited at the Central Hospital Morgue in Warri.
At a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ Warri Correspondents’ Chapel secretariat, Mr. Kunle Edun alleged that the spinal cord of the late Otunba Ajayi Oladele may have been affected as a result of the beating he received from the soldiers which eventually put him in a vegetable state.
Edun who is also the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Warri Branch said:
"Our client’s husband did not commit armed robbery, murder, kidnapping or any offence at all. It is not the constitutional responsibility of the Army to arrest, detain and/or investigate cases of debts or commercial transactions.”
He added “it is very pathetic”,‎ just as he vowed to institute a fundamental human rights suit against the Nigerian Army.
Meanwhile, the Warri Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association has taken up the case, promising to take legal action to get justice for the bereaved.
The Public Relations Officer of the 4 Brigade, Baba Musa, said the incident was being investigated.
“4 Brigade is aware of the matter, an investigation has commenced, (and) as soon as the investigation is concluded, the outcome will be made public. The Nigerian army will not condone misdemeanour amongst its personnel,” he said.

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