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Justice Remains Elusive One Year After Police Killed Man Over N50 Bribe

The family of the deceased are demanding justice as police authorities ignore their request for updates on the investigation being carried out on the matter.

Ayomide Taiwo’s father died a few months after he was born on Sept. 8, 2000 in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area (LGA) of Osun State in Southwest Nigeria. 

Due to the absence of his father, Ayomide’s mother, Yemisi Taiwo, could not sponsor him beyond secondary school with her farming business. 

Ayomide later enrolled as an apprentice with a fashion designer in 2016. He graduated in 2019 and expected to embark on petty sewing to raise money for his graduation ceremony slated for Sept. 10, 2020. 

He was killed by a Police officer seeking N50 bribe, a month before his graduation date.

A year after a police officer killed 20-year-old Ayomide Taiwo in Osun State, justice remains elusive.  

How did it happen? 

The deceased, who was working at Owena came home to celebrate the Islamic festival, Eid-el-Kabir, with his mother in July 2020. Days after the festival, he decided to return to his place of work on Aug. 3, 2020 alongside his friend, Wasiu Oladimeji. 

As if Ayomide’s mother had a premonition before he left the house, she gave ten N50 notes (N500) to her son to give to police officers at different checkpoints. She also warned him against any altercation with them.  

Four officers attached to Obokun Divisional Police Headquarters stopped Ayomide and his friend at Ere junction. As they were negotiating and demanding beyond N50, an inspector with the name Ago Egharevba, who appeared drunk, hit Ayomide with the butt of his rifle.

The deceased’s friend told HumAngle that the police personnel attempted to run as soon as blood began to gush out profusely from Ayomide’s nose but they were apprehended by passers-by.

Road to the grave 

Minutes later, Ayomide’s mother, Yemisi arrived at the scene. “I met him in a pool of blood,” the mother recalled. She said her son was thereafter taken to Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH) in Osogbo, capital of the state, where he was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital.

Ayomide Taiwo receiving first aid after he was attacked by a policeman. Photo: Family.

“My son spent six days in a coma until he eventually passed away on August 9, 2020. I cried because he was our breadwinner even at 20-years-old.” 

She sold her two farms for N350,000 and took loans to ensure her son beat death but the latter won. She said Ayomide was a reflection of his name which means ‘my joy has come.”

“I doubt if I will recover from the grief,” she cried.  

Asked whether police authorities assisted the family during the cause of battling for Ayomide’s survival, she said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Obokun Police Station simply identified as Atanda came to the hospital with N30,000 and never returned.

He has since refused to respond to calls from the victim’s family members.

The pains 

After HumAngle noticed that the deceased’s mother could not hold back her tears, this reporter turned to Ayomide’s brother, Adebayo who corroborated his mother that the police did not assist with the hospital bills.

After Ayomide was confirmed dead, the hospital gave them another bill of N79,000 to claim his remains, his brother claimed.  

“I called the police DPO immediately hoping that he would assist but all he said on phone was that we should dump the corpse in the Mortuary if we do not have money to take care of the expenses.”

“A year after my brother had died, we cannot bury him because we are yet to get his remains out of the mortuary,” Adebayo added.  

Police authority’s actions 

Following the incident, the former Commissioner of Police in Osun, Undie Adie, recommended the dismissal of the Policeman who attacked Ayomide, to the Inspector General of Police.

HumAngle also learnt that a Magistrate Court in Obokun, on Aug. 17, remanded the Policeman 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.

Magistrate B.O. Awosan remanded the accused in Ilesa Correctional Centre and the matter, according to the deceased’s family, continues to suffer endless adjournment. 

The state Police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, told this reporter to call her back when contacted but she has not responded to subsequent calls and text messages a week after. 

HumAngle findings revealed that the Police do not have any policy of compensation for families of victims of extrajudicial killings. Two top officials in the police force said there is no compensation for even families of officers who die on official duties let alone victims of extrajudicial killings.  

Nigerian police are used to violating citizens human rights by mounting blocks on highways to extort motorists despite warnings from the IGP and the presidency.  

Some culpable police personnel have been dismissed in the past for taking bribes from motorists. While a sergeant was dismissed in 2013 in Lagos, four personnel were dismissed for extorting a citizen in Ijebu Ode Area, Ogun State in 2017. 

The police in Ekiti sacked one of their officers for killing a motorist who reportedly refused to comply with bribe demands at a checkpoint in 2018. 

A lawyer and human rights activist, Kayode Rasak, said Ayomide’s killing is an aberration under the Nigerian constitutional jurisprudence. 

“Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the right to life of every human and taking it away in such a manner is the highest encroachment on human rights,” he said.

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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