From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation on Police Brutality, Human Rights Violations and Extra Judicial Killings by security operatives has recommended that a police sergeant, Gbenga Olajide, be prosecuted in a court of competent jurisdiction for attempted murder.
The panel made the recommendation at its sitting in Abeokuta during which the police sergeant admitted that he was guilty of stabbing one Mr Olusola Oladunjoye in the neck with a knife in February 2017.
Oladunjoye had in a petition alleged that Olajide stabbed him when he went to a bank in Abeokuta for a transaction.
Narrating his experience, the petitioner, a professional weight lifter who came fourth in the 69 kg category while representing Nigeria in India in 2008, said: ‘I went to a bank in Abeokuta to withdraw money in preparation for my trip to Cuba to participate in the Weight Lifting Festival of 2017.
‘There were cars and motorcycles packed in front of the bank and for me to pass, I jumped over a motorcycle and a police officer accosted me asking if I knew the implication of my action? While still speaking with me, another officer named Gbenga Olajide slapped me from the back and later stabbed me on the side of the neck with a knife,’ the petitioner said.
Speaking during cross examination, Olajide informed the panel that after the incident, he was tried and charged for an offence of discreditable conduct, found guilty, locked up for more than a month and also reduced to a Corporal by the Nigeria Police Force in 2017, through the office of the Provost, Ogun State Command in care of 16PMF with signal CH6450/OGS/PROV/VOL 21/312 DTO 231549/02/2017.
Panel Chairman Justice Solomon Olugbemi explained that the panel was left with no other option than to recommend the police sergeant for immediate prosecution, having discovered that he had also fraudulently gotten himself promoted to the rank of Inspector and had even received an Inspector’s salary.
Olugbemi revealed that the prosecution was necessary because the officer was brought from Akure, Ondo State, and may escape justice if allowed to get away without immediate investigation and trial, adding that the panel would make further appropriate recommendations to government.
The Chairman, thereafter, ordered that Olajide be immediately handed over to the Ogun State Commissioner of Police through the Command Provost, SP Gbadamosi Dende, for proper investigation, orderly room retrial and prosecution for the offence of attempted murder.
‘The Panel is of the view that no investigation was carried out to enable Officer Olajide be prosecuted for the attempted murder offence allegedly committed by him; instead he was merely given administrative punishment of reduction in rank which is contrary to the findings of the trial officer; the offense is a serious one and more criminal than disciplinary in nature,’ Olugbemi submitted.