ω We’re yet to be told he’s dead, family alleges
By VINCENT KALU and CHIOMA IGBOKWE
One of the suspects arrested over the alleged murder of late Police Inspector, Sunday Musa, has confessed how they tortured and buried the victim alive in a bush at Ibeji\u-Lekki area of Lagos State.
The suspect identified as Akeem Balogun, who has been on the run eventually took the police to the site where the Inspector was buried since November 26, 2016 and also recovered his AK47 rifle. Also arrested was Baba Aroko Badiru aged 67 who was alleged to be the one who snatched and disappeared with the rifle.
On their arrest, police source at the Lagos State Police Command explained that after the incident that led to the disappearance of Inspector Musa, the police initially thought that he was kidnapped when he did not return with the others, who were on an illegal duty where the incident happened.
After 24 hours, policemen were drafted to the community to find out what happened and probably negotiate for his release. Unknown to them, the villagers who had taken an oath of secrecy swore that they never saw him. It took detectives almost three months of investigation to get a confession from one of the community members. It was then that it dawned on the police that Musa was not missing but was killed and buried by a group of youths in Oshokoro community.
Suspects were arrested and they led police to the spot where his AK47 was buried and also found his phone, which was switched off and thrown into the bush. They found his already decayed corpse with a rope tied around his neck. The suspect who showed the police the spot said that when he became unconscious, they hurriedly dug a deep grave used a rope to tie his neck and made him stand while they covered him with sand.
Meanwhile police are still on the trail of others who fled as soon as they learnt that Balogun had been arrested and was telling the police the truth. In his confession at the police station, Balogun alleged that Musa was killed during a mob action against policemen who visited Oshokoro community to settle a land dispute.
According to him, the incident that led to the death of Inspector Musa had to do with land dispute between the Amodemaja family and Ogunbekun family in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State.
“On that day, four policemen came to Oshoroko community with police van. When the people saw them, they assumed that they were sent by Amodemaja community and started fighting them. When the policemen saw the crowd they entered their van and drove off without Musa. They pursued Musa and grabbed him. I was part of the crowd so I observed everything that happened.
All that was done was that we tied his hands to the back and used several sticks to hit him. I was only watching, I could not join them in the beating because of the injury that I sustained. They kept beating him till he became lifeless.
“Those people who played major part in torturing and killing Musa were Dalako, Murilaja, Adebo, Lukmon and Jimoh who were armed with police Ak47 rifle and a pump action gun. In fact, all available male adults in Oshoroko that day participated.
But the persons assigned to bury Musa were Ototekenlu Bello, Atana, Balina and Jimoh a.k.a Olorioko. We selected these ones because we did not want anyone to locate the place where he will be buried.”
On what led to the crisis, Balogun said that the Oshoroko community thought the policemen were coming to arrest them. “Sometime in November 2016, our community head brought soldiers, thugs and OPC men and arrested some of the members of Amodemaja family and took them to military barracks at Bonny camp.
“When we saw the police van, everyone concluded that they were on a vengeance mission, that was why everyone attacked them. The policemen ran away and forgot Inspector Musa. After we killed and buried Musa, we all took an oath in our shrine so that anyone who exposes our secret will die. I am really surprised that I am still alive.”
They left him to die, family alleges
As at press time, the family of the deceased claimed that they have not been officially communicated by the police authorities on how he was abducted and subsequently killed by one of the parties in the land dispute. They said they have only heard from his colleagues that he was murdered in the course of duty.
They alleged that Inspector Musa would have survived if policemen were immediately drafted to the scene when the fleeing policemen raised an alarm that they were under heavy attack.
Speaking with Saturday Sun, on behalf of the family, Mr. Jonathan Arome, Sunday’s younger brother, narrated their last moments with the late police officer and how he left home with the assurance that he would return and take his children to spend the Christmas with their grandmother in their village in Kogi.
According to him, the deceased leading a five-man team went to restore peace after a bloody clash between two communities in Akodo, Ibeju Lekki, and was there for more than three weeks.
He said: “After the third week, normalcy returned to the community, and so five of them worked out an arrangement that saw one person going off duty for a day.
“However, on this fateful day, they received a distress call that crisis had erupted again, so he mobilized the team that had been reduced to three, as one was off duty and the other was ill.
He led the three- man squad to the scene of the crisis, where the hoodlums had abducted three persons. The team was able to rescue two of the victims, and went for the third one when the hoodlums overpowered them, and abducted Musa, while his colleagues ran away, and went to Lekki Division to report the incident before they came to the command in Ikeja and reported at SARS.
“Expectedly, the police ought to have mobilised his colleagues to go back to that place to look for him immediately the incident happened, but that never happened, and we learnt that the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni allegedly stopped them from doing that. After two days when we heard of the news, we went to SARS, and they kept promising they would send rescue mission and they never did.
“What got us pissed off as a family is that efforts made to see the CP were rebuffed. He deliberately refused to see us including the wife and children. One day, he gave us appointment (his wife, children and brothers) and we were there from 9am and he kept us waiting till about 5pm, promising that he would see us, but surprisingly, we heard the blaring of siren and his secretary came to tell us that he had gone for the day and promised to attend to us the following morning before any other person or people.
“We returned the following morning and started waiting, only for him to delegate the Deputy Commissioner Admin to see us. Since the DC Admin didn’t know about the matter, he only invited the OC SARS and OC X Squad for explanation. All along we have been seeing OC SARS, and what again was he coming to tell us?
“His wife, 27-year-old Halimat, doesn’t have any job and so, is finding it hard to cope.
Right now, the family is in distress, the wife is not working. Two of the four children have been withdrawn from school. We had to write an undertaking to allow the other two, who are in boarding school to continue pending when we will get money to pay. Nobody from the police cared to check on his wife and the children and now his wife doesn’t have money and cannot access his ATM pin.
“Even though they have not told us officially, we have been privileged to hear how he was killed. Our family members in the village are not aware of this ugly development. We heard that the police had arrested some people over this and some of them have made confessional statement, and names of people holding his riffle have been mentioned, but the mastermind, who is a traditional ruler, walks freely. He has not even been questioned.
“When I was at SARS office, one man arrived and said he came in respect of the Police Inspector killed at Ibeju Lekki, and also the people arrested for that. He was asked his relationship with those people, and when he was incoherent, he was arrested. It was then that I knew that something tragic had happened to my brother. When he was abducted, the command was reluctant to mobilise its men to go after his abductors.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris to urgently compel the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to produce him. They said they had made some arrests, what have they found out? We want to know if he’s dead or alive. If he is no more, where are his remains?
“The disposition of the police authorities in the state could tempt one to presume complicity, because we heard they have made some arrests, yet nothing has been done. Or is there anything they are not telling us?”
Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos Command, Famous Cole, said he just assumed office and so doesn’t know about the matter. However, he was quick to say that the police command doesn’t shy away from its responsibility, arguing that there was no way the CP would avoid the family as there are various channels of communication on any issue.