A legal expert, Mr Wahab Shittu, yesterday said the family of late Senator Isiaka Adeleke can only refuse to appear before a state-ordered inquest if the decision is backed by a court order.
He said refusing to appear before a Coroner could be unlawful.
Shittu, however, said the circumstances of the Senator’s death means it may not be ideal to compel the family to appear at the inquest.
The University of Lagos (UNILAG) law teacher was reacting to the family’s rejection of a coroner’s Inquest ordered by the Osun State government to determine the cause of the politician’s death.
Following Adeleke’s death on April 30, Governor Rauf Aregbesola signed an executive order setting up a coroner inquest under the state’s Coroner Law of 2002. He appointed a Magistrate, Mr Olusegun Ayodele, as the Coroner.
Rejecting the inquest, the family said it was ill advised, self serving and its outcome per-determined.
Shittu said other factors outside the legal consequences of the family’s rejection of the inquest must be considered.
“Without a court order, it’ll be difficult for the family to sustain its position, because that may be tantamount to interfering with lawfully constituted authority.
“But these are not issues that can be resolved by legal considerations alone. We also have to take into cognizance other permutations, including the psychological feelings of the family.
“This is why it’s not a matter that is strictly legal. There are extra-legal factors that need to be considered going forward,” he said.
According to Shittu, the family has genuine reasons to be emotional.
“Considering the circumstances surrounding Senator Adeleke’s death, the family or any other sane Nigerian is entitled to be suspicious. This was a man who a day previously was not showing any signs of any sickness. This may have informed the decision taken by the family, obviously out of frustration.
“I must say that inspite of that, the family is advised to cooperate and collaborate with the state government in determining the cause of death of this great Nigerian.
“I want to also believe that the government of Osun State under Ogbeni Aregbesola means very well in this exercise. The family will be doing the soul of the departed good if they cooperate until we see cogent and compelling evidence of complicity.
“This inquest is not something that is capable of being manipulated because the entire world is watching,” Shittu added.
Source: The Nation