•He Committed Suicide, Says Police
By Solomon Odeniyi
Controversies have surrounded the
mysterious death of a 32-year-old man,
Saheed Agboola who died in police custody on April 16, 2020.
The late Agboola died at the cell of Otaefun Police Station in Osogbo where he was remanded by a magistrate’s court the previous day.
According to findings, Agboola was arraigned in the court on April 15, for allegedly owing one of his associates a sum of N461, 000.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the late Agboola had earlier in March 2020 made a report at Otaefun Police Station in Osogbo of threat to his life by the said associate, whose name could not be confirmed as at the time of filing this report.
Following the allegation, the police arrested the suspect, but the story was said to have changed when the accused person alleged Agboola of owing him N461, 000 from a daily thrift he was coordinating.
Following the suspect’s counter-complaint, Agboola was arrested by the police and arraigned before the court. The court was said to have denied him bail and remanded him in police custody.
The medium learnt that the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo invited Agboola’s uncle, Rasaq to his office the following day to inform him that the suspect had died in the custody the night he was remanded.
According to Rasaq the police boss told him that Agboola committed suicide in the police cell.
But the Agboola’s family of Obalogbo Compound, Ila-Orangun did not believe the claim of the police, claiming that their son could not have committed suicide.
Rasaq said: “Our son (Saheed) was arrested and detained. He was released on administrative bail the following day. Saheed was later invited to the police station on April 15, where he was quickly rushed to Osogbo Magistrate’s Court and was arraigned without the knowledge of any of his family.
“He was remanded in the police custody before we knew at a later hour. It is pertinent to state here that Saheed’sfather saw him late on that day, April 15, 2020 and he was in very high spirits, not suggesting any unwholesome behavior.”
The family had through its lawyer, Mr. Kazeem Odedeji, petitioned the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone XI, demanding for the probe of the late Agboola’s death in police custody.
In the petition, the family questioned why the police turned the case of threat to life reported by Agboolaagainst him.
They argued that Agboola was not supposed to have been taken to court in the first place because he was the complainant in the matter he reported to the police.
The petition reads in part: “Surprisingly, late Saheed Agboola’s uncle and guardian was invited to the police headquarters on April 16, where he met with senior police officers led by the Commissioner of Police, Osun State Command, who broke the news of Saheed Agboola’sdeath on an excuse that he committed suicide inside police cell.
“Mr. Agboola Rasaq sought to see things himself, but alas, the situation he met the deceased did not in any way suggest that of somebody who took his own life.
“Another question agitating the mind of our client is ‘how on earth will a suspect in police cell such as Ota-Efun Divisional Police Headquarters take his own life and nobody would be available to come to his aid?’ How a suspect/defendant die in a police cell like a chicken beats everybody’s imagination.
“It is against the above background we hereby have our client’s instruction to demand for proper and discreet investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Saheed Agboola in the custody of the Nigeria Police.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Yemisi Opalola, confirmed Saheed’s death in the command’s custody.
Opalola, however, argued that Saheed killed himself by using his own trousers to hang himself to the burglary proof.
The Police PPRO said: What do the police stand to gain in killing a person on trial? He was not a police suspect but an accused person serving a remand in the police cell. He was the only person in the cell as at the time of his death because we are following the IG’s directive that we should not detain any suspect except on capital offence allegations.
“The police have always been extraordinarily careful on accused persons facing trial because we need to return them to the court the way they were brought to our custody.”