Police brutality: Photographer tortured to death by SARS buried amid tears
Gloom and anger pervaded the atmosphere of Sango Cemetery, Ibadan, Oyo State, on Thursday, when a photographer, Kola Aderogba, who was allegedly tortured to death by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was buried.
Family members and friends of the victim, who rained curses on the suspected killers, called for justice, saying his death must not be in vain.
He was buried in a wooden coffin around 2pm.
His younger sister, Seyi, who spoke with PUNCH Metro amidst tears, said the 55-year-old was never married due to disappointments he had from women.
She said, “We want God to hasten judgement on the killers of my brother. If the judge of the world is slack and unjust, God does not use pen and paper and does not wear robes. He looks at people’s works and I want God to examine the works of these men. From this moment, I don’t want them to have rest. Although he was 55, he was never married due to disappointments he got from women. Our parents are late. He was the eldest of three children. My brother did not smoke hemp or cigarette. He was a quiet man.”
PUNCH Metro had reported that Kola was taking a concoction of herbs at a joint in the Challenge area, Ibadan, around 8.30pm on April 21, when a team of policemen raided the spot.
He was alleged to have been arrested together with four others.
Our correspondent had reported that the men were taken to the SARS office at Dugbe, where they were allegedly tortured.
They were said to have been interviewed by a senior officer, who reportedly cleared them of wrongdoing and asked that they be released after paying for bail.
It was learnt that the suspects paid between N25,000 and N40,000 before they were released.
The victim, who, however, could not raise any money and had no one to come for him, was detained for seven days.
On the seventh day, a member of his church negotiated who N5,000, paid N3,500. He later went to look for the balance of N1,500.
While the church member was away, the policemen were said to have ordered a motorcycle rider to take him home. He was reported to have slumped and died on the motorcycle.
A family member, Olaolu Adeyeye, told PUNCH Metro on Thursday that after Kola’s death, he reported the case to the police at the Orita division, adding that the policemen did not give him attention.
He said another family member contacted the police spokesperson in the state, who ordered the Orita division to issue the family a police report.
He said, “When we returned to the station, the policemen gave us the report with which we deposited the corpse in a morgue.
“The next day, we returned to the station and they took our statements. They later transferred the case to the area command at Iyaganku. At the command, we were asked to make another statements after which we were asked to go and conduct an autopsy.
“We contacted the doctors at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and we were asked to pay for the autopsy. When we called a few days later, we were told that the result was ready. They, however, refused to issue us a copy, saying they had sent it to the police.”
Adeyeye said he confirmed from the police that the report was indeed ready, adding that the command asked him to make a formal request for a copy from the hospital.
PUNCH Metro learnt that a mild drama ensued at the command when some suspects, who were purportedly in the same cell with the deceased, were brought out to deny the report that he was tortured.
The suspects reportedly stated that Kola injured himself in the cell by putting his legs in a shackle.
A cousin of the victim, who did not want to be identified due to the presence of some cops at the scene of the burial, called for justice.
She said, “No man can escape death and that is the reason we should all fear God. We may have buried him now, but I know God does not sleep. He will give the right judgment.”
The Chief Information Officer of UCH, Ibadan, Mr. Ayodeji Bobade, promised to get back to our correspondent after investigating why the family was not issued a copy of the autopsy result after they paid for it.
He had yet to do so as of press time.
The Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ajisebutu Adekunle, was said to be busy when our correspondent contacted him on the telephone. Punch