Photographer torture: Autopsy report faults Oyo police
A report of the autopsy conducted on the remains of late Ibadan photographer, Kola Aderogba, who was tortured to death by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Oyo State, has revealed that he died from bruises and fractures, among others.
A source, who sighted a copy of the report, told PUNCH Metro that the family were denied access to the report, just as the University College Hospital, Ibadan, also refused to issue them a copy.
The source noted that the Officer-in-Charge of SARS also claimed that the victim was mentally challenged.
Our correspondent, however, gathered that the police had transferred the case to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department.
PUNCH Metro had reported that 55-year-old Aderogba 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 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 could not raise any money and was detained for seven days.
On the seventh day, a member of his church was said to have paid N3,500 and had gone to look for N1,500 balance.
Before he came back, the SARS men had put the victim on a motorcycle and instructed a rider to take him home.
He was said to have slumped and died on the motorcycle.
The family said it deposited his remains at the UCH mortuary after paying for an autopsy, but efforts to get the report had been frustrated.
When our correspondent reached out to the pathologist in charge of the case, Prof. A. Oluwasola, he said the hospital had nothing to hide.
He said, “It is a police case and there is no provision in the country for police to cater to forensic services. Usually, the procedure is facilitated by the relatives.
“The family paid for the service and the police got the report. I am aware that the police had already disclosed the content of the report to the family. We have also been given the go ahead to issue them with a death certificate, which will enable them to have an idea of the circumstances surrounding the death.”
When contacted, a member of the family, Olaolu Adeyeye, said the report was read to the family, noting that he could not decipher a major part of the report due to its medical jargons.
But a family source, who claimed to have read the document, said the report showed that Aderogba died from fractures and bruises.
He said, “When the UCH Ibadan released the report to the police, I asked the police to allow me make a photocopy, but they refused, saying that it was for investigation. But before I handed it over to them, I read that Kola (Aderogba) had fractures and bruises.
“The OC SARS said Kola was mental and also had a heart disease. He said they should call some suspected hardened criminals who shared cell with him. The president of the cell said while they were together, he injured his legs and at another point, he cried and clutched at his chest. All of that was just to convince us, and there is no way we can buy that because we all know those criminals are afraid of being tortured after returning to their cells.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that Aderogba was a worker at the Christ Apostolic Church, where he functioned as an instrumentalist.
A close church member, who asked not to be identified, said he lived with the victim for eight years without noticing any trace of insanity or heart problem.
He said, “It is incredible that the police said the man had a mental problem. I lived with him for eight years and he never said he had any heart issue. He was rarely sick and rarely visited the hospital. Why would they tell such a big lie against him?”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the case had been transferred to the SCIID.
While refusing to disclose the content of the autopsy, he said the case was under investigation.
He said, “The matter is under investigation. That is all I can say for now. Until I have received the report of the SCIID, I don’t want to say anything that will pre-empt them.Punch