The Nigerian Police Force [NPF], Ondo State Command has a case to answer over the death of a septuagenarian, Gbenga Omolo, who died in their custody.
Pa Omolo was tortured to death by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS], an arm of the Ondo Police Command, last week.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS] is a department saddled with the responsibility of investigating criminal cases.
The deceased until his death was an intra-city commercial driver and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers [NURTW], in Akure.
A family source told SaharaReporters that the 70-year-old driver had last week questioned why a Police officer, who ordinarily should know about traffic rules and regulations more than any civilian, would park his vehicle to obstruct the road.
The source added that a disagreement took place between Pa Omolo and the Police officer around Arakale road in Akure, when the former was on his way home.
“Baba was on his way home around Arakale road in Akure when he met a traffic building up and it was caused by a young Police Officer in Mufti.
“Immediately, Baba came down out of his vehicle and asked why the officer was obstructing the road. An argument ensued between the duo while the Police officer molested Baba”, he said
The source further revealed the angry-looking Police officer ran to his colleagues at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS] along Oda road, a few kilometers from Arakale street in Akure, to report the 70-year-old man.
“The Policeman threatened Baba Omolo and vowed to return with his colleagues and he did but Baba had already left the scene after a passerby and motorcyclists pacified him”.
Meanwhile, a SaharaReporters correspondent gathered that the Police reinforced the following day and traced Baba Omolo to Amudipe Street, close to Arakale area of Akure and he was arrested alongside several other residents, who were trying to question the Policeman’s action.
When SaharaReporters visited the street on Friday, a resident, Mrs. Olabimpe Adebiyi said, “The Police just drove into the street and started making arrests. Baba Omolo was arrested alongside and all effort made by sympathizers didn’t succeed as they molested those arrested.
“At the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS], the officers demanded for N150, 000, before Pa Omolo could be released on bail to his family members”, She added.
It was also learnt that some colleagues of the deceased from the drivers union who also besieged the Police station were asked to provide money before he could be released.
“When we got to the Police station, we demanded to see Baba Omolo, but one of the officers on duty told us we can’t see him. We asked for his bail, they told us to bring the sum of N150, 000. 00 before he could be released for us.
“We went back the third day after one of our union member had borrowed us the sum of N100, 000. 00, but it was unfortunate, they called us outside and said Baba has given up the ghost in the cell.
“We protested and they threatened to arrest us if we disrupt or caused any noise in the vicinity of the station. Immediately, we mobilized our members and met with the family to inform them of what the Police had told us”, a member of the union said.
However, SaharaReporters contacted the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Isaac Eke, who initially denied the death of Baba Omolo in police custody but later added that the command was already investigating further.
“We are currently investigating the incident. We shall make the investigation known when completed. My tenure has never condoled nonsense”, he quickly said.
Mr. Eke immediately switched off his mobile phone and refused to respond to text messages at press time.
Also, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Oluwole Ogodo told SaharaReporters that he couldn’t speak on the incident as the command was already investigating the matter.
A Police source hinted to our correspondent on Friday morning that the officers involved in the matter were currently in a police cell.
“The officers involved in the matter have been arrested and locked up at the police cell at our headquarters along Igbatoro road in Akure”.
Some members of the driver union have already issued a warning to the family of the late Pa Omolo not to compromise with the police but only allow justice to prevail, as the matter would be challenged in court.