Saheed Damilare Eyitayo, whose friend was arrested for ‘cloning’ Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s phone number, has allegedly died in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
His family is alleging foul play in his death, asking the DSS to explain how it happened, and they are refusing to collect the body for burial from the DSS until the circumstances of his death are clear.
The late Eyitayo, 39, was arrested at midnight on April 4 by DSS operatives, who were on the trail of a syndicate that had allegedly cloned Governor Ambode’s mobile number. He was taken to the DSS office at Shangisha, where he is said to have died during interrogation.
SaharaReporters learnt that the DSS operatives were acting on information that Rilwanu Jamiu, a member of the syndicate, might have been hiding in the late Eyitayo’s residence at 37, Aje Street, in Iyana Ipaja.
DSS operatives are reported to have broken into the late Eyitayo’s apartment while he was asleep, beating him up and chaining his hands and legs. Eyewitnesses told SaharaReporters that he was grilled for minutes by the officials, who wanted to know Jamiu’s whereabouts.
A resident, who pleaded not to be named, said: “I overheard Eyitayo telling the DSS people that the person they were looking for did not stay with him. He told them the suspect was his friend and only visited him the previous day. But, his explanation did not convince them. They beat him mercilessly till blood came out of his face. We could not recognise him again.”
SaharaReporters gathered that the DSS operatives moved to other apartments in the building, beating occupants and searching their rooms for the suspect. After three hours, they whisked Eyitayo away to their Shangisha office.
Jamiu, it was learnt, was arrested that day in Alakuko.
The late Eyitayo’s friends, who had been going to the DSS office for his bail, were kept in the dark about his death. On April 6, two days after his death, the DSS Director invited his landlord, Pa Taiwo Sobiye, to help the agency look for his family members.
“When I got there, the Director called me to his office and told me Eyitayo died during interrogation,” Pa Sobiye recalled. “He said they tried to stabilise him medically but he eventually died. The Director asked me to help find his family members, but I told him I did not know anybody with him.
“The DSS copied out five numbers from the late Eyitayo’s phone and gave me to call. I could not reach any of them except one man, who had been coming to the house as his brother. I could not tell him his brother is dead. Some 19 days after, we eventually met with the family members. We all went to the DSS office together and they heard the news from the DSS themselves. We were told the body had been taken to the mortuary.”
The bereaved family is accusing the DSS of torturing its son to death. The late Eyitayo’s neighbour, who was allegedly maltreated by the DSS operatives, affirmed the victim was chained before being taken away.
On Tuesday, the family asked the government to fish out the DSS operatives whom they believe tortured the deceased to death. They wondered why the late Eyitayo would be chained and tortured when he did not know anything about the crime. They rejected DSS’ offer to release the body to them for burial, demanding an investigation on the circumstance surrounding his death.
The family head, Mr. Joseph Oluokun, who spoke to our reporter, said: “We have been told how Damilare was chained and tortured for hours before he was taken into custody. The DSS told us that he fell as he attempted to escape. How is it possible for somebody whose hands and legs were chained to attempt to run? We are yet to be told the truth about the death of our son. This is why the government must help us to get justice.”
Jamiu and Balogun Stanley Oyewoye were last Wednesday arraigned by an Isolo Magistrates’ Court for allegedly cloning Ambode’s number.
The family, through their lawyer, has requested a coroner inquest to be set up to ascertain the cause and manner of the victim’s death.