Doyin Odebowale, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Special Duty has denied assaulting a pregnant woman.
An eyewitness had on Thursday narrated how an environmental security guard, Mrs Adeola Egbebi slumped on duty at Oja Oba market in Akure after she was slapped by Odebowale for not standing up to greet him like her colleagues.
“The woman has been working since resuming duty and it was time for the environmental security guards to leave the Erekesan market when the governor’s SSA Odebowale arrived at the place with his men and started harassing the workers but Mrs Egbebi was unable to stand up to greet him immediately which infuriated the SSA. He gave the woman a hot slap and she slumped,” the eyewitness had said.
“The most unfortunate thing is that the SSA didn’t even care to take the woman to hospital; it was her colleagues and some good Samaritans that helped us to take her to a private hospital.
“Consequently as the pregnant woman, Mrs Egbebi was about to lift her chair to move to another position, to everybody’s amazement, Dr Doyin slapped the woman and immediately she fainted and the market women and other officers took her to a private hospital.
“He used traditional ring to slap her.”
The Nigeria Labour Congress in Ondo state has demanded the suspension of Odebowale.
“Labour had last year written to your office on more than two occasions of the malfeasance and incorrigibility of Doyin Odebowale regarding his acclaimed working for Mr Governor against our members, tempered us and openly warned him against reoccurrence of his obnoxious behaviours.
“To our chagrin and disbelief, the 'animal' in Doyin Odebowale yesterday (6th May, 2021) reared its ugly head again when at the Erekesan Market, he inhumanly slapped a heavily pregnant woman by the name, Mrs Egbebi Adeola.
“With due respect and utmost regard for your office and person, we beg to say, enough is enough of Doyin Odebowale and his ignoble role in your government.
“We pray Your Excellency to immediately suspend Doyin Odebowale from office and set up a panel of inquiry to look into the matter to come up with appropriate sanctions if found guilty in the matter,” NLC said in a letter signed by its chairman, Oluwole Adeleye Sunday and secretary, Shado F. K.
Reacting in a statement on Monday, Odebowale denied assaulting the woman, adding that she saw her struggling with a policeman for possession of a rifle.
He said, “On that particular day, as we set out, we started from Arakale, the enforcement team, we were on foot and we had over 20 policemen, journalists and other members of the public who were following us. When we got to Oja Oba... we had been having issues with that place concerning waste generation, waste disposal and the indiscriminate display of goods on the road, and with the way you find cars parked on the way, the way people misbehave generally.
“There is a particular instance, when my team had to evacuate a so-called mad (mentally ill) man who was accused of stealing, robbing people on the Oja Oba bridge. At another instance, we were told that those who were compelled to use the pedestrian bridge were being robbed, so we contacted the DPO (Divisional Police Officer) of A-Division to be sending his men to the place, post some in the morning, afternoon and in the evening, and we retained that.
“We also heard that some traders, knowing the flow of human traffic had increase on the bridge, now moved their goods to the bridge. We sent our men to go and dislodge them. The traders who have shops had sublet the space in front of their shops for those we have driven off the road. And what they do is that, they pretend as if they do not know what is going on but they actually collect money from these traders who were driven off the road and they will now tie their bench and table with a chain to secure the space, we saw all these littering the road.
“So, I gave the instruction that any bench tied, any table should be destroyed that traders would stay in their shops. We started the enforcement from Arakale. As I said, we moved through the Deji’s place; all those who had extended their shops to the road, were asked to remove the extension. By the time we got to where you call Post Office, we met beggars who had taken over the roads, we evacuated them. We also met a new kiosk either for POS or whatever, we demolished it, then we proceeded.
“When we got to the place in contention, as a matter of fact, let me say this, the incident did not strike me as anything until I received a call from Mr Governor around 2:40pm. We were already at Ore. By the time we got to that place, we met a woman who was selling livestock, chickens and I told the woman that no, you cannot do this, you have your shop, you cannot come, we saw the droppings of feathers, dirty environment and I said no, it will not happen. And I said Mama, push this thing inside, she complied reluctantly. She was telling me that the governor did not tell them not to use their space, of course I did not have to argue with her because I knew whosoever was outside was either the owner of the shop or someone who had rented the space from the owner of the shop, but my mision was to clear the place and assist the waste management people and ZL, the people contracted to pack the heaps of debris we have in the whole of the capital city.
“The next place of enforcement was where we had a table and several benches tied to a table and a woman was sitting on the bench, I did not know if she was pregnant or not pregnant, there was an umbrella, she did not appear as a government worker, no way! She was a trader, spotting green gown. The waste management people would put on green and black, she was wearing a green gown, that was not even an issue. I saw a young malam boy who was with a wheelbarrow and fruits, I now told the guy to leave.
“Before I could turn, acting on the instruction that I had given that all benches, all tables must be destroyed, a member of my team had proceeded to effect that and destroy the table, and he was going to destroy the bench and the next one. I saw this woman, I did not see any pregnancy, I saw the woman struggling with a policeman for possession of a rifle, I said who is this? Policeman with a rifle.
“I dragged the bench, and I said break it and they broke the bench and we proceeded. We stayed in that axis for more than one hour, putting into effect what the governor directed that we must do. The only place we spared was the Heritage Bank canopy because of their customers, because they were trying to observe COVID-19 Protocols. All other places down to Texaco, down to A- Division, those who had turned the major roads to their car parks, those were selling cars, selling bread on the road, we arrested them. We took them to A- Division. We spent some time with the DPO, it was later when we were leaving for Ore, that I advised the DPO to use his discretion to release them.
“I have the video of all that transpired. And when you want to talk about Doyin Odebowale, a PhD holder, a lawyer slapping a pregnant woman over what?
What I read on SaharaReporters that I used charmed ring to beat a woman, because of what? Fighting for paternity on what? Asking her to give me her pregnancy or what? Or that she left my house to go and be pregnant for someone else? What is the nexus? There has to be something that would have warranted my beating a pregnant woman.
“I am a father of women, my two girls are women. I am a husband and I have women as friends. Let me quickly correct this laughable allegation again. They said because the woman refused to greet me, do I even count the number of people who greet me in a day? Was that what we went to the market to do? I have about 20 policemen with me. Where she was sitting at the market, there was a heap of debris and I begin to wonder what a heavily pregnant woman would be doing with dirt, with waste management.
"Heaavily pregnant woman selling in the market or managing waste does not portray us as a serious people. I tell you, I can’t even recognise the woman even now! And does it not strike you as odd that something that was reported as that, the woman should have a husband. I presume that if she is pregnant, it is a very serious offence for a lawyer, for policemen who were with me, to have slapped a woman that fainted and slipped into a coma and nobody has gone to the police to report this!”