Officers of the 'B Division' of the Ondo State Command of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) have a case to answer over the gruesome death of a 20-year old boy, Mohammed Oluwatobi Badmus, and his father has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, calling for justice.
Oluwatobi died last week in Akure at a private hospital after he was allegedly tortured by men of the division over allegations concerning a cell phone.
Tobi was the only son of a popular hotelier, Raheem Afolayemi Badmus, who owns the Ages hotel at Ajipowo Estate on Ondo road, and he told our correspondent his son was hale and hearty before his untimely death.
He recalled how Tobi came home to break the Ramadan fast with him during the week at his residence, adding that he had talked to him over some of his unholy behavior during the fasting period and promised to deal with him, before he ran away from the house to his uncle's place in Okuta Elerinla Estate.
"He was filled with life and expectations when we broke the fast together last week. Certainly, death was not one of the tasks of my only son, not even cheap death from the supposed law enforcement agents who tortured him with large dose of chemical substance, which he inhaled and later passed out".
He said he received a call informing him that his son’s corpse had been deposited at the hospital’s morgue.
"Some of my friends that called him over the unfortunate incident found it difficult to break the news to me and it was later I was told what transpired on the day,” he said. “The elder sister (Oluwaseun) told me that she was in the house at the early hours and was called by one of our neighbors who asked her to come to Danjuma Street where she was told that they wanted to see her because his brother (Tobi) had stolen a smart phone in a prophet's church.
"Truly, they discovered such type of phone was in Tobi's possession and when they inquired, how he managed to get the phone because I learnt, the pastor also wanted to know how he got the phone because he confirmed, Tobi was never at the premises of the church.”
He added that Tobi was taken to the police station along with his uncle, Sola, and was tortured before being released, but that he died some hours later.
In the petition sent to the IGP, signed by his lawyer, Bakare Asani, Mr. Badmus alleged that Tobi died has a result of injuries received in police custody.
Narrating the death of her brother to our Correspodent, Oluwaseun, said Tobi was taken to the Police station at 'B division' in Oke Aro, Akure, for allegedly stealing a smart phone from a nearby church within their neighbourhood by one Prophet Bisi Adedugbagbe of the Celestial Church of God, Ife-Oluwa Parish in Akure.
SaharaReporters learned that the Prophet told his close friend and officer at the police division, Corporal Adesola Awodeyi, to arrest the late Tobi and to torture him to make him confess to the crime.
His sister said he was brutally torture at the station after spending close to an hour in detention.
"I was at home when some people close to prophet Bisi called me, that my younger brother, Tobi, had stolen a smart phone from his church. It was surprising, and I told him my brother can't do such.
"Immediately I called my mum’s uncle (brother Sola) where Tobi was staying to made inquiry over the allegation and if he saw any phone with Tobi but he confirmed he saw a phone with him and [had] already collected the phone.
She said she told the clergyman that his uncle had confirmed finding such a phone in Tobi's possession, and that she called Tobi on his own phone to meet her at the prophet's church.
She said that although Tobi agreed to go there, the prophet was impatient and advised that they go and meet Tobi wherever he was.
"On getting to Tobi's place, it was argument all through, with claims that the phone doesn't belong to the prophet. The prophet now told us that he had already informed the police at B division Oke Aro about the matter.
"It was at that point, Tobi suggested we move down to the Police station, where he believed the matter would be resolved. Although I was against it but since he said we should go, I obliged him".
She further stated that three police offers, led by a corporal with the name tag 'Adesola Awodeyo' held several talks with the Prophet at the front of the Police station before they arrested Tobi.
When they were dragging him away, she said she hear use of the term, 'Baptismal Room,' and believed that was where he was tutored.
"Close to an hour later, the prophet and the cohort (Policemen) with whom he carried out the plot came out with my brother with his face swollen and his eyes bulged as well blurred and reddish and couldn't compose himself while he can't also stand on his legs".
Oluwaseun further stated that instead of the policemen to take Tobi back inside the station, he was handed over to them with directions that they go home.
She disclosed further, that they drove back home in the Prophet's vehicle with argument and anger over the maltreatment in the station.
She said that when the prophet dropped them and departed, her brother’s condition worsened. He was crying, vomiting and holding his stomach and complaining of a headache.
"I picked my phone and called prophet Bisi who pleaded we take him (Tobi) to the hospital and that he would join us there," she said.
SaharaReporters was told that the boy was rushed to the State Specialist Hospital Akure, but that he could not be attended to because of the ongoing strike of doctors.
He was later rushed to a private hospital identified as 'Liberty Hospital' in Oluwatuyi quarters also in Akure, where doctors directed them to their family hospital.
Our reporter was told that at the family hospital, they were again referred to another private clinic, 'Hope Land Hospital' at Lafe junction in Akure, where Tobi later died.
SaharaReporters visited the hospital but the doctor was not available to comment on the incident, but a nurse told our correspondent that a medical report indicated that the deceased inhaled a thick dose of some chemical substance.
"The boy was brought in here and he was breathing through the help of oxygen and we attended to him immediately after they had collected a card.
"Report with us showed that he had inhaled a heavy dose of canisters substance which has already damaged his brian and caused a serious disorder in his body system before he died," she said.
Days after Tobi’s death, Oluwaseun told SaharaReporters that the police, in an effort to cover up the case called her to come over to the station to write a statement for the deceased because they had forgotten to one, but that she declined.
The public relations officer of the Ondo State Command, Oluwole Ogodo confirmed that the incident was reported in the police station, and that the Akure Area Commander has been asked to commence an investigation into Tobi’s death. He said the findings would be made public when concluded.
He confirmed that the killer policeman and the prophet are already under arrest.
Born on June 2, 1994, late Tobi was a graduate student of Idris Premier College at Ilesha Garage Akure.
Sources said that the late Tobi had already received admission into a university but that his father deferred it, as he wanted Tobi to complete his Quranic studies, where he was already leading prayers.
Meanwhile, the body of the deceased has been deposited at the hospital morgue but his family is crying for justice, convinced that their son died unjustly.