The Nigeria Police Force failed to produce a murder suspect, Kolawole Adeleye, before a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday despite an order by a judge.
Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari, the judge, had ordered the police to produce Mr. Adeleye after his lawyer accused the police of torturing him in custody and failing to charge him to court weeks after his arrest.
The judge gave the order following an oral application by Olanrewaju Ajanaku, counsel to the accused person, on December 29, 2017, in a fundamental rights enforcement suit against the Nigeria Police Force and one Inspector Idowu, the Investigating Police Officer.
According to a motion on notice filed by Mr. Ajanaku before the court, following Mr. Adeleye’s arrest by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on November 15 last year, the police tortured him leading to the dislocation of his right hand, wrist, and bruises on his arms and back.
On Wednesday, the lawyer said the police blocked all efforts by the court’s bailiff to serve them a notice of the judge’s order.
“I know that your Lordship has the power to compel them to receive the processes. The applicant has been separated from the others and kept at Area F (police station),” Mr. Ajanaku said.
“In the circumstance, I’m only concerned with the living of the applicant, he’s being threatened to be eliminated.”
Mr. Ajanaku told the court he would bring an application for substituted service to the police on Thursday and the judge adjourned further proceedings till January 4th.
Mr. Adeleye was among four suspects arrested by the police in connection with the murder of Emmanuel Uba, an influential member of the All Progressives Congress in Festac Town.
Also arrested last November were Michael Fashola, who allegedly pulled the trigger; Muftau Toyosi; and Fatai Onifade.
Mr. Uba, who was also the leader of the Festac Town/Amuwo Odofin Community Policing Youth Vanguard, was fatally shot at 7th Avenue in Festac Town on the eve of the local government election in Lagos State.
‘Tortured by police’
Bisola Adeleye, the suspect’s wife, accused the police of torturing her husband and regularly extorting money from them.
She said a police friend informed them on Wednesday morning that they had started demanding another money from her husband.
“When my husband got arrested on the 15th of November, the moment they arrested him they collected N67,000 that was on him,” Mrs. Adeleye told journalists after Wednesday’s court proceedings.
“A week after, when he was being tortured, they collected his phone, wristwatch, and he saw his wristwatch on (Inspector) Idowu’s hand. The wristwatch is G-Shock, it is sold for N55, 000.
“There was a time we took N500,000 to (Inspector) Idowu, I gave the money to him because he said he wants to reduce the charges or something and ever since then they stopped beating him until this morning when they started again.
“When he was in SARS, I was able to see him about three or four times, but since they took him to Area F, I have never seen him. They didn’t allow me to see him, I don’t know how he’s feeding I don’t know how he’s living.
“At the time I saw him, his condition was critical because they broke his hand already, his wrist is broken, they now took Aboki into the cell to straighten the hand for him instead of taking him to the hospital.
“He was beaten mercilessly, he has marks all over his body.
“They put cylinder behind him, they tied his legs and hands, they hanged him and were using mortar to knock all his knuckles, he couldn’t walk the last day I saw him. And he had sores in his mouth. I asked him what happened to his mouth, he said they used mortar to hit his mouth every time because they want him to mention somebody’s name.”
“He’s not even involved in the matter. His only involvement was that he spoke with the man 8 o’clock the day the man died (at 11 o’clock) and he was beside me when his friend called him that the man died.
“It is normal to talk on the phone because they were preparing for election, both of them are APC members and friends so why would he kill him? And they already arrested the person that pulled the trigger so I don’t know why they are still keeping my husband in custody.”