EVERYONE who knew Mrs. Munirat Ojo Ismail, would observe that she is currently a shadow of her old vibrant self. The reason is not far fetched as she has been turned into a young widow at 24, following the alleged killing of her husband under questionable manner by policemen attached to Kogi State command.
The incident which has not only shattered Mrs. Ojo but also saddled her with the responsibility of catering for her two children Mubarak (3) and Mufidat (6 months old), alone, is to say the least, unbearable for the lactating mother.
Her 25-year-old husband, Ojo Ismail Usman, a Diploma certificate holder from the Kaduna State Polytechnic, was reportedly arrested by policemen attached to Kogi State on February 5, 2012, in Lokoja and detained, only to be reported dead 18 days later.
Although Police sources in Kogi alleged that the late Ismail, who hailed from Ahache in Okene Local government area of the state was a robbery suspect, the widow denied the claim, calling on the police to show proof. After waiting for four months without any reasonable explanation over the death of her husband, the widow has consequently petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to investigate the matter with a view to ensuring that justice was done.
In the petition titled, ‘Arrest, Detention and Extra-Judicial Killing of my husband, Ojo Ismail Usman, dated June 1, 2012, the widow stated that her husband was in a commercial bus alongside other commuters on his way from Abuja when, mid way into the journey, precisely in Kogi, the bus was flagged down by some policemen for search and in the process, an argument ensued.
“When my husband called me on phone to inform me about the delay, he said the police did not search any of the passengers but kept delaying them. He then asked them why they were delaying the vehicle, only for one of the policemen to flare up and ordered that he be arrested.”
She said when she later called to find out the latest development, “someone picked my husband’s phone, saying he was a policeman. He informed me to come to ‘A’ Division, in Lokoja, that my husband was in their custody. I hurriedly rushed to the police station in company of my husband’s elder brother, only for our effort to effect his release to meet a brick wall.
“While at the police station, I saw my husband with a swollen face and various injuries on his body which he said was as a result of the beating and torture he received from the police. To my shock he said he was threatened to confess to the commission of the offence of armed robbery. We left without effecting his release that day. I returned to the station on February 7, 2012 and was informed that my husband had been moved to the state CID, Lokoja. But I was not allowed to see him.”
Following the refusal to release her husband, the widow further stated that she took a step further by contacting a lawyer with the assistance of her relatives, demanding for her husband’s bail, which unfortunately, did not yield the desired result. Rather, she said the Police filed a counter affidavit with annexures.
In the petition to the IG, she said: “The annexures which the police used in their counter affidavit contained a purported confessional statement which was signed by the police and filed in court as the purported statement of my husband.
“The police went ahead, snapped and photocopied arms and ammunition numbering 14, alleging that the victim was carrying them inside the commercial vehicle he boarded from Abuja which was deposed to by one Inspector Ejeh Yakubu of the State CID, Kogi, under the consent and authority of one T. E. Oteme, who is the Officer in charge, legal and prosecution, Kogi State.”
The matter, as gathered, was charged to a high court in Lokoja. But on the day of the hearing, the widow and her relatives including her in-law, went with great expectation of securing the release of Ojo, only to receive the rudest shock of their lives.
“At the court, the police again filed a counter affidavit with annexures stating that Ojo, the victim, is dead. Inspector Ejeh Yakubu who deposed in his affidavit, said that detectives left the state CID with Mr Ojo, the victim, on February 23, 2012 for enquiry to effect arrest of other suspects/gang members when they ran into a roadblock and that they exchanged gunfire with robbers. He claimed in his affidavit that the victims took advantage of the shoot-out and escaped before he was apprehended with bullet wounds and later died as he was being taken to the hospital.”
The counter affidavit reportedly deposed to by Inspector Ejeh Yakubu with reference FHC/LIg/CS/15/12 reads: “based on the confessional statement made by Ojo Usman (aka Ojo Vice), detectives left state CID Lokoja on February 23, 2012 for enquiry to effect the arrest of other suspects/gang members; that along Okene-Auchi road, the detectives ran into armed robbery blockage on the highway in a black spot and exchanged gunfire with the robbers;
that I know that during the shoot-out, the suspect, Ojo Usman (aka Ojo Vice), took advantage to escape before he was re-apprehended with bullet wounds; that the bullet wounds sustained by Ojo Usman (aka Ojo Vice) was as a result of shooting by the armed robbery gang that blocked the highway; that the said Ojo Usman (aka Ojo Vice) was being taken to the hospital for treatment while he gave up the ghost.”
The distraught mother of two who wondered how her husband of barely four years was sent to an unprepared grave, therefore, appealed to the Police boss to wade into the matter Concerted efforts to get the reaction of the Kogi state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ile Simon,. failed as his phone rang once and later said it was switched off. A text message which was also sent through his phone was also not replied.