An Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, on Friday, adjourned till August 25 and 26, the case of nine suspects accused of murder, stealing and arson during the #EndSARS protest of October, 20, 2020.
The presiding judge, Justice Moshood Abbas adjourned the case after the fifth and sixth Prosecution Witnesses gave their evidences and were cross-examined by counsels to the defendants.
The nine accused persons-Ariyo Sodiq; Ikenna Amaechi; Oyewole Olumide; Ariyo Afeez; Ikechukwu Ezeh;Taoreed Abiodun; Rasheed Tiamiyu; Adeshina Ademuyiwa; Adekunle Moruf-were arraigned on a five-count charge.
They were accused of murdering three police officers; stealing five AK-47 rifles, one assault rifle, two thousand live 9MM ammunition, police uniforms, computers, laptops,thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 383(2)(a) and punishable under Section 390(4)(f) of the Criminal Code Laws of Oyo State, Cap 38, Vol. Laws of Oyo State 2000.
The accused and others now at large, were also accused of setting on fire the Ojoo Divisional Police Headquarters building, thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 443 of the Criminal Code Laws of Oyo State, Cap 38, Vol II, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.
The suspects pleaded ‘not guilty’ at the commencement of the trial on July 16.
While being cross-examined at the resumed hearing of the trial, Prosecution Witness 5, who was formerly attached to Ojoo Divisional Police Headquarters, ASP Ojo Waheed, narrated how he escaped being killed by the rampaging hoodulms during attack.
Waheed, who became emotional, identified two of the suspects- Adeshina Ademuyiwa(1st defendant) and Oyewole Olumide (5th defendant) as part of the mob that pursued him and late Inspector Alidu Yussuf under cross-examination.
The ASP said after jumping into primary school near the police station, he tried to jump through the other fence but an old woman told him not to jump, that the hoodlums are everywhere and they have surrounded the school.
He said: “Later, the woman signaled to me with her eye and I jumped. I entered her house and I was locked up in her kitchen. I already had dislocation on my two legs because of the planks they used to hit me while trying to jump the fence earlier. The hoodlums came to search her house because they have already threatened the landlords that anybody that hid any policeman in their house will first be killed before killing the policeman. After they have left, I relocated to the pit toilet in the woman’s house.
“Around 11pm, I begged the woman for an hijab and wrapper. I wore it over my uniform to disguise and trekked to Ajibode junction where I called my family and in-law. They came around 11:30pm and took me to Bembow hospital at Adekile.I spent nine days in hospital before I was discharged. After I was discharged, I got a call from the DPO (CP Adeola Odetunde) that we should report at the command headquarters and we were asked to write official at Quick Intervention Unit(QIU) of the command.”
Waheed, who identified his statement, said he saw everything that happened on the day himself and on social media. His statement was admitted in evidence as Exhibit 3.
Also, Inspector Peter Otoide, who is the Prosecution Witness 6, narrated how one of his colleague, Inspector Peter Abegunde was killed. He said he was in front of the station when one of the suspects, Rasheed Tiamiyu (9th defendant), attacked Abegunde with a machete.
“Captain Osula of Operation Burst joined us at the station and told us everything will be fine, that they are in charge. After a while, he left. Immediately he left, I saw the 9th defendant attack Inspector Peter Abegunde with a machete. He fell to the ground and I ran for my dear life. I ran through the exit door at the back of the police station because I discovered they had overpowered the station. I ran to a room at Tola’s building. I brought out my phone in the room to check the numbers of those calling me and from there saw video clips of how they were burning Ojoo Police Station and the cars in front of it and how they were looting the armoury.
“I saw the Adeshina Ademuyiwa (1st defendant) and Oyewole Olumide (5th defendant) in the video. I also saw where they were macheting Inspector Peter Abegunde. My car, a Primera Nissan salon was also burnt. I was there till 9pm before I was able to go home. I went to report at the state command at Eleyele the following day,” Otoide said.
Under cross-examination, Otoide, who said he had been serving in Ojoo Divisional Police Station for over 10 years before the incident, said he couldn’t help his colleagues because he had to save his own life too.
After admitting his statement in evidence as Exhibit 4, Justice Abbas adjourned continuation of hearing in the case to August 25 and 26.