A 50-year-old female politician suspected to be shielding criminals, Mrs. Ronke Adelugba, was at the weekend allegedly beaten to death in her house in Akure, the Ondo State capital, by policemen who had invaded the house in search of some suspects.
The woman, who was until her death the Women Leader of the Accord Party (AP) in Ward 5, Akure South Local Government Area, was allegedly hit with the butt of a gun and beaten by two of the seven policemen who came to the house after an argument with her.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Ondo State Command, Mr Wole Ogodo, in a reaction, said the woman was not killed by the policemen contrary to what the family was claiming.
Ogodo said the woman only started panting and died after policemen left the house, adding that an autopsy would be carried out by the hospital to determine the cause of Adelugba’s death.
It was gathered that seven policemen, who came in a white police Hilux van with registration Number NPF 4236 B, stormed the woman’s house located at No. 1, Akinyemi Street, off Ijoka Road, Akure, after searching a nearby bush for some boys believed to be smoking marijuana in the area.
However, an argument was said to have ensued when the policemen entered the woman’s house after they did not see the suspects they were searching for. The woman was also said to have insisted that his own children that were living with her in the three-bedroom apartment could not be arrested without explanation or warrant.
For her insistence, Adelugba was said to have been beaten and hit with a gun butt and in the process slumped and died within two minutes.
Eyewitnesses told journalists that the policemen were in the habit of raiding bars and ‘drinking joints’ in the area every weekend just to arrest young boys who would later be asked to be bailed with money ranging from N5,000 to N10,000 without being charged for any offence.
According to them, sensing that a similar thing was about to be done to her children, the woman had demanded an explanation of the offence committed by her children, only to be beaten to death by the policemen.
The witnesses said the policemen allegedly fled the scene after the residents of the area gathered, adding that they later carried the lifeless body of the woman to the Ala Police Station where the policemen came from.
The remains of the woman was later deposited at the morgue in the State Specialist Hospital.
One of the children of the deceased, who simply identified himself as Henry, told journalists that his mother had no history of illness and had never been to any hospital for treatment as she was popularly called ‘Iron Lady’ because of her strength and spirit of hard work.
He said her mother only asked one question from the leader of the policemen before she was beaten by two of them, one hit her on the head with stick while another hit her at the back with a gun butt. He said the policemen fled the house without making any arrest after his mother fell and died.
Henry said it was the policemen who took the lifeless body to the hospital at about 9pm on Sunday, adding that the family had resolved to seek justice for the wrongful death of his mother in the hands of law enforcement agents.
The state command spokesman said investigations would be conducted to unravel the cause of death.