Offa robbery: I volunteered statement under duress, says suspect
One of the suspects in the April 5th, 2018 robbery incident, Salawu Azeez, has told a Kwara High Court in Ilorin, the state capital that the police extracted confessional statement from him under threat to life.
Azeez also narrated how policemen allegedly shot six persons in his presence to death in Abuja.
He said the policemen interrogating him did that purposely to coerce him to admit his alleged participation in the bank robbery attacks in Offa, where 18 people, including policemen were reportedly
All the accused: Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salahudeen Azeez and Niyi\ Ogundiran were in court.
Azeez salawu, the fourth defendant, had said earlier during cross examination in the trial within trial:”That same day, Inspector Hassan directed officer Vincent to go and bring five people from somewhere.
They asked me to watch what they’ll do to the five persons;and that they will do same to me if I don’t cooperate with them. They killed the five persons in my presence.
They also shot Akinnibosun,Adeola and Ogunleye on the legs in my presence. They threatened to kill me but I started begging that I didn’t do anything wrong.
They said I and Ogunleye robbed at Offa and I denied this but they insisted. They beat me mercilessly inside a generator house, otherwise called theatre.
It’s a lie that they interrogated me in a conducive environment.
On the second day, I was brought out again from the cell. They showed a man to me and asked me whether I know him. The man is Michael Adikwu.
I said I didn’t know him. They also asked him whether he knows me but he replied no. They killed him in my presence.
“I pleaded with them not to kill me because my children are still young. They tied me down and hanged me again. I then asked them what they wanted from me, when the torture became unbearable,” he said.
Salawu further claimed that he was forced to thumb print a statement already prepared by the police against his consent.
The defence counsel, Mathias Emeribe, prayed the court to order the exhumation of the corpse of a principal suspect in the robbery, Michael Adikwu, who allegedly died in police custody in Abuja.
This, he said, is necessary to determine whether the cause of Adikwu’s death was natural or otherwise.
He said that attempts by the prosecution to impress it on the court that there are only five suspects in the case amount to suppression of facts.
He recalled that when the case first came up in October 2018, six suspects were listed on the charge sheet, including Michael Adikwu, who the police later claimed to have died in their custody.
Emeribe therefore urged the court not to place reliance on the confessional statements of the suspects.
He added that the contradictions in the evidence of prosecution “are not witnesses of truth,” urging “the court to hold that the prosecution is lying.”
But prosecution counsel Prof Abdulwahab Egbewole (SAN), said that contradictions in the dates when the suspects claimed they were interrogated and the police records showed that they were only cooking up stories about their alleged torture and coercion.
He therefore urged the court to admit the confessional statements by the suspects.
Presiding judge, Justice Haleema Salman then adjourned the case to July 22nd for continuation.