By Dare Akogun
THE family of the late Abdulsalami Soliu Mogaji of the Araoyo family Omoda of Ilorin, the Kwara state, capital has accused the Kwara state police command of shielding the killers of their family held and also falsely tagging him as a kidnapper.
Soliu was killed in September 2022 and was later labelled a Kidnapper. A label the family have vehemently maintained is untrue.
The deceased wife Funmilayo Soliu Abdulsalam, amidst intermittent sobs said the police wanted to oppress the family because they are poor.
According to her “on September 13, 2022, my husband went to the Government House to see the governor according to him, the governor requested a meeting with all the Mogaji’s of the Ilorin Emirate. After the meeting, he left and he informed us about his movement; which he always did that, he is going to see his friend, Mogaji Alaase who owns a block industry somewhere along the Oko olowo expressway. I was not around on that day, as I made a trip to Lagos.”
“According to one of the sons of his friend who was with him when the incident happened, my late husband, around 9:00 pm told his friend that he would be leaving because his wife was not at home. Then, his friend requested that my husband should give his three children a ride home.
“My husband and one of the children that sat in the front were killed. I see this as total oppression. They used the powers they have to oppress us. They just want to drag his name in the mud and spoil his reputation.” Funmilayo explained.
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One of the sons of the deceased Kehinde Abdulganiyu Abdulsalam said when the incident happened, he received a call around 12:30am that his father has been killed and the corpse has been taken to the Shao police station.
“When we got to Shao Police station, we met the DPO one SP Akpan, and he told us that from their investigations, our dad was a kidnapper and he showed some amount of money and bottles of hot drinks, but we vehemently argued with the DPO and told him point blank that our dad was not a kidnapper.”
Kehinde added that “We then requested for his body so that we could bury him according to Islamic rites, but the police DPO said if we agree that our father is a kidnapper, they will release the body to us, we said no, that is not possible. The DPO now said they have referred the case to the headquarters, and the body was deposited at the morgue of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.”
“Before we left Shao that day, people that are gathered at the station were stoning us with stones and our vehicles destroyed, calling us family of kidnappers, it was the police that took us in their vehicles, and escorted us to the Sobi barracks before we came home and plan the next line of action.
“We also saw on Facebook a post by the PRO of Kwara Police Command Ajayi Okasanmi, that the police in the state rescued some kidnapped victims and killed two of the kidnappers while two others escaped with the pictures of our father and the boy with him that was killed.
“So, the following day, we went to the Police headquarters, and we met the newly posted CP Paul Odama, who invited us into his office with the DPO Shao Division, who still maintained that our father was a kidnapper, and he came to the command with money, locally made gun bullets and some charms which he said his boys recovered from deceased,” he said.
Kehinde explained that they eventually got the body the following Friday after the intervention of a senior officer they know.
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He added that by Sunday the kidnapped victims and their families and some members of the vigilantes, where asked “if they can recognise anyone from the people from our side and they said no”.
He added that “The wife that was kidnapped said the people that kidnapped them were middle-aged men, not old nor young, and they were speaking the Hausa language.”
He said that the following Tuesday, which was the day of the 8 days prayer for the late Mogaji was when they were told that Mogaji Alasee was arraigned in court and remanded in prison after visiting the Commissioner of Police Paul Odama.
“Baba Mogaji was with us that Tuesday morning, and he told us he was going to the police headquarters that the Commissioner of Police asked him to come and identify some vigilantes who have been invited by the police regarding the issue of the death of our father.
“This particular turn of event came as a shock to us because we thought the police commissioner is trying to help us to find the killers of our fathers, but it turned out the police are trying to hide something because I don’t understand,” he narrated.
Kehinde said since that day his work has been affected and has contemplated suicide as he is finding it difficult to feed his family as they always call him the son of a kidnapper.
Another son of the deceased Wakil Abdulsalam said “On the morning of Wednesday, September 14, 2022, our attention was drawn to what was posted online by the police, alleging that our dad was a kidnapper. This was posted on the Internet by the Police Public Relations Officer in Kwara State, Okasanmi Ajayi, alleging that the police killed two kidnappers and two ran away.
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“That was what he posted. He said that it was four bandits/kidnappers, two were killed and two escaped into the jungle. The children of his friend (Alaase) that escaped would later narrate their ordeal and explain all that happened that our dad was killed by the vigilante known to the police, but tagged him a kidnapper.
He said was the late Mogaji left the block industry at about 9pm that day with the three boys.
“According to the boys, they noticed that a car was trailing them and when they drew the attention of my dad to it, he told them that the car might just be going its way, not really trailing them until the car suddenly overtook and intercepted them.
“At that point, my dad engaged the reverse gear quickly but he ran into a heap of sand. My dad was always driving with just one hand; he started driving like that after he suffered a paralysis in his left hand about 34 years ago. I’m quite sure that if it were not for the paralysis on his other arm, he wouldn’t have died the way he did because he was a very good driver.
“After hitting the heap of sand, he came down of the car to ask what the matter was and that was how the assailants shot him with local bullets on his chest. It was surprising that the police said what they said.”
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Kwara Command Ajayi Okasanmi, said the case was referred to court the following day the incident happened, and some suspects were charged to court, and as such he can’t comment on the matter again.
He, however confirmed that the police had an encounter with a suspected kidnapper on September 13, 2022 where some kidnapped victims were rescued and some kidnappers killed in the fire exchange.