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How I was tortured, asked to implicate Saraki – Offa robbery suspect

The trial within trial of the five suspects involved in the Offa bank robbery in April 2018 continued on Friday at the State High Court sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

During their arraignment before Justice Halimah Salman, the suspects told the court how their confessional statements were obtained by the police.

The first suspect, Ayoade Akinnibosun, in his testimony, told the trial judge that he gave his statement under duress and not voluntarily.

He explained that he was tortured and shot in two legs, alleging that the police asked him to implicate the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, but he refused.

Akinnibosun claimed that five men were shot dead in his presence and that of other suspects, in order to force them to do the bidding of the police.

He alleged that he was forced to sleep on the spot where the men were killed, adding that his hands and legs were tied for days.

The suspect also told the trial judge that six hefty stones were placed on his back and denied food for nearly one week while he was being tortured.

He said they were kept inside the generator room at Police Headquarters Abuja while a dismissed police officer, identified as Michael Adiukwu, was brought to identify them if they were part of the robbery gang.

According to Akinnibosun, the man denied knowing them and was shot dead on the spot.

Afterwards, he said he was shown an already written statement which he was asked to sign and agreed to do so for fear of being killed.

The suspect insisted that whatever he said during the parade of the press conference was written for him to memorise and confess to the public.

He claimed that the police warned him not to implicate them that the statement was made under duress.

Akinnibosun told the trial judge that he was given a four-page statement to sign but he could not because his fingers were not functioning due to torture.

He said one of his fingers was placed on the documents for thumb printing and his request to read and go through the statement was turned down.

After giving his testimony, the suspect was cross-examined by the prosecution counsel.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Mathias Emeribe, asked for further medical checkup to determine if the wounds Akinnibosun sustained were truly from gunshots.

Justice Salman, however, turned down the request until proper trial.

The second accused, Ibikunle Ogunleye, was thereafter called to the dock and he corroborated the first accused, Akinnibosun’s testimony of how he was tortured and how Michael Adiukwu was killed.

In his testimony, the third accused person Abraham Adeola also repeated the same process of how they were tortured both at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) office in Ilorin and Abuja.

Sunday Olatunji
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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