The police in Lagos have denied torturing a suspect in their custody, Omolola Ejioye, popularly known as Eji, to death.

Muyiwa Adejobi, the police spokesperson, said in a statement Monday that the suspect “fell ill” and died while in police custody.

Mr Ejioye, who was detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, was allegedly tortured to death on Friday, the deceased’s family said.

But the police said the suspect had (sic) “an underlining illness.”

“The Lagos State Police Command has deemed it necessary to refute and clear the air on the alleged torture and killing of one Omolola Rotimi Ejioye, aka Eji, by the operatives of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba on Sunday 9th May, 2021, contrary to the news making waves on the social media,” Mr Adejobi said in the statement.

“The Command wishes to state in clear terms that a case of suspected murder was transferred from Ikorodu Division of Lagos State to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba-Lagos on 4th May, 2021 for discreet investigation. One Rotimi Omolola, the deceased, was equally brought along with the casefile and other suspects.

“On 7th May, 2021, at about 4am, the attention of the officers on duty at the State CID, Panti, was drawn to a strange behavior of the suspect, Omolola, suggesting an underlining illness and he was quickly rushed to Falomo Police Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos where he gave up the ghost while on admission.”

Background

The family of the deceased has earlier accused the police of causing the death of the suspect.

In a Facebook post by Ikorodu Oga, the lawyer to the family, Yakubu Eleto, called for an investigation into the death of Mr Ejioye, including an autopsy.

According to the lawyer, Mr Ejioye was “unjustly” arrested at Ladega, Ikorodu, around 8 p.m. on May 2 and was detained in Igbogbo Police Station in Ikorodu, before he was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, on May 4.

The suspect was arrested by the police over the death of a motorcyclist who died during ‘okada riders clash’ in Ikorodu, the lawyer added.

“Our brief reveals further that one Inspector Bisi took him from Ikorodu to Panti and handed him over to one Babatunde in Panti D4 department and the Babatunde collected some amount of money to open a file for the case in Panti.

“On Thursday the Investigation Police Officer collected another sum of money for mobilisation to Ikorodu to investigate the scene of the death of the Okada rider.

“Our client’s family and friends thereafter visited the SCIID Panti where they requested for the release of the deceased on the 5th day of May 2021 but all efforts were to no avail,” the lawyer wrote.

He added that the police requested a sum of N100,000 from the family members of the deceased so that he could be granted bail, an amount the family could not produce.

The officer, who was not named, also reportedly rejected a sum of N28,000 which the family offered for bail.

“Eventually, when the family was able to see him (the deceased), they noticed he had been subjected to torture by inmates and was already seen soaked with bruises and blood stains.

“Our clients on that premise requested for the bail but the Inspector Bola of D4 further denied our clients administrative bail on the night of 6th May, 2021 despite the deteriorating health condition of our client. Upon getting to the SCIID, Panti on Friday the 7th day of May, 2021 our clients were told that the Omolola Ejioye died in the middle of the night,” the lawyer wrote.

The family alleged that the suspect died in the hands of the police and is requesting an autopsy.

Police deny

Giving the position of the police, Mr Adejobi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, said the suspected, Mr Ejioye developed “strange behaviour,” suggesting an underlying illness.

He said the suspect was rushed to Falomo Police Hospital, Ikoyi, where he died.

“The corpse has been deposited at mortuary for the performance of autopsy to ascertain the probable cause of death.

“The Command therefore urges the general public to disregard the fake, unfounded and mischievous news which has been in circulation by certain individuals to distort the fact and escalate misinformation on the incident, for reasons best known to them,” Mr Adejobi said.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, commiserated with the family of the deceased suspect.

He said the suspect was neither tortured nor maltreated by the police, despite his alleged involvement in the murder case under investigation, the statement said.

Mr Odumosu was quoted as saying “the case will be properly investigated and officers will continue to discharge their duties in line with the provisions of the law”.

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