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‘Police, Ife Central council approved OAU student’s burial’

By Toba Adedeji, Osogbo
An environmental officer in the Osun State Civil Service, Fatai Adejumo, while giving evidence before the state High Court, Osogbo, presided over by Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Ojo, said police and Ife Central Local Government Area approved the burial of the Obafemi Awolowo University student, Timothy Adegoke.

Adejumo, led in evidence by the prosecutor, M. O. Omosun, referred to Timothy Adegoke as a ‘pauper’ as he explained the roles played by the Divisional Police Officer of More Station, chairman and officials of Ife Central Local Government Area, Osun State, in approving the burial arrangements after the body was dumped on the roadside.

He said, “On November 8, 2021, I got a call from DPO More Division, telling me about a dead pauper, lying along Ede Road, Ile Ife. I asked him if he had told the Chairman of Ife Central, Elugbaju Olayera, and he said yes. I told him to allow me to speak with the chairman. Throughout that day, I could not see the chairman till the closing hour. On 9th November, I called the chairman in the morning, asking if the DPO called him or not. He said the DPO informed him. When I got to the office that day, the DPO had dropped a memo in respect of the removal of the pauper. The letter was addressed to the chairman, Police Area Commander, Ife, was copied.

“The letter underwent due process at the local government. About eight officers worked on the letter before it was approved. The approval was given to me by the management of Ife Central local government to remove and bury the pauper. A sum of N20,000 was approved by the LGA to pay casual labourers hired for the burial.

“After I got the approval, I proceeded to the scene that the DPO described for us where the pauper was found. When we got there, we took photographs of how we buried the pauper. Then, we discovered that the corpse was in a complete state of decay. As a result, we could not move the remains from the place where it was found. We decided to dig a grave beside the corpse at the set back of the road and then, we fumigated the surroundings before, during and after the burial.

“We concluded the burial around 2:pm. After the burial, I sent soft copies of the pictures taken during the burial to the WhatsApp number of the chairman, Ife Central local government, and it was acknowledged by the chairman. I didn’t hear anything about the incident again until November 25, 2021, when I was called by the DPO, More Division, to come and meet some officers from State Police Headquarters, in respect of the burial. On that day, I made a statement with the officials. Pictures taken during the process of the burial were also released to the officers.”

The defendant’s counsel, K.K Eleja asked the court to note that memory card is alien to the Evidence Act. Abdulrasheed also opposed said memory card and Android phone as exhibits. Otaru also aligned with the argument.

Meanwhile, Justice Ojo admitted photographs allegedly taken during the burial as exhibits.

While cross-examining the Health Officer, he said the pauper was inside a cartoon and tied with rope, noting that, the state he met the pauper, they could not touch the body with bare hands. Eleja asked if they used rope met on the body to drag the body into the grave. But the Health Officers said they used the rope to lift the body into the grave.

Abdulrasheed showed the Health Officer a picture where a rope was tied around the pauper and the health officer confirmed that, but he denied retightening the rope around the body before burial.

Credit: The Nation

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