Kwara State High Court on Friday continued the trial of robbery suspects arrested in connection with April 5, 2018, deadly Offa bank robbery.
At the trial, one of the principal suspects in the bank robbery, Azeez Salahudeen, told the court how six suspects were killed in his presence by the policemen in Abuja.
He said that the policemen interrogating him did that purposely to coerce him to admit his alleged participation in the bank robbery attack in Offa, where 18 people, including policemen, were reportedly killed.
This is even as the defence counsel, Mathias Emeribe, prayed the court to order the exhumation of the corpse of one of the principal suspects 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 is natural or otherwise.
Emeribe 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.
Azeez Salahudeen, the fourth defendant, had said earlier during cross-examination in the trial within a trial that:
“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 the 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 don’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.
Salahudeen further claimed that he was forced to thumbprint a statement already prepared by the police against his consent.
The prosecution counsel, 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, while the presiding judge, Justice Haleema Saleeman, adjourned the matter to July 22, 2020.
All the accused; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salahudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran were present in court yesterday.