Metro & Crime

How Amotekun Corps shot, detained me for 3 months – South African returnee

…mother demands justice

…he is a wanted cultist – Amotekun commander

A middle-aged man, Ayodeji Eweje, has just returned from South Africa, where he had gone in search of greener pasture, but his joy was soon turned to sorrow by triggerhappy operatives of the Ogun State – owned security outfit, codenamed Amotekun Corps. The South African returnee was arrested and accused of being a cultist by officials of Amotekun. The victim’s dreams and aspirations had been shattered by bullets of operatives of the corps who detained him in one of their cells for almost three months after they accused him of being the leader of one of the cult fraternities in the state.

How trouble started for Eweje

Trouble was said to have started for Eweje on May 24, 2022, when he went to catch a glimpse of the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, when he came to inaugurate a project within the state metropolis, he was picked up by operatives of the Amotekun corps on the suspicion of being a cultist. According to him, he had gone to see what Governor Dapo Abiodun came to commission at Adigbe – Panseke road in Abeokuta, the State capital. Eweje was part of the crowd of people who hung around the popular Panseke area to welcome their governor and to also hail him, perhaps for a few naira notes that he usually gave to people after commissioning of projects in any part of the state. New Telegraph gathered that Eweje, was caught up in the drama that happened as overzealous security operatives who were ordering people to leave Adigbe, Panseke road, the venue for the launching of the project by Mr. Governor and his team, as they grabbed him and bundled him into their vehicle. Eweje, who is almost crippled by the bullet from the gun of operatives of the corps who accused him of trying to escape from custody, has been abandoned at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta by the corps.

Eweje narrates his ordeal

Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent from his hospital bed, Eweje denied being a member of any cult group, saying he was a victim of bad circumstance. “I just returned from South Africa where I had gone to seek for greener pasture, but on getting to Abeokuta, I saw that the whole town has changed, and I was excited with the transformation at my area in Adigbe. “I decided to take a stroll that fateful day, and as fate would have it, it was the day the governor was commissioning the Panseke – Adigbe road. “So I joined other onlookers at the overhead bridge at Panseke, when the law enforcement officers came and told us to leave, I obeyed, but maybe the man thought I was not fast enough, he gripped me and handed me over to the Amotekun corps. “After the commissioning, rather for them to allow me to go, the Amotekun man took me to their office at Oke-Ilewo, in Abeokuta without telling me what was my offence. “It was from their custody that I was also taken to Imeko, in Imeko Afon Local Government Area area of Ogun State,” Eweje said. He added that he spent three months in a dark room where he was kept at their office at Emeko. Eweje said he did not know any particular reason why the Amotekun men shot him in the leg. “What I can remember was that one fateful Sunday evening, I was told to come out of the dark room and on getting out, an officer told me to climb to their office and repair something on their roof. While doing that, another officer came and shot at me suddenly, without reason, only to accuse me that I wanted to escape from their custody, that that was why he shot me, in order to prevent me from escaping, it was pure lie, I never tried such thing.” He narrated further that after he was shot and left without medical treatment for injuries from gunshot wound, he was kept in a dark room for about three months without being charged to court or handed over to the police. Eweje added that, the corps also did not allow him to inform his family members of his whereabouts, until recently. His family were already devastated by his sudden disappearance and they launched a search for him, but later got to know that he was in the Amotekun detention “through one Amotekun officers who contacted them and informed them that I am in their cell, that was how I was able to come out of the Amotekun corps detention.” I want justice for my son – Eweje’s mother Amoke Eweje, the aged mother of Ayodeji, has cried out for help, demanding justice for the “unlawful arrest and detention” of her son. Amoke called on the Ogun State government to come to her aid and save her only son from the hands of operatives of Amotekun Corps. She insisted that her son is innocent of the allegations levelled against him by the corps. Amoke called for investigation into the whole scenario and appealed to the government to help salvage the leg of her son from being amputated by the medical doctor, because of the damage done to him through the gunshot of the Amotekun corps. She also appealed to the state government to help her in the payment for the treatment of her son’s leg and all other expenses, because she is exhausted financially, so she needs government’s help. She said, she had been searching for her son since May 24, without any clue of where he was until somebody who claimed to be calling from Amotekun office informed her that Ayodeji was in their custody and needed help. “It was around August that the person called, we quickly rushed to their office at Oke-Ilewo, but was told that nothing like that happened. We were told that Ayodeji was not with them. “Again, a week later, the person called with another number, saying that we need to save my son or he may be tagged a cultist or kidnapper, and thereby get killed in the process. This time around, we were worried, we sought for assistance of a human right lawyer, who helped to petition the Ogun State Commissioner of Police. “It was through the police that we were able to know that truly, Ayodeji was with the Amotekun Corps and he was taken to their Imeko-Afon office for a reason best known to them.”

First time

Amoke added that the first time she set eyes on her son on the hospital bed, with his leg badly damaged, she cried bitterly. According to her, the Amotekun Corps could not provide any answer when she asked why his son was treated the way he was treated without informing the family or the police. “Now, they have destroyed his leg, he cannot walk again. They just abandoned him there at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, without taking care of his hospital bills. The hospital is asking us to pay millions of naira. The Amotekun is not paying a dime, the hospital also threatened to discharge him if we don’t pay. I know why they are doing this to me, it’s because we are poor and has nobody to fight for us,” Amoke lamented. An official of the hospital who spoke to our correspondent under condition of anonymity, said since Ayodeji was brought to the hospital few weeks ago, all what they could get as payment was a paltry sum of N20,000 and the hospital has incurred not less than N200,000 on him in order to get him back to his feet. “His (Ayodeji) leg has been damaged, a section of the bone is already missing, if he will walk again, we will need to urgently do surgery on his leg, we need a metal and other materials to be used, and if by Tuesday, we don’t have a positive response from the Amotekun or family, we may have to discharge him, so he can seek for treatment somewhere else “We have taken care of the wounds, we are doing daily treatment and dressing of the wounds, but the surgery need to be urgently done to avoid further damage to the leg. A human rights lawyer, Mr. Monday Mawah, who helped the family in locating Ayodeji, described Eweje’s ordeal as “an ill-treatment of human against fellow humans.” He alleged that, what Amotekun intended to do was to tag a dog a bad name in order to hang it. “Suppose the boy had committed the most heinous crime in the world, it is the court of competent jurisdiction that has the right to pronounce him guilty. What the Amotekun did amounts to an extrajudicial treatment which the society and all convention abhors.”

Lawyer’s reaction

Mawah frowned at the detention of Ayodeji for almost four months without informing his parents or taking him to court, saying Amotekun has trampled on the fundamental rights of the innocent boy He vowed to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion, insisting that, the law must take its full course, while appealing for the immediate treatment of Ayodeji in the hospital by Amotekun or the government. “The only crime this boy committed was to go and watch his governor while delivering the dividend of democracy to the people and an overzealous officer thought the way they could impress the governor was to harass innocent citizens,” Mawah said.

Reacting to the allegation, Amotekun said Ayodeji is a cultist that has been on their wanted list. The Ogun State commander of Amotekun Corps, Mr. David Akinremi alleged that, Ayodeji and his gang were wanted cult members who have been terriorising Adigbe and its environs. Akinremi insisted that, Ayodeji is a notorious cultist who would soon be charged to court after the corps conclude its investigation. “When he (Ayodeji) was apprehended at Panseke during the commissioning of Panseke – Adigbe road by Governor Dapo Abiodun and handed over to us, he was taken into our custody and we began investigation into his past deeds, it was during the investigation that he escaped to Imeko where he was apprehended again.

“We tried to profile him again, but in the process, he wanted to escape through the ceiling of the custody where he was kept, it was then our personnel shot at his leg and immediately we took him to hospital for treatment,” the commander said. He maintained that, the command had been responsible for Ayodeji’s treatment and would ensure that he is okay before he is taken to court.

This was not the first time operatives of the corps have been accused of shooting people and tagging them as cultists. It would be recalled that, men of the corps had in May allegedly shot and killed 25-year-old, Tunde Olutayo and labelled him a cultist. Olutayo, a father of one was reportedly killed by operatives of the corps who invaded his compound in Sokori area of Abeokuta, the state capital.

 

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