OGUN, Nigeria – Mrs Funmilayo Akinade has blamed officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ogun State for her sons’ death.
Seyi Akinola, who was a final-year student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) had committed suicide after he was unlawfully accused and detained.
His mother, a resident of Ifelodun, Ipaja Ayobo, Lagos State, said Seyi, who was into foreign exchange trading (forex) killed himself after losing more than N7 million at a time he was “unlawfully arrested, detained and harassed by some SARS operatives from Obada Oko, Abeokuta”, the Ogun State capital.
OgeneAfrican learnt that Funmilayo Akinade and her husband, Segun Akinade, had filed a petition before the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation, demanding justice for their dead son.
Appearing before the panel of Thursday, Funmilayo said some officers of the disbanded SARS had invaded his son’s hostel in the Camp area of Obantoko, Abeokuta on February 2, 2020, and took him away alongside 16 others.
She told the panel that her son, friends and other neighbours were taken to the police station in Obada Oko, where they were all detained overnight.
“My son was a forex trader, while he was in police custody, he demanded his phone so as to continue with his online trading because he had people who had investments with him. But they asked him to bring N2million; later it was reduced to N200,000. He refused to give them bribe because he was not a Yahoo-boy. He also had a final year project to defend the other day. Because he refused to give them money, they didn’t release him and his friend, Adejoro Damilare.
“By the time they were released the following day, he had lost about 20,000 dollars in his forex trading and he also lost his project defence at the university, she narrated.
The woman said Seyi became depressed and devastated as a result of his losses.
According to her, the deceased returned to Lagos when the COVID-19 lockdown was about to start in March and told her how his forex trading investors had been demanding for their money, thinking he was a fraudster.
On April 21, Funmilayo explained that he got a call from a friend of Seyi known as Moses, who told her his son had been rushed to the hospital.
“My son drank Sniper to kill himself. He died as a result of the losses he incurred during his illegal arrest and detention. He was depressed and couldn’t cope with the enormous debts hanging on his neck.
“He has posted the suicide note on Twitter a few days before he took his life. But I didn’t know. I am not on Twitter. Maybe I could have stopped him,” she said amidst tears.
She proceeded by saying, “After his death, we went to Zone 2 in Lagos to complain. There, they told us that they would fish out the officers, but we must pay N100,000 to hire a vehicle among other things. An officer told us that the government doesn’t provide all those things. That day, we dropped N50,000 with the officer.
“Three days later, we called the officer to know the steps he had taken so far. Surprisingly, he told us the investigation had not begun because the money we gave was too small. The money was not refunded and nothing was done since then.
“I want justice for my son. I have not been myself since I lost my son who was about to graduate from FUNAAB,” she submitted.
But, the police said Seyi was released on bail without a penny collected from him and his friends.
They wonder how officers were to be blamed for the suicide committed more than two months after he left their custody.
OgeneAfrican learnt that the police formation in Obada at the time was that of the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS).
The unit was dissolved by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, following the alleged killing of a Remo Stars footballer, Tiyamiyu Kaka in February.