By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE
IF policemen saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties could condescend so cheap to have allegedly extra judicially killed a suspect without due investigation and dumped his corpse in the mortuary, collected his ATM cards with pin numbers and withdrew his money in the bank, where lies the slogan: Police is your friend?
Mr Benson Obode (26), from Ubierumu Oke, Idensaba, Uromi, in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State was arrested in Benin City on the May 21, 2015 and killed the same day. He had handed himself to the police following the arrest of his landlord by combined men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad in Edo and Lagos states for allegedly receiving stolen cars.
He was said to have been tortured and eventually shot and had his corpse dumped at the Specialist Hospital in Benin City.
The elder sister, Mrs Izehi Osaruwa said his younger brother was with cash of N200, 000, two ATM cards First and Eco banks ATM respectively; his I.D card, wallet and an unregistered 306 Peugeot car (ash colour) given to him by a friend to sell.
Investigation revealed that the police took the suspect’s First Bank ATM card; forcefully obtained his pin number and withdrew N330, 000 in four days from the deceased account in Port Harcourt, Rivers State leaving a balance of N1, 754.15. According to a bank statement obtained by the family from the bank in Lagos, revealed that on the 23 May, 2015; two days after Benson was killed in Benin City, an ATM transfer of N30, 000 was made at the First Bank Port Harcourt, Artillery branch about 11:04 pm to one Fasasi Adesina Kazeem with Account Number: 0011009936 with Guaranty Trust Bank.
On May 24, 2015, they withdrew money three times between 7:45pm to 7:50pm totalling N100, 000. Also, on May 25, 2015, withdrawals of N100, 000 was made with ATM at the FCMB branch, 642 Ikwere Road, Rumuokoro Port Harcourt, five times of N20, 000 each. The last ATM withdrawal was done on the May 26, 2015 at Rumuokoro, Port Harcourt of N100, 000 done five times of N20, 000 each.
According to the ATM picture obtained from the First Bank where the first ATM cash transfer was made revealed that one of the police allegedly carried out the transaction. However, according to investigation, the owner of the account Fasasi denied knowing the person that transferred the money. However, before he was confronted by the bank, he didn’t report to the bank of any illegal use of his account or reported that certain money was transferred into his account by an unknown person.
On May 30, 2015, bank deducted N84.00 from the account being SMS alert charges between 23 April and 22 May, 2015. However, his Eco bank account was intact as there was only N831. 25 balance as at May 2015.
However, his landlord, Mr Monday Omosigho, who was also arrested regained freedom after paying N100, 000 as bail to the police. He gave graphic details of how Benson was killed. “He was handcuffed while his two hands were tied to the back and legs. They inserted iron rod before he was eventually tied to a tree. Not done, they put three blocks on his back,” he added.
National Daily had exclusively reported the killing of Benson on July 24, 2015 edition exactly 64 days after he was arrested. The former Lagos State Police Spokesperson, Deputy Superintendent of Police Kenneth Nwosu had on the said date, 2015 in company of the current spokesperson, DSP Patricia Amadin and the Officer Commanding SARS, Adejobi, disclosed to National Daily at the Headquarters, Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja that the death of Benson Obode occurred as a result of mob attack when he was arrested by neighbours in Benin City.
“It was a case of mob action and the police had to rescue him, on the way to the hospital, he died and the corpse has been deposited in the mortuary in Benin City. We are investigating the circumstances that led to his death as well as the result of the autopsy. What I can tell you now is that he was an armed robber. We arrested his gang; some of them are still in our custody,” DSP Nwosu explained.
When the family eventually traced the corpse to the Specialist Hospital, they discovered that he was actually shot on his chest several times before his corpse was deposited at the Specialist hospital, Benin City by one Corporal Oniya Musa with the name: Benson Agwu instead of Benson Obode.
Investigation revealed that Benson, met his death in the hands of Corporals Adeleke Adedeji, Abena John, Henry Shobowale and Oniyo Musa. Who had arrived Benin City in milk coloured Toyota Highlander Jeep.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police spokesperson, DSP Patricia Amadin said, “We do not have such report but police sources disclosed to National Daily that the Solomon Arase-led police high command is already asking questions and will commence investigation into it immediately.”