To the family and friends of Shola Adeghegha, the news of his gruesome killing seems like a bad dream.
Many days after receiving the body of the deceased, they still treat the circumstances surrounding his death like a fairy tale.
As late Adeghegha’s relatives prepared his corpse for burial early in the week, his death stirred up controversy and roused them to anger.
Adeghegha, 35, was said to have been shot by policemen attached to Mokola Police Station in Ibadan on January 8, 2013 while trying to escape arrest. But the family and associates of the deceased allege that he was shot and killed in suspicious circumstances.
Sunkanmi Owoeye and the deceased’s elder brother, Yemi Adeghegha, told CRIME DIGEST that a telephone call was received from the police at about 5 am on the said day, in which the caller asked members of the family to report at the Mokola police station.
Owoeye said the initial impression given was that someone should come to bail late Adeghegha.
“Later we learnt that he was dead. When we saw his corpse we discovered that he was shot and there were bullet wounds on his body and head. We learnt that he managed to get to the Group Medical Hospital in the Mokola area of Ibadan before he died,” he said.
Owoeye said a policeman at the station informed the family of the deceased about his death. He expressed shock about the circumstance surrounding the tragedy, adding that the late Adeghegha was a gentle and easy-going man who abhorred violence.
He said, “We grew up together in Akure, Ondo State. Although he is not my blood brother, I have known the deceased for over 21 years. He was a very gentle and polite person loved by all. He was very hard working. We were into metal fabrication and we used to work together in Akure before he moved to Ibadan. We were like brothers and we grew up together.
“I was in Akure on Tuesday when I got a call from one of our friends, popularly called Engineer Marine, announcing his death to me. It came as a shock to me.
When the circumstances of his death was narrated, I knew that something was fishy. At the end of the day all we got from the police was that he was stopped and taken to the station.
He was said to have even given the policeman that arrested him a ride to the police station before tragedy struck.”
Yemi noted that the Adeghegha’s death was shrouded in mystery.
However, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Administration, Mr. Clement Adoda, stated that the deceased was shot during an attempt to flee.
“Investigation shows that he was stopped around 4:30am on Tuesday. He was driving a Mazda car (number and colour not given) and asked to present his vehicle particulars,” Adoda said.
He said Adeghegha was stopped near the Tennis Club and taken to Mokola police station when he failed to produce his vehicle particulars.
Adoda alleged that on arrival at the police station, the deceased and his escort met the gate locked. While the policemen tried to open it, Adeghegha allegedly started the engine of his car and tried to beat a retreat. But the policemen shot at the vehicle and he ran away.
“Initially it was assumed that the man escaped, but we later learnt that he came to Group Medical Hospital at Mokola. A security man at the hospital came to inform our men that there was a man with a bullet wound at the hospital.
We learnt that having succeeded in escaping with the car, he had parked it somewhere and came for treatment at the hospital,” Adoda said.
While the relatives of the deceased insisted that he was coming from his residence in the Oluyole area, it was alleged that he was on his way from the tennis club.
But Yemi described the latter as untrue.
Yemi said his late brother, who was preparing for his wedding before the incident, had already quit drinking and clubbing. “To claim that my brother was drunk at the time of his arrest is spurious and unfounded. He had quit the habit without anybody forcing him to do so. This, properly, was because he was preparing to set up a family as a responsible man,” he said.
Adeghaegha’s death angered many of his relatives and associates whom SATURDAY PEOPLE learnt had planned to embark on a rally and candle-lit procession in his honour. But they were discouraged from doing so for fear that the programme might be hijacked by hoodlums and turn violent.
Yemi said, ” We want justice to take its course. Many people have been unlawfully murdered in cold blood. There has to be an end to this.
“Talents are being wasted and it is barbaric that people should be killed in this manner. It is even sad to note that those who are expected to protect us and ensure adequate security are the ones killing our people.”
While the family has asked the police to produce the man that fired the shot that killed their son, the police say the killing was not intentional and that no shot would have been fired if he had not attempted to escape.