The death of a police sergeant, Leke Ogunsola, at the residence of a former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is generating ripples in legal circles with calls for thorough probe and compensation for the bereaved family, Daily Trust reports.
When Sergeant Ogunsola left his house for duty at the residence former governor Gbenga Daniel, little did he know that he was embarking on a journey of no return. He was husband to two women and a father of three.
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His death has given new impetus to the already raging argument over drafting policemen to engage in “domestic duty”, including carrying handbags or opening gates at residences and business places for VIPs.
Ogunsola died last Saturday in Sagamu while opening a gate at the Asoludero residence of Gbenga Daniel, which also serves as headquarters of OGD’s Political Academy.
He was one of the police officers posted there to provide security.
It was gathered that the sergeant was opening the gate for Daniel’s driver when he was reportedly hit leading to his death.
Our correspondent learnt that the gate being opened by the Sergeant flipped back and he was allegedly knocked down by the former governor’s driver.
The young policeman was thereafter rushed to a hospital, where he was said to have eventually died.
Tony Adegelu, the driver, however said contrary to reports that the police officer was hit while opening the gate, he was actually asleep when he arrived the premises.
In a statement he released through Gbenga’s media aide, Steve Oliyide, the driver said he himself opened the gate and not the deceased.
He said: “I was moving some scaffold iron from the premises of my boss, HE Otunba Gbenga Daniel. I opened the gate myself, drove out and I alighted to close the gate behind me only for me to hear the officer shout.’
“This same police officer was asleep when I walked through the police post earlier before I even carried the scaffold, drove past and exited the gate. I was surprised to hear his shout and I noticed that the gate which was wide open was now half closed.
“I immediately asked him what happened and he said he was hit by an iron. He showed me place he was hit which was already swollen. I took him in the vehicle and rushed him to Twins Specialist Hospital that is within the Sagamu GRA.”
He said they were directed to the OOUTH where they were told there was no bed space to admit him and he was asked to take him to Owokoniran Specialist Hospital.
The doctors later advised them to take him to Babcock University Teaching hospital where he died while receiving medical attention.
Some of his colleagues accused the Ogun State police command of attempt to sweep the incident under the carpet.
However, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the incident was an accident.
“That was an accident. He was opening the gate, the gate bounced back and the driver mistakenly hit him with the gate. It was an accident; it can happen to anybody.”
When asked if it was the duty of a policeman to be opening gate at his place of duty, Oyeyemi replied: “Well, we don’t know the circumstances that led to him opening the gate. We were not with him on duty. It maybe that the gate is of two arms, somebody will open the first arm, another person opens the other. It’s possible.
“If he was not armed as of the time, he can help in opening the gate. But we were not there with him. We don’t know the circumstances that led to him opening the gate. It is an accident. It can happen to anybody.”
Family suspects foul play
The family of late the police sergeant has faulted the police command’s narrative of the incident which led to the death of their breadwinner.
Speaking on the incident on Wednesday, the first wife of the deceased, Abosede Ogunsola, alleged foul play, saying the family did not believe the narrative around her husband’s death.
Abosede said the family members had inspected the corpse at the mortuary, saying the mark of an injury found on his chest “was not enough to kill him”.
According to her, the family is already considering requesting for an autopsy on the body.
“When we got to the mortuary, we insisted on seeing his corpse. We saw a wound on his chest and we do not believe that injury could have killed my husband. But we are sure of something, whatever is hidden to men is clear to God.
“Again, we do not accept that it was that wound on his chest that killed him.”
She also said she was unhappy with the donation of N1 million from the former governor to the family.
“My husband has three children and two wives. Since this happened, it was yesterday (Monday) that they came to see us and they tendered one million naira to us. They didn’t give that money to us in our house, but few minutes after they left, it was the DPO that called us to say that they brought the sum of one million naira.
“My brother in-law then asked what the money was for? Is it to send the children to school or to establish his wives?’’
We want scholarship for our children
The second wife, Nofiat Ogunsola told Daily Trust the family awaits the release of the corpse for burial.
She said “the deed has been done”, but called on Daniel and the police authorities to provide scholarship for the three children of the deceased.
“Well, the deed is done already. Otunba (Gbenga Daniel) is godfather to the person I work with, politically. My boss said we should not worry that he would meet him, for the responsibility of the kids and the establishment for the wives.
“God knows best, but for me, if they can give them (children) scholarships for their education, that I believe will spur them to greater heights. I want them to be successful in life. The fact is that nothing can replace the loss.”
Nofiat added that the last she saw her husband was last week, saying they had no premonition of his death.
Police will carry out autopsy – PPRO
Oyeyemi said the police would carry out an autopsy on the corpse as part of the investigation.
He told Daily Trust that police would not just release the corpse to the family without “proper things being done.”
“When a policeman dies in that circumstances, there are certain things we have to put in place. When we complete our investigation, the police are even going to take part in his burial. It is not the sole business of the family,” he told Daily Trust.
Should stop police details from domestic chores – Lawyer
Speaking with Daily Trust, Festus Ogun, a lawyer, expressed concern on how “big men and women” have turned police officers into domestic staff, describing it as despicable.
He also said the victim’s family deserves justice and adequate compensation over the sergeant’s death.
Ogun said: “Our police remain a puppet in the hands of the ruling elite. When the police authorities are called by the ruling elite they come running. And you know these junior police officers will listen to the order they get from their superiors.
“I just hope they will find a way of getting justice for the family of the victim. I think they deserve justice even by way of compensation. The authorities must ensure that the circumstances that led to the death of that police officer are thoroughly investigated.
“I am very confident that Otunba Gbenga Daniel would not allow the family to go without compensation.”
Earlier in a statement by his media office, Daniel said he was not at Sagamu when the incident happened.
He said the matter “is under investigation” and called for prayers for the “dearly departed and the loved ones left behind.”