We at Yoruba Heritage Forum, a foremost socio-cultural and justice institution in Yorubaland do write to commend the ingenuity and gallant acts of the Inspector General of Police, Nigeria Police Force, for the arrest of Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, Olu of Igbokoda who has established cases of murder against him. However, by the activities of high-profile executive and judicial corruption, he has escaped justice until this moment. The Inspector General of Police has shown a great capacity for the execution of Justice by re-opening investigations into the gruesome and horrific murders of Prince Titiola Lebi and Mr Awolowo Faloroti whom Oba Afolabi Odidioma, Olu of Igbokoda Killed in cold blood on the 13th of March, 2013 and 2nd of January, 2015 respectively.
Inspector General of Police sir, the entire Nation is elated by the quantum increase in internal security of Nigeria since you assumed office. You have effectively complemented the yearnings of the Administration of His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, GCRF, whose major pre-occupation is the welfare and security of Nigerian citizens, regardless of their tribe or ethnic colouration. However, we are worried that this same Oba/King, who has two DPP advises against him; emanating from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, for cases of gruesome murder, was able to hold the executive and the judiciary to ransom when the matters were taken to Ondo State for prosecution. Having been investigated by Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department, Abuja at the two previous times, in a show of power, Oba Afolabi Odidiomo trampled upon the Nigerian Constitution and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights using his high powered cronies. He has successfully stalled all investigations and prosecution for two separate murders till your recent intervention.
We are inundated with information that certain highly placed persons in the Executive and Legislative arms of Ondo State, are making frantic efforts to mount pressure on the Nigeria Police Force using high profile connections to secure the release of Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, without due process, who at present is being investigated at Nigeria Police Force Criminal Intelligence and investigations Department, Area 10, Abuja, again.
On this matter, we represent the interest of all Yoruba Sons and Daughters as well as all Socio-Cultural and Justice Groups in Nigeria’s South West Geo-Political Zone, and we strongly appeal that the on-going investigations must not be swept under the carpet as it had been done in the past. As Yoruba people, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, Extra-Judicial Killings and Torture are completely alien to our customs, culture and traditions. Oba Afolabi Odidiomo has recklessly violated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and trampled upon the “Chiefs Law” of Ondo state which does not confer any right on an Oba/King to torture, execute or kill other Nigerian citizens no matter how lowly placed these victims are in the Nigerian society. Yoruba Obas/Kings are required to be the custodians of our cultural heritage, and no matter how highly placed an Oba/King could be, he does not have the rights to take lives as Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, Olu of Igbokoda has done severally.
Inspector General of Police sir, Justice delayed is Justice denied. According to National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria,
“THE RIGHT TO LIFE IS A MORAL PRINCIPLE BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT A HUMAN BEING HAS THE RIGHT TO LIVE AND IN PARTICULAR SHOULD NOT BE KILLED BY ANOTHER HUMAN BEING”
The manner in which Oba Afolabi Odidiomo used high profile office holders to suspend justice in 2013 and 2015 respectively is dramatic, and we enjoin all eminent personalities in Nigeria to support the Inspector General of Police to secure justice for the wailing fathers, mothers, wives, children and dependants of the murdered victims who are still shattered from the death of Prince Titiola Lebi and Mr Awolowo Faloroti; deaths not by natural causes but by torture, physical assault and daylight summary/arbitrary execution in complete divergence from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On the 13th of March, 2013, Prince Titiola Lebi a member of the Lebi/Temetan family which had an ongoing land matter with Olu of Igbokoda was gruesomely murdered at Igbokoda by Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and his aides who abducted Prince Titiola Lebi at Ilaje High School, Igbokoda. The investigation of the case was concluded by Police Force Criminal Investigation and Inteligence Department Headquarters (FCIID) in Abuja which sent the case file to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation for Legal Advice. By a letter dated 25th April, 2014, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation returned the case file to the Police Force Headquarters with an advice to forward the case file to the Ondo State Ministry of Justice for further necessary action.
The letter from the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation dated 25th April 2014, stated clearly in paragraph 1 thus “from the facts of the case, there is overwhelming evidence and credible witnesses to sustain the charge and the suspects”. However, the CHARGE NO: MKD/70C/2013 was filed at the Chief Magistrates Court, Igbokoda in respect of the murder of Prince Titiola Lebi against Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and others, but Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and other accused persons were granted bail by the Chief Magistrate without regard to the provisions of section 118 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Law (CAP 38) Law of Ondo State, and the complaint died there.
Obviously emboldened by the fact that Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and his foot soldiers were not prosecuted for the abduction and murder of Prince Titiola Lebi, Oba Afolabi continued to unleash terror on his subjects at Igbokoda and environs, and instead of the investigation and prosecution of several reports/cases against him, too numerous to recount, it was Oba Afolabi Odidiomo’s victims that were prosecuted on trumped up charges.
Perhaps, assured by some authorities somewhere that Oba Afolabi Odidiomo could never ever be prosecuted, on Friday, 2nd January, 2015, the entire Awolowo family and other tenants in the house at Okoga, Igbokoda, were in the mood of celebrating the New Year when Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, the Olu of Igbokoda led some people numbering about 20 with guns and cutlasses to besiege the compound. They held everybody hostage and unleashed terror on the men and the women. In the process, one Mr Awolowo Faloroti was shot. Oba Afolabi Odidiomo asked his men to take him away and Awolowo was carried away before the very eyes of his wife and neighbours.
Some of the eye witnesses and victims of the invasion, terror and abduction include the wife of Mr Awolowo, Mrs Ogunbejimeri (a neighbour), Mr Iwajomo Ogooluwa (a neighbour with whom the murdered victim was eating with) and Mrs Esther Ileluwo who informed us and the Police as witnesses that the operation by Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and his killer gang lasted for over an hour of sporadic gunshots. Some of the people who came with Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and were identified by the eye witnesses are 1. Tayo Lebile 2. Alaba Mesaga 3. Iroayo Nana 4. Efe Isaiah 5. Tunji Akinlaja 6. Femi Lebile 7. Jose Lebile 8. Yomi Ojabogun 9. Taye Meduoye 10. Adeniyi Gorrot 11. Segun Olowofeyekun 12. Oko Orofin 13. Soji Lebile 14. Adeshina Akinlaja.
The Police Force Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters in Abuja again investigated the case and filed an information – AK/50C/2017 in the Ondo State High Court, Akure and by a letter dated 13th July, 2017, the Police in Abuja forwarded the original case file to Ondo State Ministry of Justice, Akure but the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) in Ondo State did not seem to be interested in the prosecution of the matter, as no Government Counsel ever appeared in the matter thus making the High Court to have struck out the information on 23rd October, 2017. Subsequently, Olu of Igbokoda boasted that he is THE LAW in Ondo State and nobody in Government or otherwise can prosecute him. Justice S. A. Bola in the High Court of Justice of Ondo State was sad about how it could have been possible for an individual in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to commit murders unabated and escape Justice due to the activities of “The Powers That Be” despite a clear DPP advise against such an individual from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice sustaining the case that Oba Afolabi Odidiomo has committed murder and subsequent directive from the Office of the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the matter.
In the case AK/50C/2017 INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE AND OBA AFOLABI ODIDIOMO & OTHERS, Justice S.A. Bola wrote, on 23rd October, 2017,
“Since the matter was filed by the prosecution, No prosecution counsel has ever appeared for the prosecution. I have also informed the Police of the need to appear in the case when the case was being handled by the Police. No counsel appeared from the Police Department. Even when the matter was transferred to the Office of the DPP, no state counsel has ever appeared in the case. In the light of this, this Court cannot continue to adjourn this matter, when neither the Police nor the Office of the DPP is ready to prosecute.
CONSEQUENTLY, THIS MATTER IS STRUCK OUT FOR LACK OF WILLINGNESS TO PROSECUTE. THE OFFICE OF THE DPP OR THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE IS AT LIBERTY TO FILE THIS CHARGE AGAIN WHEN THEY ARE READY TO DO SO.
Nevertheless, thanks to the effective administration of the present Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, who has ordered that the cases be re-opened and properly prosecuted to a logical conclusion in line with the Law and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Law is expected to be above all persons and should not respect any persons regardless of class, status, creed or race. Therefore, when persons expected to be the custodians of our customs, traditions and values, have treated/handed our Laws with impunity and disregard, the Law is expected to take its course.
Nigeria is fortunate to have your highly esteemed self as the Inspector General of Police at this moment. You have fulfilled the aspirations of His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, and we are confident that actions for Justice against Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, Olu of Igbokoda will be expedited.
Elder Olumide Olasele