I saw hell in police cells, prison over trumped-up charges—Lagos monarch

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A traditional ruler, the Olu of Oguntedo in Satellite Town, Lagos, Oba Lateef Olarinde, has narrated how he languished in prison for nine months over the invasion of his domain by suspected land grabbers.
Oba Ogunrinde said that the attempt by the police to frame him up for the killing of one of the suspected thugs, who had invaded his community over land issue, resulted in his being detained before he was eventually sent to prison.
He alleged that, following an incident in which a thug who fired a gun, injuring a resident and a policeman, was instantly shot dead by another officer, the police attempted planting a gun in the ceiling of his palace.
He also alleged that the suspected thugs were led into the community last year by one Alade, who had been disowned by the entire members of the Ogunrinde family.
The traditional ruler explained that although he was not in the community when the incident occurred, he rushed down to his domain when he was informed about the violence and was making efforts to resolve the matter when he suddenly discovered the alleged plan by some policemen to implicate him.
Oba Ogunrinde said he attempted to stop the policemen by raising the alarm, resulting in a scuffle between him and one of the officers.
The traditional ruler said, “The violence stretched to a place called I saw hell in police cells, prison over trumped-up charges—Lagos monarch Fin-Niger Motor Park where one of the thugs, later identified as Olajuwon Olawepo, fired a gunshot at a police officer. The bullet from Olawepo’s gun hit a resident of the community, Idris Lateef Olarinde, and a police officer, simply called Chidi. Angered by this development, one Sergeant Andrew Ngwodo immediately shot Olajuwon, who died instantly.
“When I got the whole story as narrated by my son, I left Badagry for Oguntedo in company with my driver, Fatai and my son, Prince Yusuf. When we eventually arrived at my palace in Oguntedo village, I met with the community market women and the youths who were already waiting for me. While I was listening to the accounts of the market women in order to know the next step, some policemen from the Satellite Town Division, Onireke, Trade Fair Police Station and operatives of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad, came and arrested eight members of my community.”
While trying to address the matter, Oba Ogunrinde claimed he suddenly saw the then Divisional Police Officer of Satellite Town, one Superintendent Oke Lawal, and four other policemen wearing black vests, loitering at the back of his palace.
Realising that they had spent more time than they should behind the palace, he said he went to check what was happening. qout“I was shocked by the scenario I met. I saw a police officer already on the windows of the palace building, trying to tear open the ceiling, while another one was handing over a riffle to him, apparently to sneak it into the torn ceiling. I shouted and attempted to drag the policeman down from the window. The DPO immediately ordered my arrest,” he said.
On his ordeal in the hands of the police, Oba Ogunrinde added that he spent a month and four days inside the cells of the SARS in Ikeja, while Federal SARS operatives from Adeniji Adele, Lagos, rearrested him the next day after he was released from the first detention.
The monarch said, “Their method of interrogation was rude, crude, degrading and dehumanising. Their approach was somewhat below civilisation. In the dirty cell, I saw many teenagers who were arrested for various offences. They all looked pitiable. At any rate, I spent a month in their dirty cell before being taken to court.
“The one month I spent at Adeniji Adele was like a year. It was hell in the cell. I never imagined a traditional ruler of my status could be confined in the same cell with criminals. I could not just sleep in the night. Was it the stench oozing out of the cell or the odour from the cell inmates? A police cell is not like a palace. The food there was nothing to write home about. But I have learnt a lot about the police, judging from my experience.”
Oba Ogunrinde was later taken to court and remanded in Ikoyi Prison where he spent nine months before he was let off the hook.
He, however, said that, having survived the ordeal in the hands of the police and in prison, he had left “everything to God.