Onifade Pelumi, aged 20, was until the report of his murder a 100 Level Student of History Department and a member of the Tai Solarin University of Education. He was working with a press organization, Gboah TV.
On Tuesday, 27th of October, 2020, the Students’ Union got informed that Onifade Pelumi had been declared missing at home. From that moment, they got in touch with the family to know the situation of things. As at the time, a graphics which declared him missing started getting attention of the public.
In a phone conversation with a relative on Friday 30th of October, 2020, the Students Union President, Soneye Abdul-Azeez Lekan, was told that the name of Onifade Pelumi was said to have been seen on the list of people arrested and detained at the police station and that the family should come the next Monday for his bail. This was a relief to the Union and we anticipated to facilitate the freedom of our member in due time.
Unfortunately, on Saturday 31st at about 7pm, the Students’ Union got a distress information that Pelumi who has been confirmed arrested and in detention of police had died mysteriously. This came as shock to them.
On Sunday, 1st of November 2020, the Students Union President went to Lagos to physically intervene into the matter. There was of course not much to do on a Sunday. Today, the movement to and fro Lagos started as early as movement was possible.
Basically, from their investigations and reliable information at hand, what happened was that:
Pelumi was truly working with a Press, Gboah TV. He was with the crew of the press to cover an event at Oko-Oba area in Agege, Lagos on Saturday 24th, October 2020. A large crowd of people was said to have gathered around a particular compound in the area as they believed COVID-19 palliatives were kept there. This was the interesting event the crew was out to cover.
In the process of carrying out the interview, men of the Lagos Task Force came with full force and were said to be throwing bottles and shooting gun sporadically to disperse the gathered crowd. As the actions of the Task Force was uncoordinated, everyone had to take a run, including the press crew.
Pelumi was grabbed in the process by the men of the Task Force led by one Taiwo Akerele on the order of Egbeyemi Yinka (both police officers). The other members of the press crew took a turn to identify Pelumi as their colleague while the officers were dragging him (Pelumi) into a Black Maria.
The press crew confirmed that when they showed their ID Card, the officers threatened to shoot and kill them at the spot. So they had to run for their lives leaving behind Pelumi with the thought that they would go and seek his bail at the police station eventually.
Since that Saturday, nearly all police stations in Lagos state was searched but they were not granted the access to thoroughly check the list of arrested person.
On Tuesday 27th, head of the Task Force, Egbeyemi Taiwo upon seeing the graphics posted online in search of Pelumi called the Press Team and scheduled a meeting with them for the next day (Wednesday). He indeed confirmed that Pelumi was in their custody. At the meeting, Taiwo Akerele who led the team that arrested Pelumi claimed that the scene was violent and that they met a shootout situation. The press crew then showed the video of the said scene, then they admitted that they took away Pelumi and there was no violence as earlier claimed.
After the arguments, they (GboahTV Crew) were asked to come the next Friday. The said meeting on Friday was marred by a negative attitude of the police. The crew were asked to go and check Ikorodu mortuary if they would identify Pelumi amongst the corpse there. Indeed, Pelumi’s corpse was found.
From the Students’ Union assessment, they were able to deduce that Pelumi was murdered in detention as the Task Force saw him as a threat (being a reporter) who would reveal the atrocities of the Task Force and Police at the scene of the said event and how they dehumanize unlawfully detained people in their cells.
Conclusively, the Union had resolved that they shall mobilise all forces within their reach to legally and politically get justice for the live terminated and are holding the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Police Force accountable for the murder of this innocent young Nigerian.
To this end, they are calling on all well meaning Nigerians, Human Rights lawyers, Civil Societies to solidarise with them.