Olalekan Olaniyan a generator repairer and electrical engineer finally gained his freedom on 14th of January, 2022 after 4years and 7 months in Agodi custodial Centre over the allegation of armed robbery leveled against him by one of his neighbors who claimed he suspected him as one of the armed robbers that came on the street on the night of the robbery incidence. Coincidentally, Olalekan was arrested by the policemen in his mother’s house on his birthday and 3 days after the robbery incidence and he was immediately transferred to SARS where he was tortured and heated by the gun and in the process he lost six of his teeth. His mother sold her house in other to get her son out of the problem but to no avail. In 2019 his mother was referred to Centre for Justice Mercy and Reconciliation, CJMR for possible intervention.

The woman and one of her sons insisted that her son was home with her on the night of the incidence. Visit was made to the community on fact finding mission by the CJMR and several meetings were held with the Community leaders. They all sympathized with the woman and her son in the prison but they claimed “truly there was robbery incidence and as a community we lodged complaint to the police but nobody pointed at anybody as a suspect, the man who pointed at him as a suspect is a tenant in this community and shortly after the incidence he has relocated and nobody can tell his whereabouts, we did not lodged complain against anybody”.

We are of the opinion that it is not in the best interest of justice to keep this man in the prison without trial. The State finally withdrew the charges against him for lack of prosecution witness and the case was struck out being the first victory in January, 2022.

A lot of people are suffering for injustice because of mistaken of identity and misapprehension of fact. If there is nobody to stand in the gap they continue to languish in the prison.
In year 2006, there was a similar case of mistaken of identity when a woman went to deposit money in a bank she sighted a young man who also came to deposit money in the bank as one of the members of armed robbers that came to robbed her and catted away her money and Jewries. Immediately, this woman alerted the police security attached to the bank and the young man was arrested and handed over to the police at State C.I.D. Iyaganku, Ibadan. Investigation revealed that this man is an apprentice in car dealer in Oke-Ado, he was sent on an errand by his matter to go and deposit money in to the account of his master. By the time the woman realized that she has misidentified a wrong person she found it difficult to withdraw her claim for the fear of being sewed for damages. It takes our intervention to fast tract his freedom by convincing the woman that she has pointed at a wrong person. She wrote to the Court a withdrawal letter against the young man and the case was struck out. Whenever the prayer is said “may we never resemble a wanted person, you better say a louder amen.

By admin

Hezekiah Deboboye Olujobi is the Executive Director for Centre for Justice Mercy and Reconciliation, CJMR a non-governmental organization based in Ibadan with focus on Access to Justice project. He is the initiator for the Halfway Home and human rights defender in Nigeria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.