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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Physically-challenged pastor arrested for sickler’s death during vigil

A physically challenged trainee pastor, Adebayo Kehinde, 19, will have to explain the circumstances surrounding the death of a member of his church, known as Tobi.

The deceased was said to have attended a night vigil supervised by Kehinde in a church at Iree in Osun State when he had three successive epileptic seizures and died.

Before his death, Tobi was a student of a polytechnic in the state and a sickler. CRIME DIGEST gathered that he had suffered epileptic seizures since he was born 23 years ago.

The police in Osun arrested Kehinde over the incident. His father, Mr. Samuel Kehinde, said he was away from home when he learnt of the incident. He said, “On Oct. 5, I was in Ekiti State when I received a phone call from my son in the evening. He told me that he was detained at the Iree Police Division in Osun. Naturally, I panicked and asked what offence he had committed. Adebayo told me that there was a sick man (Tobi) who had come for a vigil at the church on Friday night. He didn’t explain what the nature of the sickness was. He just went on to say that in the middle of the night during prayers, Tobi took ill.

“Adebayo told me that when he discovered that Tobi had died, he phoned the boy’s parents to inform them about his death. They had told him that they were on their way. While he waited for them, another man walked in with some policemen to arrest him. It was later he discovered that the man was Tobi’s landlord. It was the landlord who informed the police about Tobi’s death.

“I told Adebayo that I was in Ekiti and I would see him the next day. I asked him if his boss, who is also my friend, Mr. Demola Bamgboye, was aware of the situation. He said that he had spoken with Bamgboye.”

Two days after, Mr. Kehinde met his son, Adebayo, in the same church where Tolu died. There he learnt that Bamgboye had sent somebody to bail his son that Sunday evening and that the entire matter had been settled.

“Adebayo had given me the assurance that everything was over. The next day I returned to Ekiti, only to receive another phone call from Adebayo that Thursday, telling me that he had been rearrested by the police. He said more money was needed to bail him or else he would be transferred to the Osun state Police Command.

“I was confused because Adebayo had initially told me that Tolu’s parents had told the police that they were not interested in going to court over the matter to make a case because they knew Tobi was epileptic. I wasn’t really buoyant financially so I phoned Bamgboye, but he was still not back in Osun. By the time Bamgboye called me a few days later, he said that Adebayo had been taken from the Area Command at Iragbiji to the Osun Police Command. He told me that he had spent a lot of money to bail out my son and had no more money to spend.

“I quickly returned to Lagos to raise some money; I was advised to bring N40,000. Till date, I am still trying to raise that amount,” he said.

When CRIME DIGEST contacted Bamgboye, he said he was not available when the incident happened. He said, “I was in the north when I got a call that Saturday morning from an elderly member of my church; somebody was lying dead in the church. I immediately called Adebayo and asked him about it. At the time, he had left the church at about 5 am in his usual habit to preach. He thought that Tolu had recovered after his last seizure, not knowing that the boy was dead and actually thought he was sleeping.

“I asked him to report the case at the nearest police station. Unfortunately, before anyone could do anything, Tobi’s landlord at his off campus residence, had brought in policemen to arrest Adebayo. I have always known Tobi to be a regular member of church. I knew him through Adebayo; they were friends.

“I had earlier told Adebayo that I wanted to meet Tobi’s parents before allowing him to sleep in the church. But he told me in confidence that Tobi was an epileptic and sickler and that his parents were aware that he was always attending vigil. I had made a lot of effort and spent some money before Adebayo was released from detention only to hear he was rearrested again and taken to Area Command at Iragbiji. A few days later, he was transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department at Osogbo based on a petition that had been written by someone to the Commissioner of police. I have done my best to help him, but it is not yielding any result.”

The Osun State Police Public relations officer Sade Odoro who confirmed Tobi’s death to CRIME DIGEST, however denied Adebayo’s continued detention. “We do not have a police division at Iree though I am well aware of this case. Tobi was a sickler and an epileptic patient who died during one of his seizures. His parents were the ones who advised him to attend that church for healing since medically, nothing could be done for him.

“They are not even making trouble over his death so the allegation that Kehinde is in our custody is false. Nobody was arrested in connection with Tobi’s death; we don’t have anybody like Adebayo in our custody. Tobi’s parents were even upset with the church that his death was reported to the police because they knew he was sick,” Odoro said.

But CRIME DIGEST investigations show that Kehinde is indeed being held at the Osun State Criminal Investigation Department command and a certain Inspector is said to be in charge of his case. Tobi’s father could not be reached for his comments as his phone was switched off.

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