…DPO overwhelmed with calls demanding release of parents
More facts have emerged about the 14-year-old girl, Desola Adeoye, who allegedly got tired of being physically abused by her father and step-mom and decided to kill herself in the Shogunle area of Oshodi Lagos State.
According to findings by our reporter, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Shogunle Police Station, Yinka Aghedo, was inundated with calls from influential people, asking her to grant the deceased’s father and step-mom bail without looking at the torture the deceased and her siblings had been subjected to for long.
It was further gathered that the DPO, determined to get justice for the deceased, had promised her callers that she would look into their pleas, but had doggedly continued with her job, culminating in her transferring the case to the Homicide Section (D4) of the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, for due diligence and prosecution.
A police source said: “It was shocking to me that both the deceased’s dad and stepmom did not show any remorse or wept over the death of this girl. It is unfortunate that the girl’s mom is late.
“This stepmom is yet to have a child for this man, but she has a child from a previous relationship. Even while the preliminary investigation was still ongoing, the father was heard asking why police were wasting time, and that he should be allowed to bury her.
“As police personnel, we are still trying to find out how she got the Insecticide, before drinking it. We are hoping that the SCIID will uncover that since the case has been transferred to them.”
The incident has outraged members of the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), a child advocacy group that has repeatedly campaigned against beating or flogging children.
Laws against the torturing of children are also enshrined in the Child’s Rights Act.
The Co-founder of the ACVPN, Mr Ebenezer Omejalile, who alerted other advocates about the issue, said that preliminary findings showed that Desola killed herself because of alleged torture she was being subjected to by her father, identified as Sunday and his wife.
Omejalile said: “According to the mandated reporter, who drew the attention of ACVPN to the matter, Desola and her siblings were subjected to physical abuse by their biological father and stepmother. The children were often beaten at the slightest provocation or imagined wrongdoing.
“The mandated reporter also said that Desola and her two siblings regularly suffered physical assaults and maltreatment from their father and stepmother due to the absence of their late mother.
“The mandated reporter claimed that the Shogunle Community Development Association in Oshodi (CDA) had on numerous occasions cautioned the children’s father and stepmother about the inhuman degree of torture and abuse the children were being subjected to, but Sunday allegedly refused to listen to the warnings and caution from the CDA.
“ He and his wife did not stop the violence being unleashed on the late Desola and her siblings.”
It was further alleged that the climax of the issue, which led to Desola’s decision to end it all happened a few days ago after she returned from summer school class. Even at school, she had allegedly communicated her fears of returning home because of her step-mom with her schoolmates.
Omejalile narrated: “ It was said that immediately Desola got home, her stepmom started threatening her and further told her that she should prepare herself to receive the beating of her life from her father when he returns.
“The fear of the beating that would come at the return of her father to the house allegedly prompted Desola to take her own life by drinking an insecticide. ACVPN has stepped into the matter along with the mandated reporter. The incident has been formally reported at the Shogunle Police Station.
“According to reports, Desola died in a private hospital after which her father quickly retrieved her lifeless body, carried it home and attempted to quickly bury her, to stop people from asking questions.
“However, the Shogunle Police Station immediately responded when the case was formally incident at the station. The Shogunle Police Station intercepted Sunday and stopped him from hurriedly burying the girl.”
On the 22nd of August, ACVPN Programmes Officer, Blessing Aderemi, went to Shogunle Police Station and the home of Desola to further probe the ordeal of the deceased.
She narrated thus: “Officers swung into action along with the mandated reporter. The team was able to speak with the deceased’s elder brother, who is 17 years old. He narrated to ACVPN what happened.
“According to him, he returned home and saw his sister looking moody. He pressed further to find out what exactly happened, and he found out that their stepmother had beaten his late sister mercilessly with a belt.
“Furthermore, he claimed his stepmother instructed him to use the same belt to beat his late sister again. He said if he had refused, his stepmother would have used the same belt to whip him.
“He further claimed his stepmother had threatened him that if he refused to use his belt on his sister, his father would also deal with him as well, so he had to whip his Desola with the belt.
“He said that after some minutes, there was no sign of the Desola anywhere. He claimed their stepmother asked him to check on the deceased only for him to find her on the floor holding her stomach and groaning. When he asked her what was wrong, she told him that she drank DD Force, an insecticide, and this caused him to raise an alarm.
“The ACVPN team met with the Shogunle Police Station Divisional Police Officer who immediately assigned some officers to accompany ACVPN to the scene of the crime.
“A lot was gathered from members of the community. The immediate neighbours of the bereaved family narrated how no one dared to question Sunday and his wife on the maltreatment of the deceased and his other children.
“It was also gathered that the deceased and her siblings dared not exchange pleasantries with neighbours without fearing that either their father or stepmother would pounce on them.
“A pastor, who has been looking out for the children narrated how the deceased and her siblings were banned from attending church. The pastor claimed that both the father and stepmother impeded the spiritual life of the deceased and her siblings. The pastor opined that if the deceased and her siblings were regularly in church, the deceased wouldn’t have killed herself.
“It was gathered that the deceased’s father practically prevented the deceased and her siblings from having contact with their late mother’s family members. Presently, the stepmother is detained at the Shogunle Police Station of which the DPO promised to transfer the case to the Homicide Unit D4 SCID PANTI.”
Omejalile said that he has also received fresh information concerning the case and he was not too happy about it.
He recounted: “ACVPN team members dashed to Shogunle Oshodi to ascertain if it was true that Sunday, who is father to the late Desola was not actually detained along with stepmother as promised by the DPO Shogunle Police Station.
“ACVPN attention was also drawn to the move by a certain Chief in the community, who was supposed to ensure justice but rather chose to be threatening and demanding that the matter should be stepped, of which the mandated reporter refused to yield to his threats.
“Members of the community expressed their disappointment at the Shogunle Police Station not doing the needful because this gave Sunday the audacity to run around in a calculated attempt to truncate the case with the likes of uneducated Community leaders who are supposed to serve as the community mouthpiece but rather chose to align with bad omen.
“Also, yesterday (Wednesday) Officers from Homicide Department D4, SCIID, Panti, visited the scene of the crime, but it was very shocking to see the Homicide Detectives walk straight to the Community chief who was alleged of conspiring with the deceased’s father to attempt to truncate the case.
“ACVPN discovered both late Desola’s father and her stepmother were transferred to SCIID Panti on 24th of August in the morning, but the father was not detained because he has told several lies to get himself out.
“When Sunday realised the homicide team went to visit the scene of the crime, he quickly told late Desola’s elder brother to vacate the apartment in other to frustrate the detectives.
“Unfortunately for him, the son was already at ACVPN’s office. While the son was with the ACVPN team, Sunday called the boy, threatened and told him to run away, so that the homicide team wouldn’t be able to trace the crime. At that point, he didn’t know the boy was in ACVPN’s office.
“At ACVPN’s office, the late Desola’s elder brother Heritage Adesina recalled how his father reacted when he was told that the late Desola was at the point of death. He alleged that rather than his father to worry, his response was that Desolate chose to die.
“He further told ACVPN officials how his father physically and psychologically abused the children without any remorse. According to Heritage, there was a time his father almost strangled him.”
The boy reportedly said: “After the doctor told them my sister drank an insecticide, my dad asked me to go home and dispose of the DD Force container, so that nobody would see it and I did!”
Omejalile further stated: “ This Sunday has been alleged of continuously abuse the children, that neighbours said, he’s nut, that he’s not mentally stable. “Heritage is obviously angry with the Homicide unit for allowing his father to walk freely, which their father leveraged and continuously threatened him not to give the right statement. The same father that threatened them always and eventually took the life of his 14-year-old child.
“ACVPN officials also saw the Police Officers from the Homicide Department of the SCIID coming out of the said Chief’s house. The Nigeria Police Force’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) does not give room for police to visit anyone, except the scene of crime.
“ACVPN is holding everyone accountable both the local government, the Nigeria Police with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), The Nigeria Police Force Establishment Act 2020, The Lagos State Government on The Child’s Rights Law CRL.
“The mandated reporter is being threatened by the community chief earlier mentioned. The mandated reporter is among the Councillors who worked with ACVPN on the actualisation of the Child’s rights protection By-laws for the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Secretariat.”
Omejalile urged the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Lagos State Government, and the Lagos State Ministry of Justice to ensure justice was done for Desola.
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