The family of 32-year-old Richard Osakue Ajayi, who is being detained by the Police in Correctional Centre, Nasarawa State has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Inspector-General of Police(IGP) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to wade into the matter and ensure his immediate release.
Richard was transferred from Lagos State Police Command to FCT Command, Abuja before he was sent to Nasarawa.
Richard’s mother, Mrs. Grace Ajayi, who spoke to newsmen in Lagos at the weekend said she wanted to keep the presidency IGP and AGF abreast with the traumatic experience her family had been going through in the hands of the police.
Her words: “My son is being roped into a murder case that he did not know anything about. A female lawyer was allegedly murdered last year at Ogba area of Lagos by Joshua Usulor, who was arrested by policemen from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti Yaba.
“During investigation, the police found some interactions between my son, Richard and the suspect on his phone. The suspect, according to the police, named my son as the alleged sponsor of the murder.
“Few days later, Usolor changed his statement and told the police that my son is innocent; that he only mentioned him because he was angry at my son ,who was owing him some money which he had refused to pay.
“When the police came to pick my son, they were shooting sporadically, asking where were the dollars, Toyota Highlander? My husband and I were in Benin Edo State but the following day, we rushed back to Lagos.
“My neighbours and children narrated how the police turned the street into a theatre of war as they shot sporadically into the air. The policemen nearly shot Richard’s younger sister who was with him.
“At SCIID Panti, the police later discovered through the confessional statement of Usulor that he lied against my son.
“They then granted my son bail and asked him to be reporting every week. My son’s connection with the suspect was that my son works with a digital training company. He does training for people who are interested in marketing. It was through the radio advert that my son did that Usolor heard and came to register with N90,000 ,but refused to come for the training.
“Later, he started disturbing my son that he should pay him back his money,but my son told him that the money had been paid into the company’s account. He promised to refund part of the money when another person pays cash.
“Usolor and his people kept disturbing my son, warning that they would deal with him if he failed to pay and that he must not wait till another person comes to register as he promised. Richard was trying to convince Usolor that he would have paid if he had money and sent him his account balance to convince him that he had no money to pay back.
“While the interaction was going on between the two, Usulor killed the lawyer. It was through his call log that the police traced my son’s number.
“But after investigation, SCIID discovered that my son’s interactions with Usolor was basically on lectures and not associated with the murder and granted him bail. We were surprised when SCIID told us that the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCIID) was interested in the case.”
The distraught mother said the interest of the FCID opened a new chapter in her son’s ordeal.
She said the police came for her son bases on a fresh petition by the husband of the murdered lawyer to the new commissioner of police.
“The Deputy Inspector- General in charge of Investigation told us that the police were waiting for the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) advice. Really, the DPP advised that my son should be released as he was not connected to the murder.
“After setting my son free because of the DPP’s advice, we were shocked when SCIID came for his arrest again, saying that a new Commissioner of Police had just resumed office and that the lawyer’s husband petitioned him.
“The police took Richard to Abuja again. This time around, they detained him in Nasarawa prisons without trial,” she lamented.
•Many questions, no answers
Avoiding to Ajayi, the unwarranted detention of her son has raised many questions.
She stated: “The questions are, what is my son’s offence, when the principal suspect in the murder case has exonerated him and confessed that he did the murder alone? Why are the police not working with the DPP’s advice and is the lawyer’s husband bigger than the police and the DPP?
“My son has no connection with Usolor. He only met him twice and that was when Usolor came to register in IML institute where my son lectures and when he met him at SCIID, Panti.
“Their conversation was given to the police by the service providers and there was nothing linking their discussions to murder. I don’t know what the police want again. My son has suffered enough.
“Here is a hard working young man who took to lecturing and has spent about 90 days in police detention. He is now in the prisons for a sin he did not commit.”
•Appeal to Buhari, IGP, AGF
” I am therefore ,calling on the President ,IGP ,AGF and other Nigerians ,to do something urgent so that an innocent person will not die for a sin he did not commit. I am also raising the alarm that my son’s life is not safe in Nasarawa prison.
“I’ve been having some dreams and a premonition that something sinister may happen to him in prison custody. Please, sirs, prevail on those who are holding on to my son to release him according to the DPP’s advice.
“We have spent money and time paying for flights to and fro Abuja because the roads are bad. We pay for hotel accommodation. What about the traumatic experience the family is facing for a sin our son did not commit?”
When journalists visited SCIID ,a senior police officer in the homicide section who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not supposed to speak with the press said: “Actually, we arrested Usolor for the murder of the female lawyer who in Ogba area of Lagos last year. We saw some interactions with Richard Ajayi, so we arrested him as well, but after investigation, we discovered that Ajayi had no connection with the murder.
“So, we allowed him to go. We later got directives to bring him to Abuja .We have written report that Ajayi has no connection with the murder. over , the DPP has advised that he should be set free. I am shocked to hear that he is in the prison.
“The man is innocent. The real suspect told us that he named him out of annoyance for owing him some money. Later, he told the truth that Ajayi is innocent. Well, this is Nigeria. A big man is interested in the matter, but the truth remains that the man is innocent.”