Although the police formation had been reportedly evasive on the whereabouts of the father of two children , a police charge sheet sighted by our correspondent marked his name ‘late ’ .
PUNCH Metro learnt that Lukman and his friend , Saheed Abayomi, had been arrested by SARS operatives for facilitating the sale of a stolen Toyota Camry .
It was gathered that the police apprehended Lukman in the midnight of December 29 , 2017 and took him into custody in Ikeja , where he was detained alongside Abayomi and two others .
Our correspondent learnt that Abayomi and Lukman’ s families searched for them at police stations across the state , until on December 31 when Abayomi’ s mother traced him to the SARS office .
It was gathered that Lukman’ s wife , Wunmi Ogundele , and relatives consequently visited SARS office on several occasions, but were not allowed to see him .
“ Any time we went there , policemen would chase us away and they did not allow us to see his friend , Saheed ( Abayomi), so we could ask after him ( Lukman). I had travelled with the children for the Yuletide when he was arrested, ” Wunmi added .
His cousin, one Isaac, who went to the station on January 6 , was reportedly told that the Investigating Police Officer , Inspector Edwin Obam , had taken him out .
After failed attempts to see him , his mother , Yemisi Ogundele , who lives in Taraba State, was said to have travelled down to Lagos .
Yemisi said , “ He sold auto parts and iron in Owode Onirin . A man wanted to sell a car . He and Saheed got a buyer for the vehicle and the person sold it to someone else . On December 29 , in the night , some SARS men went to his house in Itowolo , Ikorodu , with Saheed, and arrested him .
“ Our family members went to the SARS office , but the policemen did not give them any attention . Last Wednesday, I came down to Lagos State and went there . The policemen I met said they did not know anybody by that name.
“ I saw Saheed while he was being taken to the Ikeja Magistrate ’ s Court that day with two others. I asked for my son , but they chased me away. They did not allow me to get close to Saheed. ”
The mother explained that Lukman’ s brother and she met with an official at the court , who showed them the charge preferred against him .
She said she was shocked when she discovered that her son was charged with robbery along with one Kehinde Hassan .
“ His name on the heading of the charge sheet had been cancelled , but in the content , it was written as late Lukman Ogundele . That was when I realised that my son died in the police custody , but they were trying to cover up .
“ When my daughter prodded the IPO further , he made a call. After a few minutes, about eight armed policemen came to scare us away, ” she added.
Lukman’ s uncle , Pastor Bolaji Michael , said a policeman confided in him that Lukman was dead and appealed that the family should take the death in good faith.
He said the family had contacted a lawyer to petition the police and take up the matter.
He said, “ Lukman and Saheed were arrested for introducing a buyer to a stolen vehicle. But he was charged with a separate count bordering on robbery . We will be in court on Tuesday ( today) to see what happens. We will also get a lawyer to petition the Inspector-General of Police .
“ Officially, SARS has not told the family that he is dead , which is wrong . It was a policeman that told us that the boy slumped in custody and died . He said he was not tortured and advised us to let go of the matter. He said he would help us to collect his corpse . He said if we let the case drag on, we might not get his corpse in one year.
“ I disagreed with him and said we would take it up . This was a man who had two kids of seven and nine years old and a wife . He must not die just like that. ”
Abayomi’ s mother , who wanted to be identified as Iya Saheed, said a SARS officer had promised her that Lukman and her son would be released on bail as soon as the prime suspects in the case were arrested .
She said, “The officer promised that Saheed and Lukman would be released once they got one Idowu and Kehinde, the prime suspects , arrested. But after the two were caught, they did not release them.
“ I was surprised when I got a call last Tuesday that they would be charged to court . Saheed, Idowu and Kehinde were brought to the Ikeja Magistrate ’ s Court last Wednesday, but Lukman was not there . The police have postponed their arraignment to Tuesday ( today). ”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer , SP Chike Oti , said Lukman died naturally on January 2 , adding that the victim’ s relatives were informed about the death through a family member, who is a policeman .
He said , “The boy was arrested for armed robbery with four others . Along the line, he was sick while in the cell and was taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital , Ikeja . The doctor treated him and the police took him back. He was returned to custody .
“ The next day , he collapsed and was rushed back to the hospital. On getting to the hospital, he was confirmed dead by a doctor . Other gang members have been arraigned and remanded in prison . ”
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