Facts are very stubborn. They either do not permanently allow changes or at war with wishes or inclinations that may want to alter elements of truth they contain. Sometimes facts also need help. If there is ever a struggle either ‘deliberate or non-deliberate’ to imprison elements of truth in a dire situation by institutions charged with roles of exposing the truth, the people who are critical stakeholders of the society must rise up and assist the truth in its fight for freedom. The facts surrounding the shocking but calculated murder of Timothy Adegoke, a master student of Obafemi Awolowo University need protection.
Firstly, let me express my sadness over the shocking and anguishing loss of a promising young Nigerian who was coldly murdered on his journey to garner more academic knowledge in a hotel owned by another Nigerian, Prince Adedoyin, the proprietor of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu who has inarguably invested in education too. An ardent lover of education was coldly murdered in the hotel of an ardent investor of education. What a bitter coincidence. May God in its infinite mercy gives unto the family the grace and fortitude to bear the irreplaceable and heartwrenching loss.
As sad as it was, the incident is entangled with cobweb of controversies. The more the efforts to clear the cobweb, the more messier it becomes and it is unfortunate that the police whose duty is to clear these controversies are the ones playing the ‘card of controversy’. It is sad to note that the Osun State Police Command have not only lost the integrity but ‘touch of professionalism’ to conduct further investigations on the sad incident.
Like my father use to say, you do not allow ‘confused people to address confused issues’. I still do not know how Osun police command wants to explain how a dead body they monitored its exhumation in Ile-Ife was taken to Osogbo for autopsy and told the people that the exhumed body was taken to OAUTHC. The last time I checked both OAUTHC and Police are federal institutions. Did they take the exhumed body to Osogbo and deceived the public that the exhumed body is in Ile-Ife as ‘evidence protection’ because the owner of the hotel, Prince Adedoyin is well known in Ife and there is possibility of making moves to alter autopsy report? If yes, what kind of security institution uses ‘deliberate misinformation’as a means of investigating a murder case of clear public interest.
But the police spokesperson had already apologised, backed the claims of the OAUTHC that they did not receive the exhumed body and even cited Osun State University Teaching Hospital as the ‘receiver’ of the exhumed body. Why did the police take the exhumed body to Osogbo when it can be easier transported and examined in Ile-Ife, the town of the incident and host community of the concerned university? I hope and believe the police would have substantial reasons to feed the public.
Let us agree that the incident is a mystery and the Osun police command is confused. Police officers are not spirits and majority are products of physical training and earn their promotions by years of active service. As confused as they might be, it is a clear fact that Timothy Adegoke’s dead body was not smuggled into the hotel. He lodged and died in one of the hotel rooms.
I travelled to Ile-Ife yesterday and I heard many shocking stories. Some people said Timothy Adegoke was a casualty of money ritual while other persons said he was donated as a pledge. This is Africa and we as a people are spiritual persons. Prince Adedoyin is wealthy and an influential person. You can not become a ‘Mayegun of a town’ if you are not rich. You can not be at war with a whole Imperial Majesty, his subordinates if you are not connected. In a town where majority live in absolute poverty, being in possession of such investments in education and hospitality would surely raise positions of such nature. We can not ask people not to wonder or assume things if such incident happens because this is Africa and everything is possible. The only institution that can change the narrative of things and assist the people in understanding the true situation has even failed in integrity test.
I have read several articles written to defend Prince Adedoyin. I read their struggles and they insisted on autopsy report. Struggles? Yes. I read it. According to report, the OAU master student died on November 5 and it took tireless efforts of the family and expertise of the police to expose the situation. They (hotel workers) reportedly cleaned the room, wrapped the dead body with bedspread, dugged the ground and buried the deceased with his belongings. If they were truly innocent, why did they bury the dead body and cover traceable evidences that would have assisted the police in her findings?
Defenders of Prince Adedoyin must come with answers to germane questions the people are craving for. They must tell us why Prince Adedoyin and his staff did not only report the incident to the police but also covered traces after they buried the deceased with his belongings. When did hotel staffs become ‘undertakers’? or is it part of their modus operandis in hotel business to bury “slain customers” in the vicinity?
I am not a judge. I am a journalist and student of criminology. There is possibility that Prince Adedoyin did not kill or take part in the killing but the silence of the hotel managment and actions of staff in the post-killing are proofs that they are culpable. Yet it does not eliminate the fact that Timothy Adegoke can not be killed by hired assassins. The deceased, Timothy Adegoke works with a multinational firm and the day he was killed was not the first day he lodged in the hotel. According to report, he lodges in the hotel whenever he comes to Ile-Ife. There is possibility that Timothy Adegoke was traced by his killers to the hotel. There is no security in Nigerian hotels. Infact, most men who serve as security officers in hotel can not win ordinary physical combat. It is easier to kidnap a human being or kill occupants with less noise in most hotels than to steal a chicken in its cage. As possible as it is that Timothy Adegoke can be used for money rituals, it is also possible that he can be traced by his killers to the hotel. But why did they bury him? Was Prince Adedoyin an influential Nigerian and prince of the source afraid of the police? Who killed Timothy Adegoke and why was he killed? These are questions that can be adequately answered through investigations and it is quite unfortunate that the police whose role is to provide answers to these questions are already confused.
As we clamour for justice, we must also demand for answers. We need to know how Timothy Adegoke was killed.
Till we meet in my next column, please do not get killed. Do not join the list of slain Nigerians whose relatives have not taken a break from the cries of justice.
Lawal Sodiq Adewale Chocomilo, an online editor and columnist at WITHIN NIGERIA
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