The police and the leadership of Havanah Estate, Arepo, Ogun State, have been accused of plotting to bury a case involving a woman, identified only as Omotayo, who allegedly poured chemical on a 70-year-old painter, Emmanuel Agbeli, which led to his death.
Agbeli’s family and Omotayo were said to have been embroiled in a disagreement that had lasted for a while.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the deceased was a member in the English section of a popular Pentecostal church at Arepo, while Omotayo was a worker in the Yoruba section of the same church.
The victim was reportedly praying in his apartment on Havanah Estate on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, when Omotayo allegedly entered his room and poured chemical on him.
Agbeli, who started feeling strange reaction on his body, was said to have reported the incident to a neighbour, identified as Mama Hausa, and a security guard, identified simply as Fashola.
The Togolese was returning to his room when he reportedly slumped and died.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the estate Chairman, identified as Pastor John, and some individuals started pressurising the deceased’s wife, Abigail, to withdraw the case.
A source said a prominent member of the estate was also using his friend, who worked in the Homicide Unit of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Eleweran, where the case was being investigated, to get Omotayo released.
The source said, “The estate chairman and the family are trying to withdraw the case, citing financial constraints, but we are hoping that God will frustrate the move. They told the wife to get a lawyer that will sign an affidavit that she wanted the case withdrawn voluntarily.
“They were supposed to do that in Abeokuta yesterday (Thursday), but the appointment failed. They have rescheduled the appointment for next week.
“The police planned to release the corpse for burial once they appear at Eleweran (police headquarters) and that could be next week.”
When contacted, the deceased’s wife, Abigail, said her family was poor and lacked money to prosecute the case.
Abigail, however, said she did not want the suspect released.
She said, “I just want the woman to remain there for six months. I will collect my husband’s corpse so that we can bury him.
“I am the one that want to sign the affidavit so that the case will be closed, but I don’t want the woman to be released.
“I have been selling vegetables at Arepo market for over seven years. Before my husband died, he was a painter and he used to collect job where he would call people to help him with it.
“I am just managing with him before this incident happened. I do not have anything right now; I can’t leave the house. I just asked my children to be going to the market so that we can be getting money to eat. I don’t know what to do and there is no helper.”
Efforts to get the chairman of the estate were not successful, as he did not reply to a text message sent to his phone on the allegations.
Last week, when this reporter visited the estate, the chairman resisted efforts by the reporter to speak with eyewitnesses, just as he instructed that PUNCH Metro should not be allowed into the estate.
When our reporter told him on the phone that the woman was accused of killing Agbeli, he said, “That information is not true.”
“If you want to do investigative journalism go to Wawa (Police Station), they will narrate the story to you,” he added.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the suspect would be charged at the conclusion of investigation.
Asked to respond to the allegation of cover-up, he said, “I am not aware of that; you know I told you we are still investigating; I am not aware of them trying to settle out of court.
“Every time negotiation happens between two parties, that does not concern us. The family may be discussing that, but that does not stop what we are doing.
“The police will still go ahead to charge her to court once we are able to establish a case against the woman.”