When I came across the heart wrenching story of Queen Akindeleni the first time, I couldn’t help but mull over the spate of police brutality and extra judicial killings that have been witnessed in the country over the last two months. It is quite disturbing and I’m beginning to see reasons with the advocates of the state police system. Her horrible ordeal when you continue.
The former property developer and seller of building materials narrated her story in an affidavit which she swore at the Ogun State High Court, Sango Ota.
Trouble started for her on October 12th, 2009, when she went to the Agbara police station to make a report about the threat she’d received from the family of one Ayodele Akindeleni. The man’s whereabouts were not known, and his family threatened to kill her and her two kids if she didn’t tell them his whereabouts.
It turned out that she’d been slow. The family, through one James Akindeleni, had already tabled their own complaint first, so after she was done reporting at the station, she was not allowed to leave. Even her kids, who came to look for her one after the other, were detained. At that time, the kids -Esther Ighovoyiwi and Charles Ighovoyiwi – were only 12 and 14 years respectively.
The girl, Esther, was severely slapped by the officers till her ears began to discharge pus. She was however released that same day. The story was different for 14 years old Charles, who was held for a month and two days without being charged. His release only came after the intervention of a man he could not identify.
Queen Akindeleni said “the team of police officers … tortured me with cruelty that I must confess that I killed the alleged deceased person,” but she denied being responsible for the alleged death or having any knowledge of the man’s whereabouts.
She remembered the first names of the two officers involved in her torture: Shadrach (DCO 2) and Raphael.
Shadrach was particularly notorious. The victim alleged that he used a straight heavy metal which looked like window aluminium to beat her repeatedly on the left side of her body. Three other officers joined in. They dragged her to the police barrack where she was held in a bathroom. There, she was asked to remove her pants.
What followed was a most shocking case of brutality. Hear her: “The team of police officers who investigated the case asked a female officer whose name I could not remember, to insert the metal which Shadrach gave her into my vagina.”
The female officer was hesitant. She asked Mrs Akindeleni to scream as if she was carrying out the instruction but did not do it. After some time, she told them she’s done as instructed but had been unable to extract a confession from the victim.
Shadrach was unconvinced. He took the metal from the female officer, moved it to his nose and perceived it. He immediately realised that the metal wasn’t inserted as claimed, so he “took it himself and held me with force to the ground, with my legs wide open and forcefully inserted the metal into my vagina.”
There was an immediate heavy rush of blood from her genitals; she fainted.
Shockingly, despite her state, she was not attended to by anyone for four days, until they brought a man who examined her and gave her drugs which stopped the flow of blood.
She however discovered a new problem. Urine was leaking uncontrollably from her vagina. She could do nothing to stop the flow.
She was later transferred to the Ogun state police headquarters at Abeoukuta, from where she was moved to the Ibara Prison, Abeoukuta on 1st January, 2010 in her blood-stained clothes and half-bent state.
It was there, at the prison clinic that she was attended to. And it was there, in July 2010, that she met Barrister Ashaolu Joshua Olabowale, a corps member serving in the Ministry of Justice, who said he was interested in her case. Barr. Olabowale went to the Justice Ministry where he saw her case file.
Among other things, he saw that the main evidence against her was the carcass of a human being which was seen in a bush. However the file also showed that there was no proof that the missing man alleged to have died was actually dead or whether the discovered carcass was his. The Director of Public Prosecution hence advised that “Mrs Queen Akindeleni could not be linked with the alleged offence and therefore couldn’t be charged.”
Mrs Akindeleni was released from prison on 2 September 2010, a year after she was first detained. She was made to understand that the allegation against her was “frivolous, baseless and lacks merit, particularly considering the facts and evidence of the police.”
After her release, Barr. Olabowale took her to the hospital, where it was discovered that she had Vesico-Vaginal fistula, with the main symptom being a continuous involuntary discharge of urine because of the “abnormal openings in the internal parts of my vagina caused by the metal the police officer inserted into my vagina.”
Because she couldn’t treat herself and consistently oozed a foul smell and released urine involuntarily, she had to relocate to a village in Ogun where she now lives “with continuous flow of urine from my vagina and have used clothes among others as sanitary pad to pack my genital/vagina for more than 1000 days.”
Sadly, her children have been left with indelible scars. Both Esther and Charles, now 15 and 17 respectively had to both drop out of school, fending for themselves. Worse still, Esther is now a mother.
Mrs. Queen Akindeleni said in her affidavit that all she wants is justice for all she’s been through.
Would this also be swept under the carpet or would appropriate authorities ensure justice is served?