Six months after a detective attached to the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja, Lagos State Police Command, disappeared into thin air, his corpse has been found in a shallow grave at the Ibeju Lekki area of the metropolis.
The deceased, Inspector Musa Sunday, was abducted, tortured and later buried alive while on illegal duty at Ibeju Lekki. Sunday and four of his men were alleged to have been drafted to guard a land, which was under dispute by their Admin Officer (AO), at Ibeju Lekki.
The policemen were drafted to the disputed land without the knowledge of the Officer in Charge of SARS (OC) and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Fatai Owoseni. The skeleton of the inspector, 45, a father of four children, with their ages ranging from four, six, eight and 12, was exhumed from a shallow grave after six months search.
At least five persons, including a traditional ruler, otherwise known as Baale have been arrested in connection with the murder of the inspector. A police source said: “The police are hunting for one Mr Balogun, who led the hoodlums that attacked, abducted and buried Sunday alive.
In fact, information at police disposal says that it was the fleeing Balogun that tied his hands before burying him. Balogun’s second in command, Arokin is in police custody. He’s helping police with investigation.”
The suspects confessed to have buried him alive after starving him for more than five days. They also admitted to have buried him alive on the orders of a traditional ruler, who has interest in the land under dispute.
Sunday was abducted sometimes in November, while guarding the disputed land. The abductors made away with his rifle. The inspector, who was the leader of the team, was on duty with four other policemen.
The abductors, alleged to be armed to the teeth, stormed the land on that fateful day in November and over powered Sunday, his policemen and civilian guards, patrolling. The civilian guards were there on the instruction of one of the men struggling for possession of the land, identified simply as Prince, living in Ikeja.
The Prince and his opponent had allegedly been fighting over possession of the land for months. This has led to several people, from both factions, being killed and maimed. A police source said that both men had been warring, using paid thugs, until Prince decided to take SARS men.
But rather than go through the proper channel, which was to contact Owoseni or OC SARS, Prince went to his friend, the AO. When the AO ordered Sunday with some policemen to the land, the Inspector couldn’t argue with his superior.
Sunday was kidnapped when he confronted a large number of thugs from the other faction. The thugs attacked, injured and attempted to carry away some of Prince’s thugs. An inside source said: “Sunday’s men abandoned him and ran away because the thugs from the other faction large expanse of land.
The Prince came to SARS to get policemen to keep his opponent from encroaching on the land.” After his abduction, his phone stopped going through. His colleagues became frantic. Sunday’s wife and family members besieged the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, demanding to know what had become of him. Speaking with a journalist a few months after the abduction of Sunday, his wife, Halimat, 27, said:
“They were deployed there to maintain peace. We learnt that hoodlums were attacking a man, so my husband and his men moved to rescue the man. He told the other two policemen to go and put the man in the car so he could be safe.
The hoodlums pounced on my husband and took him away. Sensing danger as the hoodlums kept increasing in number, his men ran away. Since then, we have not heard from him.” On the fateful day of the incident, Halimat said that she spoke with Sunday around 4pm; he promised to come home the following day.
In the evening, his kids demanded to speak with him, so Halimat called his line repeatedly, but it didn’t go through. In the morning, some of his colleagues called Halimat and told her what happened. Since then, Halimat and Sunday’s family members had been visiting the police headquarters in Lagos, praying and hoping.
She added, “Three months after, police kept telling us that they were on the matter. We learnt they have arrested the Prince that hired the hoodlums, but nothing has happened since then. His children keep asking after him. His aged mother, who has high blood pressure, has not stopped asking for his whereabouts. We don’t know what else to tell her.”
Halimat, a housewife, noted that since Sunday’s disappearance, she and her kids have been struggling to survive. She’s no longer able to pay the kids’ school fees. She said: “Nobody from the police cared to check on us, and now we don’t have money because we don’t have access to his ATM pin.
I want my husband to come back. The children are suffering, and I can’t carry the load alone.” A police source said: “Sunday was posted there with his team; they were five in number. Two of the policemen later left, saying they were tired of the constant threat.
Even soldiers that were supposed to guard the land with them left, complaining that Prince had never bothered to ask about their welfare. “Sunday has been on that land for almost three weeks when bulldozer entered the land.
Prince’s faction was overpowered. Everyone scampered for safety, but one of Prince’s thugs were held. Sunday ran back to save him. It was in that split second that his policemen and the man he saved drove off in a vehicle, leaving him.
Sunday was grabbed by the hoodlums, beaten and injured.” It was gathered that the fleeing policemen ran to Mobile Police Force (Mopol) 49, Epe. They explained that an inspector had been abducted, that they needed help to rescue him, but the commander allegedly didn’t respond to their pleas.
The policemen moved to Akodo Police Station, where a woman happened to be the Divisional Police Officer (DPO). The DPO said she couldn’t send anyone to the area because it was a volatile axis.
They went to SARS, Ikeja to report and for five days, no action was taken to rescue Sunday. Later, policemen started looking for Sunday, to the extent of going to Bonny Camp, Victoria Island. The soldiers said Sunday wasn’t with them. When the OC SARS went to meet Owoseni, to intimate him of the missing inspector, Owoseni demanded to know the person that deployed Sunday and his men on the illegal duty.
Determined to find Sunday, sources said that the OC SARS approached the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT), headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Abba Kyari. It was alleged that through the efforts of the IRT operatives, Sunday’s phone was tracked and some of his alleged killers arrested.
The suspects took police to where Sunday’s rifle was buried. A police source said: “Police investigation also led to the arrest of the traditional ruler. The traditional ruler denied knowing anything about the disappearance of Sunday.
He was invited to the police command; but rather than honour police invitation, he ran to Police Force Headquarters, Abuja. He was told at Abuja to go back to Lagos and respondfirst to police invitation.”
The source continued: “Balogun, who led the operation in which Sunday was kidnapped is on the run. But his second in command, Arokin, has been arrested. Arokin confessed that Sunday was buried alive.
He took police to the shallow grave at Ibeju Lekki. Police brought pathologists from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), to exhume Sunday’s corpse. “One of the pathologists, when he saw Sunday’s skeleton, said that it looked as if he was buried with his hands tied behind.
It was at that point that Arokin confessed that Sunday was buried alive. He disclosed that after beating and disarming Sunday, he and his colleagues waited for five days for policemen to come for him, but nobody did.
In those five days, they didn’t give him food. He said that when police didn’t come searching for Sunday; the traditional ruler instructed them to go and bury the inspector alive. The traditional ruler said that nothing would happen. Sunday was buried alive.”