Posted By: Odunayo Ogunmola
Family in agony as ex-Ekiti RTEAN boss is detained
•APC condemns ‘frivolous’ murder charge •Govt: justice must be served
Former Ekiti State Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Chairman Rotimi Olanbiwonnu, alias Mentilo, has been remanded in prison custody.
He was arraigned yesterday at Magistrate Court 2, in Ado-Ekiti.
Olanbiwonnu was arrested at 12.45 am at his Ado-Ekiti home for the killing of former National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman, Omolafe Aderiye, last September 25.
The defence lawyer, Niran Owoseni, raised a preliminary objection that the matter had been concluded.
The Magistrate, Idowu Aiyenimon, adjourned till Friday.
The counsel said the government’s action was an attempt to incarcerate his client and put him out of circulation.
He said: “What the state is trying to do is to abuse court processes. Some people have been charged to court.
“Why should the state prosecute my client on the same matter again or is it that Omolafe Aderiye died twice?”
But Olanbiwonnu’s family instited that he had no hand in Aderiye’s death.
Olanbiwonnu’s wife, Falilat Eniola, attributed her husband’s incarceration to his refusal to support Governor Ayo Fayose’s governorship ambition.
Mrs. Olanbiwonnu wondered how the former RTEAN chief could be arrested and remanded “in a decent society”.
She said: “Fayose has been looking for ways to ‘deal’ with my husband. He is afraid that my husband would disrupt the planned inauguration of the new RTEAN executive.
“The policemen, who came to arrest him, did not produce any arrest warrant.
“I don’t know what Fayose wants again after our houses were burnt last year, our cars destroyed. Why are they doing this again?
“Definitely, it has a political undertone because of my husband’s affinity with the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“My husband is not the only RTEAN member on the wanted list but they didn’t arrest others because they had gone to pledge their loyalty to Fayose.
“Help me beg Fayose to leave us alone and release my husband and look elsewhere for Aderiye’s killers.”
Olanbiwonnu’s son, Olayide, said: “They forced our door open and I was dragged out of the house but they said I am not the suspect.
“Since my father has nothing to fear, he came out and they arrested him and took him away around 12.55 am.”
Police spokesman Alberto Adeyemi said: “I only heard that he (Olanbiwonnu) was arrested and charged to court. That is the only thing I can say for now.”
Commissioner for Information Lanre Ogunsuyi said justice must be served as the government‘s duty was to assist the police and the judiciary.
The APC decried what it called a “reckless clampdown on its leaders and supporters” by Fayose.
It said: “The hounding of APC leaders was a fulfillment of the governor’s declaration at his inauguration last year to run APC leaders out of the state.”
A statement by Publicity Secretary Taiwo Olatubosun said the alarm became imperative in the face of what he described as “persistent victimisation of APC members arrested on trumped-up charges”.
“Fayose at his inauguration last October publicly declared a one-minute silence for the death of APC in the state.
“True to his declaration, 10 party leaders have been hounded out of town. Two are in jail on trumped-up charges even as teachers perceived to be sympathetic to the APC were transferred to remote areas.
“The governor is still after ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi’s officials to seize their cars even when the matter is in court.
“This is the same way he wants to eject them from their housing estate homes against legal agreement in the purchase of their houses.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to intervene in the various cases against our members because it is clear that the state command is in Fayose’s grip.”