I’ve received death threats to drop my daughter killers’ case– Father of LASU undergraduate murdered in Osun
After Favour’s phone was tracked to Ikoyi-Ile in Osun State, we got information and policemen and I set out for Osun State. When we got there, we informed the DPO of the police station in Ikire of the operation and some policemen were assigned to follow us. We were led by a tracker and when we got to a particular location, the tracker indicated that we had got to the location.
We got there around 9pm, so the policemen who accompanied us from Ikire said the place was dangerous and advised that we move in the next day. The place is filled with bush and there was no presence of human beings at that time, so we pulled back, lodged in a hotel and strategised on how to go about the operation.
Out of the information we got before setting out for Osun State, we marked a prophet, who was a soft suspect. I called him to seek spiritual help that night and he gave me an appointment for the following day. I met with him around 8am and the policemen moved in to arrest him. During interrogation, he confessed to knowing Segun Philip and led us to the church, where he was arrested.
Were the prophet and Philip aware of the reason for their arrest? Where was the prime suspect, Adeeko, during Philip’s arrest?
The prophet was not aware of the reason for his arrest; he was a soft spot and all he did was to lead us to Segun Philip. Even Philip was not aware of his crime when he was arrested, but while taking him to the station, out of guilt, he started confessing that the man, who brought Favour had gone to Ikire to make some withdrawal, and when he returned, he would be going to Lagos and we would not be able to arrest him again.
The information we initially had at that time was only on Philip, but his revelation was a huge boost for the investigation. So, a policeman and I were told to wait at the church for Owolabi Adeeko, while Philip led the others to the ATM point, where Adeeko was arrested.
Were you already aware of what they did to your daughter before the arrests?
I have never been so much disconnected from any of my children, but in the case of Favour, I don’t know what happened. I just had this intuition that something had happened to her. When the policemen went to arrest Adeeko, Philip’s two wives and children were in the compound. I became restless and started moving all around till I suddenly saw a place that appears as if something had just been buried there. I felt this pull telling me that ‘I am here’! It was like I was hearing my daughter’s voice telling me that she was right there.
So, I called one of Philip’s wives, pointed in the direction and asked who was buried there, but she said no one was buried there. She said a well was located in that place before it was covered. When Adeeko was brought to the church’s premises, I asked, where Favour was and with a cold voice, he said she was dead. There was no remorse, no feeling or compassion. I said you killed my daughter and he nodded and the only thing I could do at that instance was to start pacing around the premises of the church. One of the policemen, Supol Segun Zubar, pointed to the Honda car and said my daughter was brought to the church with it and also at the same location I had seen on the church’s premises that that was where Favour was buried.
Can you give us an insight into who Favour was?
It is a privilege that we are Favour’s parents; she was a golden girl and an outstanding person. If we have about 50 persons here and she came in, she had a chemistry that would make her to easily blend with everyone. She had a heart of compassion. I know many of Favour’s schoolmates whom she went out of her way to help. I would give Favour money for her school fees and if she came in contact with a friend in need of money, she would use that money to sort out the person’s needs. I rented a place for her to stay in school and by the time I visited her, I saw other students staying with her.
I guess Adeeko capitalised on her big heart. In my deliberations with him, he told me that they had been looking for a target to use for rituals since April 2019, but he met Favour on the second week of November 2019 and that it was from that time he started working things out.
What will you say about the speculation that Adeeko and Favour were in a relationship?
It is a blatant lie. In my discussions with Adeeko’s mother, she expressly told me that her son’s girlfriend was at Badagry and I traced the lady and her family members were happy that it was not their daughter that he used for the ritual.
If she wasn’t his girlfriend, then what brought them together?
When I asked Adeeko, he said he came for his outstanding papers at LASU and when Favour saw him, she said she thought he had finished and he said he had some papers to retake and that was the opening.
Favour was also alleged to have been pregnant for Adeeko, how true is that?
That also is a blatant lie. I had a conversation with the pathologist and he confirmed that the notion was not true. Favour was not pregnant.
Your daughter was killed seven months ago. How has the quest to get justice been?
I know the suspects were taken to the magistrates’ court, which remanded them in a correctional centre pending the time they will be taken to the High Court. We were to go back to the magistrates’ court when the issue of COVID-19 started and I was told that the state government asked the courts not to sit, but despite that, I think the courts are still sitting and I feel that if the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Osun State Government decide to take them to court, they will do it.
Why do you think the government and the DPP should go out of their way to ensure that the court sits on your daughter’s case despite the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic?
The delay in prosecuting the suspects is creating a wrong impression in the minds of people. Favour was just 22 when she was killed and a lot of NGOs have been holding rallies for her. There have also been calls within and outside the country to know what the government is doing on her case. The DPP in Osun State should know that Favour’s case cannot be swept under the carpet because various vested interests want to see that justice is done.
Have you had any disturbing experience following your daughter’s death?
For three months, I have been receiving calls from Adeeko and his mother, Bolanle, as well as Philips, from where they were remanded in the Ilesha Correctional Centre. They have been appealing to my family and I made them to understand that my wife and I have forgiven them. We have moved on with our lives; however, the problem is not with us, because it is a case between them and the state and they should stop calling me.
How do you feel receiving calls from the people who confessed to killing your daughter?
The normal thing is that one will want to get angry, but it is the strength comes from God that has kept us. Initially, I didn’t know that they were the ones, because they called with a number that I didn’t have on my phone’s contact list and it was when I picked up that I got to know it was Adeeko, Philip and Bolanle who called. Each time they call me, I had flashbacks and it could go on for days. So, as I am healing, but their calls make me have flashbacks.
If you had known they were the ones calling, would you have picked the calls?
I would have picked the calls. I am a pastor and as a pastor, I counsel people and if I can’t live what I preach, then what is the essence of being called by God.
Have you been threatened by anyone while seeking justice for Favour?
The issue of the threat has been coming as well. Certain individuals do call me and say, ‘We have been asking you to stop this case but you haven’t, it is when you are alive that you will be able to follow this matter up’. They don’t even hide their numbers. Initially, they will talk calmly, but when I make them to realise that it is a case of the state against them, they will start threatening. I have received about three of such calls and I have informed those in authority.
How did your wife react to the news of your daughter’s murder?
After knowing what happened, I sought counsel from medical personnel, because I didn’t know how to break the news to my wife. After being advised, I came home, called the children and informed them and we all went into the room to inform my wife together. I have never seen my wife reacted like that in all my years of marriage to her. It was something else, but she’s getting better now.
What does justice mean to you for this great loss?
The culprits must be punished for the crime they committed and people like that are not fit to be living in the community. If you leave people like that in the community, they will keep on doing the same thing. I leave the final decision to the judge, but they are not fit to be living in society. If you don’t give proper punishment, it won’t serve as a deterrent to others.
What lessons have you learnt from the incident and what advice will you give to parents out there?
My advice to parents is to get closer to their children; and if you think you are closer to them, please do more. And to every young person out there, be open. Also, for people like Adeeko, who are so desperate, money doesn’t come that way and they should be satisfied with what they have because there is a process in life. Wait for your time.