The Nigeria justice system is one that has raised many questions from time to time going by the number of innocent people who have been condemned to a lifetime in prison or even death.
It is not strange to hear of innocent people who get implicated in crimes they know nothng about just beacuse they were in a wrong place at the wrong time.
Such is the case of a Nigerian man, Olaide Olatunji, who was released from prison 24 years after being sentenced to die. His case is one that can only be described as God knows best.
As reported by Scan News, Olatunji was a photographer but he also worked with his father to sell cattle. He had travelled from Lagos to Niger state on May 30, 1988, to buy cattle for customers in preparation for the Sallah period.
Olatunji had reportedly explained that he was in the bush alongside an interpreter to select the animals he wanted when policemen accosted him and told him they were looking for some criminals who ran into the bush. He denied knowing anything about them but he was arrested even though his interpreter tried to explain that he was a regular visitor at the place and he was there to buy cattle.
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The cattle trader’s case was transferred from Niger state CID to Kwara state, Ilorin, then to Lagos. According to Olatunji he was still not aware of his crime at this point. He also added that the money which was with him to buy cattle, N325,000, went missing after he was taken to Lagos.
After series of torture at the hands of the police, Olatunji then discovered that he was being accused of murder and that a man had been killed in Lagos but his car was found at the village Olatunji had gone to buy animals.
Speaking further, Olatunji added that the confessional statement in his file was written by the police and he was forced to sign it.
After spending more than six years in prison, Olatunji was later sentenced to death on February 15, 1995, by Justice Da Silva.
Life in prison as a condemned man was a terrible one for Olatunji as he revealed that he was kept in a small room with eight others where they were made to bathe, eat, defecate and sleep despite it having no beds. Olatunji’s eight roommates were eventually executed sometime in 1996.
However the journey to Olatunji’s freedom started when a pastor at the prison, Ariyo Popoola, approached him in 2005 and showed interest in taking up his case. Popoola introduced him to Chino Obiagwu, the executive director of LEDAP and Kingsley Ughe, the chief lawyer of JLAA and they handled his case without collecting a dime.
Good fortune finally came when Olatunji’s case was appealed and on June 5, 2012, he received the good news of his freedom.
Olatunji’s family had spent a lot of money on lawyers to get him justice while he was in prison and he was even dubbed as Mr No Hope by others at the prison. His freedom left him very happy as he explained that his freedom now means a lot to him.
He also advised people to hold on to God and have patience. Olatunji’s story is no doubt a touching one.
Meanwhile Legit.ng previously reported the heartbreaking story of a graduate who was wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for three years.
Twitter user, Dr. Duenduozi, left many people thinking twice about the state of affairs in Nigeria after he shared a recent experience he had with a man who had just been released from Kirikiri prison in Lagos.
Duenduozi recounted how a stranger walked up to him, asking for money to buy food. He stated that he initially thought the man was just another junkie roaming the streets but on further questioning, discovered he has just been released from prison for a crime he claims he didn't commit.
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