Like Saraki Pardoned Killer, Kwara Govt Frees Charged Killers In Jebba Monarch Attack

by Ben Ezeamalu,

The king had barely made it into his palace when the deadly gunshots rang out.

It was the Eid-el-Fitri celebration of 2016 and Abdulkadir Adebara, the traditional ruler of Jebba in Moro local council of Kwara State, had just returned from the prayer ground and was hosting a crowd that accompanied him home.

Suddenly, an 18-seater bus and two motorcycles pulled up outside the crowded palace. Men armed with guns and machetes spilled out, and opened fire, according to witnesses and police records.

“Commotion arose, with everyone running for dear life,” Yakubu Ekundayo and Emmanuel Tytler, two local chiefs in Jebba said in a joint press conference on July 11, five days after the incident.

“HRH the Oba of Jebba was ferried out of the venue by a courageous human shield formed around him.

“The assailants eventually beat a retreat leaving behind their bus and the two motorcycles.”

When the smoke from the guns cleared, three people lay in a pool of their blood, dead, and 12 others sustained injuries, witnesses and police said.


After the Eid el Fitri attack outside Mr. Adebara’s palace, the police declared 10 people wanted for the killings.

The suspects included Kayode Okedare, Yahaya Seriki, Olarongbe Kolawole, Tunji Moses, Oluwasegun Okedare, Maigari Marafa, Ibrahim Aremu Olopoodo, Bolaji Driver, Tunde Osie and Isiaka Atanda Masun.

Kayode Okedare, a school principal whose family is at the forefront of the opposition to Mr. Adebara’s kingship, was declared alleged mastermind of the attack.

According to Ajayi Okasanmi, the Kwara police spokesperson, the suspects disappeared after actively participating in criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms, and culpable homicide among others.

In the police’s First Information Report on July 6, it was stated that the Jebba police station received information “from good-spirited people that two rival factions of Adebara and Okebara family clashed over a lingering chieftaincy tussle in the community after Eid-el-fitr prayers” in which three people were shot to death and others sustained various degrees of injuries.

On August 16, the police charged eight suspects – Adetunji Okedare, Bolaji Akanbi, Babatunde Osie, Usman Wada, Adebayo Aweda, Garuba Zomo, Sunday Mose, and Fatai Ishola – before an Ilorin Magistrate Court for criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, and illegal possession of firearms.

Kayode Okedare remained at large.

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The State Criminal Investigation Department report stated that on the day of the attack, Kayode Okedare and some vigilante from Onikpako village, Jebba, loaded themselves into a bus with registration number XA 152 SHA and two motorcycles armed with guns and other dangerous weapons with which they used to perpetrate the attack.

“You thereby committed the above offences,” said the report by Jibrin Mahmud, an inspector, and dated August 14, 2016.

“Meanwhile, investigation is still in progress towards arresting other fleeing suspects,” it added.

In her ruling on September 2, chief magistrate I.O Olawoyin declined to grant a bail application for the suspects filed by the defence lawyer.

“I have carefully considered issues as raised by the defence counsel as well as the response of the prosecution to all the issues as raised and hold by Section 341(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, a person accused of homicide shall not be granted or released on bail,” said the magistrate.

“However, the court in Section 341(3) is enjoined to grant bail upon consideration of reasonable ground that there are sufficient ground for further inquiry and pending such inquiry – the accused may be released on bail.”

The magistrate said the defence lawyer had not provided enough grounds to justify granting bail to his clients.

“It is also trite that the court has discretionary power to grant bail. However, while exercising this discretion, the court is enjoined to be guided by these principles – the serious nature of the offence, the gravity of the punishment in the court of conviction, and the nature of the evidence available against the applicants.

“These factors though not exhaustive but considering the serious nature of the offence before the court – can it be truly said without any other extraneous factor that accused persons had placed before the court cogent and compellable reasons to suave the mind of the court on why the court should exercise his discretionary power in their favour?

“I will answer this in the negative and I so hold.

“Therefore the application for the bail of all the accused persons is therefore not granted.”

But two weeks later, a legal advice from the state’s Ministry of Justice recommended the discharge of all the accused persons.

“We therefore apply that the court should terminate the First Information Report against them,” Al-Hassan Jubril, the police prosecutor, told the magistrate.

The court immediately terminated the suit and discharged all the accused persons.

A copy of the legal advice seen by PREMIUM TIMES showed a state government’s account of events of the July 6 event entirely opposite from the police’ and witnesses’ versions.

For instance, the advice stated that the attack happened in Kayode Okedare’s house and was perpetrated by “some thugs believed to be from Adebara’s side and his house was to (sic) set ablaze but for the timely intervention of the police.”

“Some of the suspects were arrested at Jebba police station after being identified to be part of the suspects at the crime scene, obviously by a member of the Adebara family.

“Some of the suspects (sic) was arrested while paying homage to Alhaji Kayode Okedare at his house as a community leader in Jebba.”

Mr. Okasanmi, the police spokesperson, told PREMIUM TIMES that the police had concluded its assignment in the matter.

“You know when a case happens and it is reported to the police, it is our duty as policemen to arrest and investigate and possibly prosecute if the case is worthy of going to court. And that’s exactly what we did,” Mr. Okasanmi said.

“You should also remember that we have separation of powers, where our duty ends is where another person’s starts. So our own primary duty is to arrest, investigate, and possibly charge to court.

“Whatever happens in court is at the complete discretion of the court. That’s what happened. The court will not have recourse to us before giving judgment or telling us the aftermath of their judgment. We have done our own and that’s just that.”

Mr. Okasanmi said since the Kwara State Ministry of Justice (Department of Public Prosecution) had said the arrested suspects had no case to answer, the matter is now beyond police control.

“As far as the case has been properly investigated, charged to court, and if the Kwara State Ministry of Justice (Department of Public Prosecution) says there is no case to answer, as policemen we have done our own duty by charging the case to court,” he said.

“If there are other evidence that were not gotten before, we can still re-arrest the suspects and charge them to the same court. All in all, all our duties end at the court, and that’s what happened.”

Asked if Kayode Okedare is still wanted by the police, Mr. Okasanmi said he does not know.

“If there is any suspect declared wanted, if we see him, we are going to pick him up.”


For years, the Adebaras and the Okedares, two prominent families in Jebba, had engaged in a tussle over the control as well as land ownership in the community.

The clash came to a head in 2006 when Mr. Adebara, after his coronation as the Oba of Jebba, was arraigned in court for impersonation. He subsequently spent 19 days in Ilorin prison before he was granted bail.

In the suit (No. KWS/2c/2006), Kayode Okedare served as the principal witness for the Kwara State government which was opposed to Mr. Adebara’s ascension to the throne.

Eight years later, the high court in Ilorin affirmed Mr. Adebara the legitimate traditional ruler of Jebba with a third class status.

He was discharged and acquitted.

The Kwara State government is still challenging the court’s decision and has refused to pay Mr. Adebara his entitlements as a traditional ruler since 2003 when he was crowned king.

And the Adebaras have continued to accuse the Okedares of conniving with the state government in an attempt to remove the Oba from the throne.

For instance, following last year’s violence at the palace, the state government did not issue a statement to condemn the incident; rather they sent a tersely worded query – five months later – to the King demanding an explanation of the cause of the attack.

“It has come to the attention of the Kwara State Government that during the last Eid-il-Fitri Sallah celebration on 6th July, 2016, the public peace of the people of Jebba and environs was disturbed,” read the later dated December 19 and signed by H.T Muhammad, Commissioner of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs, and Community Development.

“It is on record that before the intervention of the law enforcement agencies, some people had lost their dear lives and many others sustained varied degree of injury. It is to be stressed also that the dastard act took place in front of your palace and before your very eyes.

“I therefore have the directive of His Excellency, the Governor of Kwara State, to demand for an explanation from you on the cause of the incident and the role played by your personage.

“Your response is expected to reach this office within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter.”

Ibrahim Adebara, a member of the royal family, told PREMIUM TIMES the letter was so disrespectful to the throne that it referred to the king merely as ‘Alhaji Adebara AbdulKadiri.’

He added that the letter was delivered to the palace on December 29 “unconventionally” – through a commercial motorcyclist.

The palace responded to the government’s query on December 30.

The traditional ruler said the police had arrested some suspected masterminds of the Sallah day violence before they were “obviously embarrassed” by the Department of Public Prosecution’s advice.

He added that the case had been taken over by the Inspector General of Police’s office for further investigation. Read full in PREMIUMTIMES