The family of the late Bamise Ayanwole, the 22-year-old fashion designer allegedly killed by a BRT driver in Lagos, has rejected an alleged plan by the Nigeria Police to conduct an autopsy on the body of the deceased.
Rather, the family demanded that the police should ensure that the dress the late Bamise wore at the time of her death as well as her mobile phone and other personal belongings were not tampered with.
An elder brother of the deceased, Pelumi, told City Round on Friday that the bereaved family was only given a 24-hour notice by the police that a post-mortem would be carried out on Thursday.
Pelumi said the family considered the notice to be inadequate to arrange for an independent pathologist to ensure fairness.
“We were informed by the Nigeria Police that they would love to conduct the autopsy. They called us on Wednesday to conduct the autopsy on Thursday and we feel such a time would not be enough for us to gather experts who will witness and participate in the autopsy.
“In all fairness, the Nigeria Police, Lagos Bus Services Limited, and the Lagos State Government can bring as many (pathologists) as they want but I think, in all fairness, we also deserve to present ours who would be neutral and give us an honest analysis. I want to thank the Investigating Police Officer at Panti. As soon as we rejected yesterday’s time for the autopsy, he did not go-ahead to put us aside.”
While reiterating the call for justice, the brother of the deceased added, “Autopsy or no autopsy, we believe the case is a clear one. Bamise boarded their vehicle; she was supposed to alight at Oshodi but they did not drop her at Oshodi. And it was the Nigeria Police that took the body to the morgue. The following day, we started looking for Bamise and we contacted all the police stations possible, and it shows there is no synergy.
“So, I would say the Police Service Commission should look into this. They (police) seem helpless. They saw the evidence – all the video and voices. They listened to them but they look so helpless and it is now a culture, which is very wrong. Nobody believes the police any longer.
“Bamise had a phone with her. Where is that phone? Bamise was well-dressed when she boarded the vehicle. Where is her dress? As a lady, she should be carrying a handbag. Where is the handbag? There are lots of questions that even without the autopsy, all the culprits can be easily apprehended.”
Counsel for the family, Ayo Ademiluyi, said the Lagos State Government was a party to the crime of the murder of the late Bamise Ayanwola and could not sit as a judge in its case.
“We are calling for a two-week period within which the family can assemble a team of pathologists. We have widely consulted with medical consultants and we have been graciously advised that in this country, there are eminent pathologists that can be engaged on behalf of the family for the autopsy,” Ademiluyi added.
While confirming that an autopsy had earlier been scheduled to hold on Thursday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said the police were awaiting feedback from the family on a date for the autopsy.
Hundeyin said, “The autopsy was planned for Thursday. The family was duly informed but at the very last minute, the family opted out. They said Thursday was not convenient for them, that they should be given some time to have a meeting and come up with a new date, and that they don’t have absolute confidence in the government’s pathologist, so they would like to appoint a pathologist from their end who’s going to be part of the team carrying out of the autopsy.
“Why would they hold a press briefing when they haven’t given us feedback? We are waiting for them to come up with a date and their pathologist. There are standard operations for handling exhibits, so why would anybody tamper with them (Bamise’s belongings) knowing that they could give clues that would help in solving the crime?”