Former Chairman, Ekiti State Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Rotimi Olanbiwonnu, has spoken on his ordeal in prison while standing trial for complicity in the murder of former National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman, Omolafe Aderiye.
Olanbiwonnu said he and six other persons who stood trial for complicity in the murder of Aderiye had been vindicated by God and the court of law.
The former RTEAN boss and six others tried for the murder: Adebayo Aderiye, Adeniyi Adedipe, Sola Durodola, Ajayi Kayode, Oso Farotimi and Sola Adenijo, are all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
They were all discharged and acquitted by an Ekiti State High Court presided over by Justice Lekan Ogunmoye who held that the prosecution failed to prove the case of murder against tem beyond reasonable doubt.
Aderiye was murdered on September 25, 2014 at his private motor park, Lafe Ade Transport Services, in Ijigbo area of Ado-Ekiti. The killing triggered an orgy of violence in some parts of the city.
Speaking on a live programme on Radio Nigeria Progress 100.5 FM, ISEJOBA RERE, Olanbiwonnu revealed that his house at Oke Ila area of Ado-Ekiti and five vehicles were burnt down during the violence that trailed Aderiye’s death, while his wife’s shop was looted.
The RTEAN boss said he was arrested in his house on July 27, 2015 by security men in fifteen vehicles, led by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to Governor Ayo Fayose at about midnight and was whisked to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
He said the Police went to the hotel in which he lodged in Abuja to inspect the duplicate of his hotel receipts and RTEAN national secretariat to examine the minute book and attendance record to confirm his absence from Ekiti when Aderiye was killed.
Olanbiwonnu said: “I was not in Ado-Ekiti when the late Aderiye was killed; I was in Abuja attending the National Executive Committee meeting of RTEAN.
“I had left Ado-Ekiti since September 22, 2014 and I learnt of the killing on September 26, 2014 on the pages of newspapers while returning from Abuja on that day.
“Our three-year ordeal in prison custody was unpalatable but God has vindicated us and the court has ruled that we are innocent. Aderiye’s personal assistant who was with him when he was killed told the court that we were not the ones that killed him.
“We had no power to fight the government but God fought for us. We suffered a lot while in prison custody but God was behind us because we suffered for an offence we did not commit.”
Olanbiwonnu thanked Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, other APC leaders, union members and family members for standing by them during their incarceration.