Innocent bricklayer released after 24 years in jail tells terrible story

Lukman Adeyemi, a 50-year-old bricklayer from Oyo State, has finally been proven innocent and set free from prison after wrongly serving 24 years behind bars.

Back in 2000, at the age of 26, he was taken into custody by SARS officers after accompanying a friend to the police station, where he was unfairly treated and forced into making false confessions through physical and mental abuse.

After enduring nine years of pre-trial detention and another 15 years on death row, he was finally released on June 14, 2024.

Lukman Adeyemi shared the traumatic ordeal he went through during his time in prison.

“I was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a crime I knew nothing about. I’m now seeking justice and trying to rebuild my life.”

“In August 2000, after returning home from work with a friend living with me, Ismaila Lasisi, we were told that the Police came to look for Ismaila and he was asked to report himself in the station.

“I immediately decided to follow him to the station, lo and behold I was arrested and detained along with him. I was tortured to the point of death over a crime I knew nothing about, right from the police station.

“I had a close shave with the death over a murder of a woman who was hired by some ex-friends of Ismaila Lasisi to fetch water for them at the construction site. The woman left home in the morning and she never returned home.

“Ismaila Lasisi once lived with them. He begged to come and live with me after he had a misunderstanding with these people in March. I knew these people from a far distance. Our paths never crossed in life for anything. This was how I was charged to court along with these people over an offence I never had any knowledge of.

“In 2009 we were sentenced to death. We filed separate appeals but the appeal failed to the Supreme Court.

“My story of innocence to whoever cared to listen fell on deaf ears, with many questioning, ‘If you’re not one of them, why mention your name?’ ‘If truly you are innocent why can’t court free you?’

“I felt abandoned by truth itself. I spent 24 years behind bars like 24 hours, a sleepless night that lasted for two decades.

“In June 2023 one of the officers of the Correctional Service, Deputy Superintendent of Correctional (DSC) AbdulKareem Awesu introduced my case to a Pastor and I spoke with him on phone.

“On 17th July 2023, a group Centre for Justice Mercy and Reconciliation, CJMR, led by Pastor Hezekiah Olujobi visited us at the Ibara Correctional Service where they listened to all of us including the culprits who exonerated us. The organization went with all our judgement and shed light on our innocence.

“June 14, 2024, shall remain evergreen and memorable day in my life. Light shone upon me, rain fell on my head for the first time and I saw the moon for the first time.

“I never knew I could pay for the sin of another man. How could I have committed an offense and still boldly walk into a police station to report myself?

“I am grateful that the organization Centre for Justice Mercy and Reconciliation intervened on my behalf, a beacon of hope in a sea of despair. Her belief in my innocence reignited the flame of justice within me, propelling me toward the possibility of redemption.”

Pastor Hezekiah Deboboye Olujobi, the head of the Centre for Justice, Mercy, and Reconciliation (CJMR), a non-profit organization located in Ibadan, has stepped up to support the release of Lukman Adeyemi and Ismaila Lasisi. He has presented compelling evidence that proves their innocence.

He said …

“Our attention was drawn to the complaints of these two people on their claim of innocence by the Welfare Officer DCP Awesu, who invited us to come and help these people assuring us of their innocence and the effort made through the legal process without justice.

“We came down to Ibara Custodial Centre, Abeokuta, to hear from them. The two perpetrators confided in us that truly, they were the ones who committed the crime and that the two people were totally innocent of the crime. We adjusted our seats to hear them very well.

“It was a long drilling of questions on their parts. But yet they insisted on their innocence. What they said carried no weight in my ears until I read through the judgement that convicted them. We obtained their judgements from both the trial court and the Supreme Court for our review. We noticed the presentation of the state before the appellate court could never allow the court to shift ground.”

Pastor Olujobi added he observed that “while reading through their separate judgements, it was a contradiction.”

He narrated how the release of the individuals were facilitated, saying …

“With all the analysis and the evidence in the record, we forwarded our findings to the office of the Attorney-General of Ogun State and the Committee for the Board of Prerogative of Mercy and they considered our appeal.

“It’s not about their story, it is about the fact that the record corroborated their story.”

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