Gbade, the elder brother of the late Timothy Adegoke, a former master’s student at Obafemi Awolowo University who was found dead at Hilton Hotels Ile-Ife, Osun State, in November 2021, speaks on how the bereaved family received the news of the conviction of owner of the hotel, Dr Ramon Adedoyin, and two of his workers, by an Osun State High Court in connection with Timothy’s death
The Osun State High Court on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, sentenced a popular hotel owner Dr Ramon Adedoyin and two others to death over the murder of your brother in Adedoyin’s hotel. Was that the type of judgement you expected from the case?
We had been expecting justice and we all along believed God would take control. When we heard about the judgement, the town (Eruwa), and our family were very happy. We were happy that in Nigeria, we got the expected judgement. We knew all along that the case was against those that were on trial. It was expected and we thank all those that stood their ground for justice to prevail. I was very happy and I still have a lot to be happy about because we succeeded in getting the justice we expected.
Why were you absent in court on the day judgement was given?
I was not in court on Tuesday for security reasons. A lot came up before the court day that I heard. That was why I decided to wait somewhere as the judgement was being delivered. I was not in court because of security concerns.
Did you expect the court would hand a death sentence to some of the defendants?
We believed we would get justice when the case started because the spirit of the deceased did not rest. He was speaking to us in our dreams, assuring us that we will get justice. That was what gave me the confidence.
You mean your late brother appeared to you in your dream? What exactly did he tell you?
He told me to fight on his behalf and get justice. Whenever he appeared in my dream, he told me not to relent. That was why I kept calm. I knew that no matter what, there would be justice. The only thing was that I did not know when it would come, but thank God it came earlier than we even expected it.
How did your family feel when the news of the judgement broke?
We thank God and we appreciate the Chief Judge of Osun State, (Justice Adepele Ojo), and journalists that covered the case from the start, till the court passed its verdict. I also appreciate Chief Femi Falana, SAN, for coming through for the family without collecting a dime from us.
What was the reaction of your parents upon hearing the judgement?
The parents of the late Timothy are very old. What happened to their son was a sad incident and even with this justice, the dead cannot be returned to life. It will not give them back their child, but they were still happy with that judgement.
How has the family left behind by the deceased been coping since his death?
A lot has happened to us since he died. After his death, we didn’t find his corpse. How do you think we would feel? We had to come to Osun State and the perpetrators were eventually arrested. We even appreciate the fact that the deceased has a grave that people can see. We are coping but it has been challenging without Timothy. God is the one who takes care of and stays with someone without leaving. God has been there for us.
The wife of the late Timothy didn’t also show up in court on the day the judgement was given. Why did she stay away?
The deceased wife wanted to come to court with her children, but because of what we have been seeing and hearing, because of security concerns, she was told to stay back.
Can you shed more light on what you meant by security concerns?
As I said earlier, many things happened during the trial and before the judgement was delivered, that had to do with our safety, but we may not be able to discuss everything in the open.
The defendants are expected to go on appeal to a higher court. Do you fear the death sentence may be upturned?
We don’t know if he (Dr Adedoyin) will challenge the judgement, but if he does, and the matter goes to the Court of Appeal, we believe that the God that made the High Court judgement possible, will still be there for us at the Appeal Court. No matter where he takes the case, we are not scared and we believe no court will say the judgement delivered by the Osun CJ, Adepele Ojo, was not good.
Beside the death verdict, the court also asked the state government to take over the Hotel where the late Timothy died. What is your reaction to that?
The decision of the court that the Osun State Government should take over the hotel and the vehicle used in disposing of the corpse is a good one. We believe our lawyer, Chief Femi Falana, SAN, will see to that and ensure compliance.
The court also held that the education of the late Timothy’s children should be financed by Adedoyin and the two others that were given a death sentence. How do you feel about that?
On the three persons who were sentenced to death by hanging, and ordered to sponsor the education of the deceased’s children, our lawyers will work on that too.
What is your assessment of the reaction of Nigerians to the judgement of the court on your brother’s death?
Since the incident happened, the entire world has been following the development around the case. People were interested in the case and they have been following the case. People have been supporting us since the beginning of this case. When the judgement was delivered, people expressed joy, because they didn’t believe true justice could be served in Nigeria. We appreciate all the people who supported us both in Nigeria and the diaspora. I appreciate the police in Osun State and Abuja for their efforts in unravelling the mystery behind Timothy’s death. I appreciate Oriyomi Hamzat (a popular broadcaster) for his moral and financial support throughout the trial. It was during the period they threatened to take him to Abuja that we got the judgment.
How did the Eruwa community support your family while the case lasted at the Osun State High Court?
I appreciate the Chairman, Eruwa Elders Council, Chief Peluola Jacob, and the people of Eruwa for their efforts and support. There was a time during the trial when I was offered money by the defendants and I refused. They tried to attack me spiritually but it was Chief Peluola who stood up for me and made sure nothing happened to me also. I also want to appreciate my wife. Although she wanted to leave me when things got tough. She was scared but she later calmed down and decided to stay with me.
We want the people to continue to support us. It is important they do that for us to get justice. We believe that people will not abandon us. We fought together at the court and I believe we will fight together at the Appeal Court. We need their prayers and support all the time.