A university don and Lagos-based legal practitioner, Wahab Shittu, has advised the family of late former Governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, to as a matter of duty cooperate with the Osun State Government over the coroner’s inquest it has instituted into the death of the politician.
Shittu who spoke with journalists in Lagos over the imbroglio, said the family of late Adeleke can only refuse to appear before a state-ordered inquest if the decision is backed by a court order.
By refusing to appear before a Coroner, according to the lawyer, could be against the laws of the land.
Shittu’s intervention during the week was sequel to the family’s rejection of a coroner’s inquest ordered by the Osun State Government to determine the cause of the politician’s death.
Adeleke died on April 30, while Governor Rauf Aregbesola signed an executive order setting up a coroner inquest under the state’s Coroner Law of 2002.
Shittu though cautioned that the circumstances of the Senator’s death might be considered by the law enforcers not to compel the family to appear.
The government had appointed a Magistrate, Olusegun Ayodele, as the Coroner.
They hinged their rejection of the inquest on what they called its ill-advised, self serving nature.
They also said its outcome was pre-determined.
Shittu said: “Without a court order, it’ll be difficult for the family to sustain its position because that may be tantamount to interfering with lawfully constituted authority.
“But these are not issues that can be resolved by legal considerations alone.
“We also have to take into cognizance other permutations, including the psychological feelings of the family.
“This is why it’s not a matter that is strictly legal.
“There are extra-legal factors that need to be considered going forward.”
According to Shittu, the family has genuine reasons to be emotional, but should better cooperate with the state.
He said: “Considering the circumstances surrounding Senator Adeleke’s death, the family or any other sane Nigerian is entitled to be suspicious.
“This was a man who a day previously was not showing any sign of any sickness.
“This may have informed the decision taken by the family, obviously out of frustration.
“I must say that in spite of that, the family is advised to cooperate and collaborate with the state government in determining the cause of death of this great Nigerian.
“I want to also believe that the government of the State of Osun under Ogbeni Aregbesola means very well in this exercise.
“The family will be doing the soul of the departed good if they cooperate until we see cogent and compelling evidence of complicity.
“This inquest is not something that is capable of being manipulated because the entire world is watching.”
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