By Evelyn Usman
An unkind fate recently visited 67-year-old Mrs Olufunke Odebiyi, whose only son, Kolade Johnson, had life snuffed out of him, by a bullet from the riffle of one Inspector Ogunyemi Olalekan, who was attached to the Anti-Crime Unit of the Lagos State Police Command.
Lagosians, in particular and Nigerians in general, will never forget in a hurry, how the 36-year-old football fan and father of one had his dream of reuniting with his girlfriend and son, in South Africa, shattered by that singular act of carelessness.
Perhaps, had the 2013 graduate of Business Administration from the University of Benin known that death was lurking in a corner, he would have remained in his apartment that night, having just concluded a five days fasting. But his love for football propelled him to join other football lovers at a viewing centre and the rest is history.
Late Johnson’s death sparked off protests in different quarters, including the UNIBEN alumni group, with a call for justice to be done.
It is no longer news that the killer cop has been arrested, dismissed and presently being remanded in prison custody, pending the advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution. This was done after he was found culpable of the offence, having been subjected to an internal disciplinary proceeding known as Orderly Room Trial by the Command.
The Orderly Room trial commenced on Monday, April 1, 2019, and ended on Thursday April 4, 2019. He was tried alongside Sergeant Godwin Orji, on three count charges: (1) Discreditable Conduct (2) Unlawful and Unnecessary Exercise of Authority and (3) Damage to Clothing or Other Articles contrary to Paragraph E (iii), Q (ii) and D (i) First Schedule, Police Act and Regulations, Cap 370 LFN 1990. But Sergeant Orji was exonerated leaving Inspector Olalekan to face the consequences of his action.
Investigation has however revealed that Johnson was not the only Lagosian sent to an early grave by the Police. Three other persons also had same fate befall them between March and now but the dust raised by Kolade’s killing apparently beclouded others.
One of the killings occurred three days before Kolade’s death at Kilo area of Surulere.
In this case, a Police Inspector, Paul Joseph who was to retire next month having spent 35-years in service, allegedly shot a motorcyclist dead.
During interrogation at an Orderly Room Trial, 52-year-old Joseph stated that the deceased, Ademola Moshood and two others on the run were accosted at a bank at about 1am, on March 28, 2019. On sighting the police team, two of the suspects according to him, bolted leaving Moshood, the rider of the motorcycle behind.
It was gathered that one of the policemen, Inspector Okolo Patrick, took the motorbike to the station, while Moshood was being interrogated on his mission to the bank at that ungodly hour. In the process, he was shot dead.
During interrogation, Inspector Joseph stated that the deceased was struggling with the riffle he was carrying and his colleague Inspector Nsa Obu, thereby forcing him to open fire on him.
But when his riffle was taken for ballistic analysis, the result confirmed that he fired a shot. He was also indicted by the autopsy result which showed that the deceased died of gun shot wound.
He was thereafter charged for murder before an Ebute-Metta Magistrate Court on April 8, 2019 and the Presiding Magistrate, Mr. O.A Komolafe, ordered that he should be remanded in prison custody, pending an advice from the Department of Public Defender, DPP.
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Also at Imota area of Ikorodu, Lagos, a teenager, Hadijat Sakiru was killed by a bullet from one Sergeant Mudi Emmanuel. The killer cop who was in the company of Inspector Godstime James, Sergeant Akintunde Tosin and Inspector Sunday Abidekun, was on patrol duty and had gone to eat at a canteen where the 17-year-old girl worked as sales girl.
A colleague of the deceased explained that “when they came, they asked Hadijat if there was food and she said yes. But the next thing we heard was a gun shot, boom! with Hadijat lying on the ground, dead.
During an Orderly Room trial of the team of policemen, others , except Sergeant Emmanuel, were released. It was discovered that he (Emmanuel) left his riffle which he hung on his neck, corked. In his attempt to remove it, he pulled the trigger, thereby releasing volleys of bullets, one of which hit the unsuspecting teenager.
Although he claimed that it was a mistake but his defence did not hold water as he was faulted for not leaving the bullets in safety catch and also for hanging the riffle on his neck instead of carrying it the proper way.
Sergeant Emmanuel was thereafter arraigned at Ebute –Meta Magistrate Court on March 22, 2019 and remanded in prison custody on the directive of the Magistrate, Mrs B.O Salawu.
The fourth policeman arrested for shooting a Lagosian, is at the moment undergoing Orderly Room Trial, over a case of murder.