Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Extra-judicial killing: Grief, anger, tension, as police kill apprentice

Grief, anger, tension and uncertainty aptly captured the mood in Epetedo, Lagos Island, when Daily Sun visited the area on Monday, March 28, 2011. This is as a result of the killing of a 22-year-old man, Abiodun Adeniji, by policemen from Area ‘A’, Lion Building, on Friday, March 25, 2011.

After the victim, an apprentice, was shot by a police officer simply identified as Elegbede, his corpse was dumped in the compound where he was killed. Irked by the action of the police, some angry women and youths carried his corpse to the Central Police Station, Adeniji Adele also on the island. The protesting women and youths, who were teargassed by the police, dropped the body at the police station and left.

Few minutes after they were dispersed, a team of policemen came to the area and arrested many youths in a raid. Daily Sun gathered that about 50 persons were detained and the police have continued to clamp down on the youths.

On March 23, a young boy, Taiwo Jatto was shot dead by some hoodlums during a clash.
It was on the basis of the clash between some youths from Lafiaji and Epetedo, which resulted in the death of Taiwo, that police carried out the raid which resulted Abiodun’s killing. The supremacy battle between the two factions of the hoodlums had been going on since December last year.

The problem started when one Kabiaru Jubril wanted to become the Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), which those in support of one Michael, opposed. A source said since the leadership tussle started some months ago, it had been one harvest of clashes. It was also gathered that efforts by some prominent people in the area, especially, politicians, to reconcile the two factions had always met a brickwall. On that fateful Wednesday, some armed hoodlums from Lafiaji were said to have taken the battle to Epetedo and in the process, killed Taiwo, who just finished his Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and was waiting for his result.

Giving insight into the crisis in the area, the Publicity Secretary of Epetedo Elders, Alhaji Rasheed Aro, admitted that the problem between the youths in Lafiaji and Epetedo had been on for quite some months.
He explained that after Abiodun was killed, some angry and concerned women took to the streets half-naked and marched alongside the youths, who were taking the body of the victim to the police station.
Another resident, who identified himself as Lukman Ajagun, lamented the raid on the area and the arrest of some innocent youths by the police.

He put the number of persons arrested by the police, including the councillor representing the area and an Estate developer, at over 50. He, however, disclosed that some of them had been released.
Abiodun’s brother-in-law, Prince Segun Adams, disclosed that he was killed at about 7 am. He narrated how the victim earlier told his sister to assist him to wash his jeans trousers before he went to visit his friend at Elemele Court, off Beecroft Street, before his tragic death.

When the policemen came for the raid, people, including Abiodun, were seen running helter-sketer, to avoid arrest. The fear-stricken Abiodun was said to have run into a compound, where the policemen went and shot him dead. “They did not find any cutlass, gun or any arm on him, but they still shot him. The policemen regretted their action but there was no way they will admit their mistake publicly,” he said.
He disclosed that Abiodun’s mother, Mrs. Abibat was taken away to Ikorodu, to enable her recover from the shock.

One of the elderly women in the community, who marched to the police station, Mrs. Airat Alapini, said they organized the protest because it was clear that the victim (Abiodun) did not commit any crime to warrant his killing by the police. She explained that when the victim saw the policemen and ran into the compound, they went after him and he raised his hands, an indication that he was armless and harmless. “As they were taking him away, Elegbede shot him.” she said.

Mrs. Alapini explained that another reason for dumping the body at the station was to tell the police to take the corpse of the innocent person they killed, instead of abandoning it to the family.
She said it is only justice that can heal the wound inflicted on the family by the police.


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