by Rachel Ogbu
A policeman, Cpl. Abu Abolaji, is standing trial for killing three men while on patrol but he has said the shots were all a mistake even though he shot seven times.
In a Lagos High Court yesterday at Igbosere, a witness who is an inspector said that he was on patrol with the defendant, and three other policemen when he fired seven shots that left three men dead. He said one died on the spot and the other two died on their way to the general hospital on Lagos Island.
Yahyah Emmanuel said:
“On October 1, 2009, I was at Adekunle Police Station when we received a distress call informing us of a robbery at Alagomeji after which four of us signed for ammunition and went on patrol. When we got there, we saw three men who ran into a car and locked themselves up immediately they saw us.
“I got down from the patrol van with Cpl. Abolaji and asked him to go find out why the men ran into the car when they saw us. After a while, I started hearing gunshots and I moved to the scene to ask the defendant why he was shooting.”
“Immediately I got there, Cpl. Abolaji said it was a mistake and the gun was collected from him by another police officer who later discovered that seven of the bullets had been fired.”
Counsel to the defendant, Mr Victor Okpala, argued that Yahyah had not seen the defendant fire the shots, adding that the defendant was on red alert.
State counsel, Mrs O. A. Akin-Adesomojo countered that the Inspector had said all he knew about the incident.
After listening to the witness, Justice Ebenezer Adebajo adjourned to October 9 for continuation of trial.
According to the charge sheet, Abolaji, on October 1, 2009, at 4, Olode Street, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos at 12.30 a.m shot at three men— Mr Ibrahim Olojede, Rotimi Philips and Friday Uti— which later led to their death, offences which contravened Section 361 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State.