…may their deaths count for much and a New Nigeria
Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones – it is our prayer that these deaths would not be in vain.
Yesterday, the news filtered in, first as a rumour, then it was confirmed- it was the first casualty from the mass protests by Organised Labour and a civil society coalition.
On Monday, 9 January, 2012, Ademola Aderinde was killed by a policeman from the Pen Cinema Police Station of the Ifako-Ijayo Local Government Council.
Interestingly, Aderinde wasn’t a protester and was only playing football. According to an eye-witness:
“The policemen from pen cinema suddenly appeared at Yaya Abatan today and started shooting sporadically. CSP Segun Fagbemi’s team shot Demola, one of the young men in the area and injured 3 others. Demola ran after being shot but gave up in a few minutes.”
According to Rita Biovwuyi, a PR consultant and friend to the deceased, the four protesters shot at Yaya Abatan / Thomas Salako junction by the DPO Pen Cinema, Agege, at about 9.30am today are Mr Ademola of Aderinto Street who died on the spot. Others lying critically injured at the County Hospital, Ogba are Idara Monday of 33 Abeokuta Street, Ogba, Samuel Ebujor of 31 Abeokuta Street, Ogba and Abubakar Alimi of 16 Odebiyi Street, Haruna, Ogba.
Policeman, Victor Okafor allegedly fired the fatal gunshot . According to other eyewitnesses at the scene, Okafor and some of his colleagues arrived in a vehicle with the plate number; RRS 101 LA. Eight other cops came down with him; they fired 2 shots in the air and then continued sporadically.
“I was running when I felt something hit me,” said one of the victims. “I didn’t even know it was a bullet till I saw blood then they rushed me to the hospital.”
Added victim recounted his ordeal: “When I was coming from the bus stop where I went to read sports news, I saw the policemen shooting in the air, suddenly the bullet just hit me and I found myself here (hospital).”
It is a familiar, sadly even expected, story.
Unfortunately, the hospital refused to treat them (another familiar story).
According to the matron on duty, recorded on television, private hospitals are not allowed to treat bullet victims without a police report. This is despite well documented directives from the office of the Inspector General of Police to the contrary. The victims were rushed to another hospital (County Hospital, Ogba) after a police report was received from Area G police station.
The young people rushed back to the police station to “deal with” the officers, but were stopped by the Channels Television crew and the council chairman, Oloruntoba Oke. The DPO has since been arrested and is detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) office in Ikeja, he will possibly be charged for murder.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police has also apologised to the family of the deceased over this sad incident.
Across the nation, many have yet died – some as collateral damage, including the confirmed death of an ‘okada’ rider that died in avoiding a bonfire in Ketu. There have been other deaths reported in Kano, Ibadan, Osogbo and then in Benin (the Red Cross confirmed 5 dead) stemming from the Boko Haram protests. It has ultimately become a case of avoidable deaths as the Nigerian government has neglected to responsibly engage protesters or in some cases, the police has sort to repress angry Nigerians by violence.
The Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim totalled the number of people dead so far from the nationwide protests at three – but since we share the natural scepticism of Nigerians over police claims and considering that the Red Cross already confirmed 5 dead, it is easy to assume that the casualty figure is much worse. This makes us terribly sad.
Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones – it is our prayer that these deaths would not be in vain, as Nigerians fight a battle to reclaim their country.