7th December, 2010
Again, news of the killing of Femi Olayiwola, a resident of Somolu by the police on Sunday came as as a shock and a rude reminder of the bestiality in our law enforcement agents.
Reports have it that the late Olayiwola was coming from a party with some of his friends in the early hours of Sunday when he was pursued by the divisional police officer (DPO) at the Olosan Police Station, Mushin, who was riding in a Camry car with tinted glasses.
According to the report, the police officer pursued his victim to the entrance of the Onipanu Police Station and shot him at point blank range inside his Odyssey car with registration number BX 714Â KSF.
After killing him, the DPO attempted to run but was accosted by a mob. Investigations revealed that he would have been given an instant judgment and dispatched to the great beyondÂ by the mob baying for his blood as a result of his callous act, were it not for the quick intervention of policemen from Onipanu Station.
That Olayiwola was killed in front of a police station where he ran to for refuge when he was being pursued depicts the callousness of the police officer. Pray, what could have got into the head of the police officer, a DPO for that matter, that would have made him shoot a defenceless civilian to death in front of a police station. What is the offence committed by theÂ victim that warranted his being shot at point blank range. There is no better way to describe this brutal act than to label the officer a mad man.
This is not the first time innocent civilians will be mowed down like chickens by gun-totting policemen. Infact, Olayiwola is not the first victim of police brutality, neither will he be the last.
What is baffling is that a police officer who is also a divisional police officer was the one that carried out this cruel act. A divisional officer that is charged with protecting residents of a community was the one that actually took the law into his hands and snuffed the life out of a resident he is being paid to protect. What do we make of this?
Is it not better that he should be taken to a remote desert and hanged.
The brutal killing of Olayiwola is just one in a series of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by policemen in recent times.
On 17 November, 2010, a day after Eid-el Kabir, two men, a butcher and a tailor, were riding a motorcycle around Bajulaiye when they were shot by a trigger-happy policeman. One of them, Ibrahim Tijani, 32, died but the other, Wasiu Salami, 28, survived. While the corpse of the deceased was taken to the Isolo General Hospital mortuary and labelled as unknown, Salami was rushed to a private hospital on Ladi- Lak Road. He was forcefully ejected two days later by the personnel of the hospital on the orders of the DPO of Alade Police Station. At the time he was discharged, Salami had a deep gash still by the side of his side.
Were it not for Salami, the family of Tijani would not have known that he was killed by a policeman.
In the early hours of 1 October, 2008, Modebayo Awosika, an accountant with the First Bank of Nigeria was going home in his SUV after enjoying himself at a club on Victoria Island. The young man was cut down by a hay of police bullets after his vehicle allegedly hit a police patrol vehicle stationed in the darkness at the Lekki Roundabout. His assailants were not done with him. To cover up what happened, they overturned his vehicle and set it ablaze to make it appear as if his car somersaulted and caught fire after hitting the police vehicle. The truth did not come out until two years later when the police after a lot of pressures from the Awosika Family and members of the public, admitted that its men killed the young banker and that one of them is still at large. The other suspect is currently facing trial.
Another instance of police brutality was recorded in Abuja few years ago when some cattle traders going to buy cows in the North were killed by policemen at a checkpoint and burnt inside their vehicle and their money stolen. The policemen were later caught, convicted and sentenced to death.
There are many instances of police extra judicial killings that have been reported, few of which have been prosecuted in the law courts.
We are happy in this instant case that the Lagos State House of Assembly has stepped into the present killing at Onipanu by summoning the Lagos police boss.
Everything should be done to bring the culprit in the present case to book. No matter how highly placed, the DPO who allegedly shot and killed Olayiwola must be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.