Pandemonium in Ilasa as RRS kill innocent bystander

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - By Sun News Publishing
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Resident of Abimbola\ Bello street in Ilasamaja, Lagos were on Thursday night thrown into pandemonium and mourning when anti-robbery operatives from the Rapid Response Squad of the police shot and killed a resident of the street, while he was sitting in front of his home.

Trouble started when residents of the area had their evening rest shattered when they heard gunshots coming from the region of Ire-Akari Estate, a nearby suburb. Assuming that it was an armed robbery attack going on far from them, residents went about their normal business, seeing as this had become a regular occurrence in that area.

Some ten minutes after, however, the violence came in their direction, when operatives of the RRS, in their conspicuous white van drove up to the street junction and after shouts of “Wey dem, Wey dem!” started shooting sporadically, causing chaos and fear as people ran to take cover, some not sure what exactly they were running from.

Because the road is one that connects the Apapa\ Oshodi Expressway to neighbourhoods like Ago, Okota and Ikotun Egbe, traffic congestion is a daily occurrence there. But drivers and passengers alike abandoned cars and property in the ensuing pandemonium, assuming that the shots fired were from armed robbers.
When the dust and confusion cleared, a well-known young man, simply called Matthew lay dead some 50 yards from his house.

Eyewitnesses said he had been sitting across from his house with friends, enjoying the evening air, when the police arrived. Some said as the bullets started flying, he had stood up and started screaming in Yoruba, that he was not a thief, before he was shot twice by them.
Angered by his death, his friends and family members carried his body and went on a protest march, moving first from the police station in Ilasamaja, where the police claimed ignorance of the situation, to Okota police station. It was here they were to encounter more trouble as they alleged the police beat them, detained one and seized the body.

Some unscrupulous elements used the cover of the protests to rob people who were by now returning to their cars, taking away phones and other valuables.
Younger brother to the deceased, Jimoh, said his brother had just returned that evening from visiting their elderly parents in Badagry and had made moves to return to Badagry permanently.
“Now we have been thrown into mourning, as we don’t know what to tell my parents. The police now have his body with them, because they seized it from us when we went there. We are afraid they will come out and claim that he was an armed robber, that was why they shot him.”

He said they were shocked when they got to the police station where they found the RRS truck and the operatives, who however insisted they it was the armed robbers, and not them, who had shot the deceased.
“We were very surprised because a lot of people saw what happened and yet they claimed it was not them who shot him. We are very sad indeed.”
The small community was still in shock by Friday morning, as many resident could be seen standing around in groups, discussing the events of the night before.
Mr. Olumide Jimoh, Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, when contacted said the allegations of the community were untrue.
“There is no truth in this. We are not aware of any such incident.”

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