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Police question cyclist’s killer, protest continues

Posted by Olalekan Adetayo and Kemi Obasola on 2005/07/27 | Views: 460 |

Police question cyclist’s killer, protest continues

The State Criminal Investigations Department, Panti, has taken over investigations into Monday’s killing of a motorcyclist by a naval officer in Alausa, Lagos.

The State Criminal Investigations Department, Panti, has taken over investigations into Monday’s killing of a motorcyclist by a naval officer in Alausa, Lagos.

The killer-officer whose identity was given as Lt. Felix Odunlami, attached to NNS Beecroft, Apapa, according to Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olubode Ojajuni, a deputy superintendent of police, has been moved to Panti for interrogation.

Odunlami was driving a Mercedes Benz 190 marked AR 374 SMK when the incident happened.

Protests over the killing, however, continued on Tuesday as commercial motorcyclists paralysed activities around the scene of the incident.

As early as 8am, the irate cyclists, who reinforced after Monday’s protest, brandished green leaves, chased away traffic wardens and took over the controlling of traffic on Obafemi Awolowo Way and adjoining streets.

It took the intervention of a detachment of riot policemen to restore order.

Concerned by the development, the Lagos State Police Command initiated a peace meeting with leaders of the cyclists.

As at Tuesday evening, policemen were still patrolling the area so as to check further breach of the peace.

Indication has, however, emerged that the man shot dead was not a commercial motorcyclist as he was earlier identified.

Ojajuni identified him as Mr. Peter Eze, a member of staff of WAHUM Group of Companies, Ikeja.

Eze was, until his death, residing at 25 Oshin Street, Alausa and might have been returning home after the day’s job when he was killed.

The commercial motorcyclists who apparently mistook the victim to be a colleague, reportedly pounced on Odunlami, and were about to set him on fire when the police saved him from the mob.

The Lagos State Government has, however, assured the commercial motorcyclists that it will bring the culprit to book.

The Deputy Governor, Mr. Femi Pedro, while addressing the motorcyclists who stormed the secretariat, Alausa Ikeja, to protest the killing of their colleague described the incident as unfortunate.

Pedro, who condemned the incident, also blamed the Okada riders for taking the law into their hands by destroying public property.

He said, "We sympathise with the bereaved family, friends and collegues of the deceased. It is understandable that in this circumstances, it is natural to overreact. Anybody that kills is a murderer, the law is there to take care of such incident. Therefore, it is not right to take laws into your hands.

"I am giving you the assurance of Governor Bola Tinubu who is also aware of the development and I have taken notice of your grievances. The culprit would be brought to book, he will not go unpunished."

Pedro who estimated the cost of the damaged property at over N5million, stressed that the money to be used in replacing the property could have been used to provide other basic necessities of life, such as good roads, and potable water, among others.

He enjoined the okada riders and go about their normal business activities as every thing would be done to address the development as soon as possible.

Pedro also called on them not to direct their anger at the police who they accused of extortion of N20, adding that the matter would be taken over by the state Commissioner of Police. for appropriate action.Pedro stated that Governor Bola Tinubu would consult with the leaders of the group and the bereaved family on adequate compensation for the family of the deceased

According to an eyewitness, trouble started, Monday evening at about 5.30 pm, when the Okada rider had a slight brush with the vehicle of the naval officer and in the process hot argument ensued with the officer who immediately brought out his pistol gun and shut the Okada man ,he was said to have died instantly.

Immediately, his colleagues started mobilizing and pounced on the naval man. He was said to have been beaten thoroughly before policemen from the nearby Alausa police station rescued him and ferried him to their station.

This did not go down well with his colleagues who mobilized and attempted to burn down the station.

Facing a stiff resistance from policemen, the Okada riders decided to vent their anger on the public. They took to the streets and started smashing the windscreen of vehicles on their way.

Many members of the public fell victim of their onslaught and in the attempt by others to escape the mob action, pandemonium broke out as vehicles were smashed against each other.

Many people had to seek refuge in the state secretariat, while motorists, had to seek alternative routes to their homes as the entire stretch from the Radio junction to the Secretariat became a no go area for motorists.

The PUNCH, Thursday, July 28, 2005

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