July 23, 2024

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Police harass, extort residents to meet up with daily contribution, Ikotun monarch

7 min read
Mojisola Lawal
Following the brutal killing of a 28-year-old Islamic cleric and apprentice, AbdulFatai Oladipupo who was shot in the head by Inspector Okoro Charles, alias Pastor, one of the officers attached to Ikotun police station, the Onikotun of Ikotun kingdom, Oba Azeez Gbadabiu Ishola Asiwaju has described the killing as deliberate and an act of desperation of the officers to meet up with daily contribution.
According to the monarch, Ikotun community for many years has been a pot of wealth for men and officers of the Ikotun police division that they violently harass, exploit and extort residents and transporters operating in the community.
According to the leader of the Islamic group where the deceased was a member of the mission board, Shakirudeen Okiki, Oladipupo was killed by the bullet of a trigger happy cop, Inspector Okoro when he went to buy his dinner.
Inspector Okoro alias pastor who killed AbdulFatai
According to Okiki, Okoro known for his notorious attack on Okada and tricycle operators in Ikotun community chased after a tricycle operator who he felt had violated the 8pm curfew imposed on human and vehicular movement by the Lagos state government.
He narrated that “Since he felt his legs had failed him and couldn’t race as fast as he wanted, he decided to use his gun which he targeted at the tricycle but hit Oladipupo on his neck. While he fell on the ground, Sadiq Dawud who was with him rushed home to tell about the incident.
We got there to meet him in a pool of blood gasping for breath until he died. Seeing this, Okoro and his team who were not in uniform entered the mini-bus they came in and left the scene.
Pregnant Wife and the two children of the deceased
Three hours after they had left, we took the corpse to Ikotun police station to report the incident. It was as if they had been expecting us and had readily prepared for us. They didn’t allow us to move close to the gate before they started hurling stones and bottles at us while some of them released teargas and shot in the air. We all fled the scene and they carried the corpse to their station. This was around 12am.”
Out of helplessness and the disappointing scene created by the police, Okiki led his team to the palace of Olukotun of Ikotun kingdom, Oba Azeez Gbadabiu Ishola Asiwaju who called the Station Officer of Ikotun police station to inquire about happenings in his kingdom.
According to the monarch, he was fed with lies as the Station Officer made effort to hide the truth of the matter.
He said, “The death of the young man was a painful one. The policemen in Ikotun has once again display their cruelty and harassment on my subjects.
On Wednesday 20th of May, around 12am, I got a call that an officer had killed a young man.
Meanwhile, prior to this, I have been hearing gunshots and I thought it was from policemen that were on patrol for the enforcement of the curfew.
But little did I know that they were gunshots from policemen to disperse sympathisers who were gathered at the junction where the remains of Oladipupo were laid. The environment was like a battle zone.
While I was still ruminating on this, I got a call in the early hour of Thursday, around 1: am from the Station Officer of Ikotun police station who requested that I should instruct one of my chiefs to accompany them to the scene to douse the tension.
I vehemently refused that I would not be a party to injustice. And I asked him what had happened.
He said a tricycle operator hit an officer on his way home and in the process injured him severely that he fell on the ground. When he got back on his feet, out of anger, the officer took his gun and aimed the tyres of the tricycle but mistakenly shot the deceased.
I was so shock with this explanation from an experienced police officer. I told him point blank that he was only trying to cover up for his colleague. Let’s agreed that the tricycle injured the policeman, so the next line of action was for him to attempt to sniff life out of him? This is senseless and irresponsible!
I say with all sense of responsibility that the story as told by the Station Officers was false because we have seen cases of brutal attack and harassment of residents and Okada riders by men and officers of Ikotun police station.
Once its 8pm, they are always in a hurry to effect the curfew imposed on movement of human and vehicles by the government. It was in a bid to arrest a tricycle operator that Inspector Okoro alias Pastor shot Oladipupo dead.
Ikotun is highly populated. With the over-crowded nature of the community, no individual in his right frame of mind would think of releasing bullets for whatever reasons.
Unfortunately, this is the symbol of policemen at Ikotun police station.
A week before this incident, another horrible incident happened in Abaranje involving this same Inspector Okoro, Ijaya, Lebi and one other policeman.
They hid themselves in a tricycle wanting to arrest an Okada rider who had a female passenger.
On sighting them, the Okada rider attempted to escape but Okoro pushed him with his passenger that he fractured his leg. I was upstairs looking at them without them noticing me.
As this was going on, there was a woman recording them with her telephone. But when they discovered that they were being recorded, one of them nicknamed Ijaya rushed to her, tore her cloth, naked her and seized her phone.
They ordered the woman to delete what she had recorded but she bluntly refused and Ijaya dragged and attempted to beat her.
Before the situation would get out of control, I called out to them. In fact, they were shocked to see that I had seen all that happened.
I asked them what the issue is, and in their usual character, they lied. They said the Okada rider resisted arrest and they had to push him off his Okada.
Not again, I slammed at them. Why are our policemen full of lies? I told them I witnessed everything that happened and they were speechless but not sober because it was barely a week after this incident that Okoro killed the young man whose incidence happened on Wednesday.
Policemen assault and extort Okada riders and tricycle operators in Ikotun. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they are mean and wicked but since the lockdown and stay-at-home, they are worst and more desperate in their operations and harassment of traders and transporters.
There was a time a thief was arrested and brought to my palace and I called Ikotun police station to come and pick him up. Did you know that two days after, this man was released? He was seen back on the street. This is how terrible Ikotun police station has become.
They do everything within their powers to ensure that they meet up with their daily contributions of between N5000 and N10, 000. This is why they unjustly arrest and detain innocent people.
This is why they enforce the curfew even before 8pm. This is why they arrest innocent citizens and demand huge amount of money from them before they are released.
They are disgrace to our community. And this cannot be allowed to continue. Like in the case of the young man that was killed, they have attempted to cover it up but for my intervention.
They are not working for the government; they are there on the street to earn daily income. And if any of them is posted out of the station within two to three days, they will be back at their duty post at the same station.
We want to see justice done in this case. It was a deliberate act. They knowingly kill and cover their misdeeds through lies and blackmail.”
A tricycle operator, Ismail Adeyemi in Ikotun/Ijegun axis also explains how they contribute N100 three times daily to policemen at Ikotun who visit their park for the daily collection.
He said, “They come to us with force to collect money from us every day. They collect between N100 and N1000 from each tricycle operators. You dare not resist them. And if you have the courage to confront them, you will be dealt with. They are so mean. Without committing any offence they will come to our garage, demand for money and failure to give will earn you an arrest.”
The wife of the deceased, pregnant mother of two children, Nafisat AbdulFatai has cried out for justice.
24-year-old Nafisat told Nigerian Tribune that in spite of their little means, she lived happily with her deceased husband until he was killed by Inspector Okoro.
She said, “We live happily as husband and wife. We love ourselves in spite of our little means. His absence will be hugely felt. His death was sudden and painful. What was his offence that a policeman had to cut his life short? I am left to cater for the two children he left behind. I am just 24yrs old with two children.
 My heart and soul cry for justice. I am begging the government to stand up for my cause and not let my husband die in vain.”
Meanwhile the Lagos State Police Command has arrested Inspector Okoro Charles for the killing.
According to the command’s PPRO, Bala Elkana, the arrest of the police inspector would ensure a thorough investigation into the murder of the deceased cleric.
The police spokesperson stated that there was no issue of monetary demand from by inspector when the last accident happened.
According to reports from eye witnesses at the scene ,the inspector was trying to disperse the deceased cleric and others in front of a mosque when the man was hit by stray bullet.
Elkana said “there was no issue of money in the incident .I have  spoken to about six of the alfas ,who were present when the incident happened.
” It was during the curfew hours and the inspector was trying to disperse them .He did not even know that a person had been killed .”
The police image maker however insisted that ” the command has made a statement on that .We are investigating the incident and we will ensure that justice is done .”

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