New Telegraph

Okada Ban: How police shot man in the mouth, nose, while chasing motorcyclists

…victim’s family demand justice

Operatives of the Lagos State Taskforce allegedly shot a 22-year-old man, Peter Samson, in the mouth and nose while chasing motorcycle riders at the Ojodu Berger area of the state. The victim was said to be standing at the bus stop when the stray bullet from the police hit him, as they were chasing motorcycle riders who were alleged of flouting the state government’s law against commercial motorcycle in the area. The victim, an indigene of Cross River State, was said to be returning from the Federal Road Safety Corp Office at Ojodu Berger where he went to collect his driver’s licence when the unfortunate incident happened. It was gathered that immediately the bullet hit him, the policemen who were chasing the motorcycle riders suddenly disappeared from the scene, leaving him to his fate, but a Good Samaritan who rescued him from the scene took him to the hospital.

Family’s effort at keeping him alive

But, for the tricycle rider who risked his life to take him to the hospital and stayed back until he was given first aid treatment and then left his (victim’s) brother who he called on phone at the hospital, it is unclear if he would have survived. Since the incident, the family said they had been running from pillar to post to raise money for his treatment, but still hoping on God for financial assistance to give him a better treatment.

According to Isaac Peter, the victim’s elder brother, it was after receiving a text message from the FRSC that he should come to collect his driver’s license on Thursday, June 9, that he went to the office, but was asked to come back the following day for it, so, he left the FRSC office to go to the bus stop where he would board a bus back to Mowe, Ogun State, that was when the stray bullets from the policemen hit him.

He said: “It was in the process that he noticed that the place had become rowdy, while trying to cross the road to the other side to climb the bridge, that was when he was hit by the bullets and he fell to the ground, soaked in blood. He was on the spot for hours with nobody attending to him, at least to take him to a nearby hospital, he had to summon courage, stood up and tore his T shirt and used it to cover the wound and the bleeding from further flowing. “It was in the process of doing that that a tricycle rider and some other people assisted him and lifted him into a tricycle and took him to a private hospital in the area, it was from the hospital I was called that my brother was involved in an accident.

“It was when I got to the hospital that I discovered that it was not really an accident, but he was hit by a stray bullet from the police. “On that fateful day, at the hospital, I was asked to deposit N180,000 for his treatment, but I begged the medical doctor that I don’t have such amount of money, I only deposited N30,000 to continue the treatment, while I called my other brothers and sisters to inform them about what happened and how critical the situation is. “The following day I went to the Ojodu Police Station to make a formal complaint, it was at the station I was told to exercise patience that they are still investigating the matter. Meanwhile, Samuel was already at home, because we couldn’t afford the money we were asked to deposit, so we told them we will be bringing him from home for treatment, but the money was later reduced to N130,000, the only amount we were able to deposit was just N40,000 and I was told without the N100,000 deposit they would not attend to him.

“I was assigned two policemen to follow me to Ojodu Berger bus stop. It was at the bus stop we got to know exactly what happened, that it was Policemen attached to the taskforce and motorcycle riders that were engaging each other in free for all. It was when the policemen were trying to shot into the air to disperse the riders that the stray bullet hit my brother on his mouth and nose.” Isaac added that, Ojodu Divisional Police Officer told the family to exercise some patience, that investigation was still ongoing on the matter, promising to arrest the policeman behind the shooting. “Since then, it has not been easy taking care of him.

We always take him to the hospital thrice a week from Mowe to Lagos for treatment. At this point I am tired, I want to appeal to good Nigerians to please help us , because I don’t want my brother to die. My salary alone cannot take care of him. The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi should please assist my brother to come out of the pains and bring the policeman who pulled the trigger to justice.

“I have not been able to take him to hospital for treatment regularly again because of financial constraints. Our father is dead and our mother is not financially viable. Samuel has not been given proper treatment at the hospital because of lack of money. Since the incident occurred I have only been able to raise N40,000 for his medical bills out of N100,000 that the hospital requested from us for treatment. I don’t want my brother to die.

I am begging Nigerians to assist him, the DPO asked me to bring my brother’s picture and promised to assist me get justice, but since then I have not heard from him.” The victim’s sister, Miss Elizabeth Peter said what happened to her younger brother is an unfortunate one that could have taken his life if not for God who saved him. “I wasn’t around when the incident occurred, it was late in the evening that I later received a phone call that Samuel had been shot by policeman at Ojodu Berger when he was returning home. How can a young man who is struggling to survive be shot in such a manner. “The first thing I asked his elder brother was that hope he would survive the gunshot and he told by God’s grace he would survive it. Immediately he told me that he was shot by police everything became blank to me. The following day when I got to the hospital to check on him, I saw my brother’s mouth and nose bloated, he couldn’t even see clearly and eat and I became afraid and started weeping, because I was afraid, I don’t want him to die, he is our mom’s last child.”

Okada riders accuse police of the act Some motorcycle riders who spoke with our correspondent accused Taskforce Officials of shooting the innocent boy when they were chasing them at their park. A motorcycle rider who didn’t want his name in print said on the fateful day of the incident, that it was Neighbourhood Watch officials that first came to the place in the morning, it was after they left that policemen arrived and started shooting teargas canisters and gun directly at us. He said that, “immediately the policemen arrived the scene they started shooting sporadically and using teargas canisters to disperse us, saying that they have warned us to stay away from the road. But where we were is not main road where the state government restricted motorcycle riders from operating. “Sincerely, I didn’t see the boy when the gunshot hit him, because I have taken my bike away to a safer place and then came back. I believe it was during the sporadic shooting that the stray bullet hit the innocent boy. It was not true that people didn’t want to help him, everyone was afraid of being hit by the police bullets. The excesses of the policemen are much. It is only God that can save us. “That fateful day, alot of people sustained injuries when they were scampering for safety.

Even passengers too were not left out.

I was told it was a tricycle rider who later assisted the boy to the hospital. We are not given alternative job to do, some of us are graduates, that’s the only thing we know how to do, we cannot steal to survive. The blood of the innocent boy they spilled will not let them rest, because I was told the boy’s mouth and nose was badly affected by the bullets.

“If not God the boy would have died by now. The Taskforce Officials we have certain amount we pay them monthly for them to allow us to work. Some of us sold off our bikes when the problem was becoming unbearable and relocated to their home town or start up a new business, but some of us don’t have the financial capacity to start a new business. Some of us have also lost our lives.” Another bike rider who simply gave his name as Abbey said Lagos is becoming unbearable for them all. “The policemen from Ojodu Berger always come with war and with about five of their trucks to impound motorcycles, whoever that try to resist arrest would be beaten mercilessly, some of us have died in the process. “The one that pained me most was the boy who came to get his driver’s license that was shot in the mouth and nose. I learnt they are silencing it.

That is how they behave whenever they come for raiding, they would be shooting sporadically and also using teargas canister on innocent Nigerians.” Confirming the story, the Lagos State Command Police Public Relations Officer(PPRO), SP Benjamin Hundeyin said the DPO Ojodu Police Station have written a letter to the FRSC after getting the number plate of the vehicle used by the policemen. As soon as the driver of the vehicle is identified the driver will produce the policemen who carried out the act. “It was not gun that hit the victim, it was teargas canister fired that hit him, we want to assure the victim that he’s going to get justice.” The spokesperson however said investigation was ongoing on the matter.

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