EKITI – Irate youths took to the streets on Friday, March 14, 2014 to protest the killing of a young boy, Oluwaseun Awoyemi, by Policemen in the Ojumose area of Ado-Ekiti, capital of the State.
A police team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) reportedly invaded the house where the boy lived with his grandmother on a search mission and beat him up before shooting him dead.
Oluwaseun was accused of having beat another boy in the neighbouhood.
The Nation reports:
The incident reportedly followed the invasion of the house where the deceased was staying with his grandmother by a gang of four armed officers who claimed to be looking for someone who had allegedly assaulted another boy in the area.
Oluwaseun, who was said to be observing a siesta in his room at the time, was dragged outside and dealt some several blows before he was shot by two officers who later took his corpse away and deposited same at the State University Teaching Hospital.
When The Nation visited the scene of the incident yesterday morning, thick dried blood covered the room, while sympathisers stood in groups discussing the incident. A survivor of the attack, Mrs. Lucia Afolayan, told The Nation that the four uniformed men came to the house around noon, noting that the policemen shot the victim in the scrotum and chest, killing him instantly.
Mrs. Lucia, who claimed to be approaching seventy years, explained she came from her house in another area of the capital to Oja Bisi to buy some food stuffs, noting, “hardly had I settled down to talk with my sister, the victim’s grandmother, when the four of them came, shouting “where is the stupid boy, where is the stupid boy.”
Continuing, she said: “They entered the first room where the boy was lying and grabbed his trousers with the belt, brought him outside and started beating him. When he was able to free himself, he ran into another room. I followed them and appealed that he should follow them. One of the two officers who came into the room shot him, the bullet also hit my arm. Immediately he fell and died.”
Confirming the account, grandmother of the deceased, Mrs. Abigael Awoyemi, explained that a neighbor, known as Baba White, had earlier came to the house around 9 am, seeking to see the boy who was said to have beaten his son. She said: “We were all around and we came begging him to be calm.
The two of them fighting were even said to be friends. But the man kept shouting ‘where is the boy?’. The boy, Taye, came out and said it was him. “Despite our appeals, Baba White still beat Taiye before he accepted our pleadings. After, he left and we thought it had ended there. Surprisingly, he came back with four police officers, all of them with guns. They pointed the guns at us and were going from room to room looking for the boy said to have beaten someone.
“They met my son where he was lying after taking his food. They dragged him out and beat him. He was able to free himself and ran into another room. My sister went into that room with him, begging that he should follow them. While she was doing that, they went into the room and killed Oluwaseun. He was my only dream. What can I do?”
She called on the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi to support the family to bring the perpetrators of the killing to book.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, Mr. Victor Babayemi, while confirming the incident, said it was the deceased that first made attempt to kill the police before the latter “played a smart one by first pulling the trigger.”
According to Babayemi, the police had come to the house when they “received a distress call from someone that he was robbed in the area”, adding, “when they got there, the police cordoned off the area and saw Seun and other boys who were suspected of having committed the robbery. “So, when the police had identified the house, they went after the boys.
Immediately they saw the police, they rushed inside, and in the course of searching the rooms, Seun, who was holding a dane gun, jumped from the ceiling into a room. But unknown to him, a policeman was already in the room and when he wanted to pull the trigger, the police then opened fire on him.” He, however, assured that investigations were on to get to the roots of the incident, assuring that “whoever was found complicit would be dealt with.”
Findings by The Nation revealed that Baba White, the man who allegedly invited the policemen, was being held at the State Police Headquartres and was assisting in the investigations.
Meanwhile, the killing sparked protests in the area, as friends and family of the victim claimed that the police killed him without any justified cause. The aggrieved youths, said to number about 30, reportedly wielded dangerous weapons, including cutlasses, bottles and stones, and made bonfires around areas like Ojumose and Okesa, disrupting the free flow of vehicles in the area.
About three vehicles were also seen occupied by detachments of police officers, who were possibly deployed to keep guard around the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order.