The police officer who pulled the trigger on 36-year-old Kolade Johnson on Sunday, March 31, 2019, boasted beforehand that he was going to “kill somebody here today”, according to Alhaji Remi Lukman, his Dad.
As the police raided the Onipetesi, Mangoro Bus Stop neighborhood in search of one Ismail Folorunsho on March 31, 2019, Johnson was among the crowd who repeatedly assured the officers of Folorunsho’s innocence.
The police officers then shot sporadically to disperse the crowd. One bullet caught Johnson. He would not recover, even after he was rushed to a nearby hospital.
“My son was murdered here at about 4:30pm by so called anti-cultism unit of the police force. I want it to be relayed, to be passed over to people just as it happened”, Lukman said in an interview he granted Punch.
What I really need are two things: One is immediate. The other is procedural.
“The immediate one is a police report to enable the mortuary collect the corpse. The second, procedurally, is justice over the death of the boy. I want those responsible to be fished out. To be brought to book. To serve as a deterrent to committing such act. These youths are the future leaders of Nigeria…..”
Lukman said the policeman who pulled the trigger was a bloodthirsty, trigger-happy one.
“The act was carried out willfully after the policeman said he was going to kill somebody here today. And he actually killed somebody. That was the statement from the mouth of the man that fired the shot. He thereafter shot in the air and two stray bullets were directed at the crowd”, he said.
Lukman said Nigeria needs “a more organised police force. A police force that will dutifully handle their jobs, that has the interest of the people at heart”.
A healthcare system in shambles
One eyewitness has narrated that Johnson could perhaps have been saved if Nigeria’s healthcare was anywhere near decent.
“When we brought him here (General Hospital), there was no Doctor on duty. Only a Nurse who touched him lightly and went back inside. When Johnson died, we took him to the morgue. Imagine that when we got to the morgue, we were asked to rent a stretcher because we were told we couldn’t just lay the corpse on the floor. Inside a federal government hospital!! We paid for stretcher, we paid for everything! Every gaddem thing!” the eyewitness said.
The Nigerian Presidency has sent a condolence message across to the bereaved.
Arrest of suspects
The police command says it has arrested the officers responsible for Johnson’s death. The alleged perpetrators are members of the Special Anti Cultism Squad (SACS).
In a Tweet, the police said: “The men suspected to have carried out the shooting of Kolade Johnson have been apprehended and subjected to internal disciplinary procedures. The CP (Commissioner of Police) has revealed their names as (1) Insp Ogunyemi Olalekan and (2) Sgt Godwin Orji attached to Anti Cultism Squad”.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, has paid a condolence visit to the family of the late Kolade Johnson.
Muazu reassured the family that justice will be done.
While receiving the police boss, Alhaji Lukman was quoted to have said: “I thought it is going to be one man’s fight, but seeing the police high command joining our family in this fight has shown that justice will not only be done to Kolade but to the entire Nigerian youths.”
Unending cases of Police Brutality
Police brutality and killings are commonplace in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, where young men are randomly stopped and harassed on the streets by police officers, on suspicion of being internet fraudsters.
An intense 3-year social media campaign calling for the reform of notorious police unit—Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)–has only resulted in lukewarm action from the presidency.