The Lagos State Police has arrested the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) officer who fired the shot that killed a 20-year-old undergraduate of a polytechnic in Edo State, Joseph Eidonojie-Ugbeni, PUNCH reports.
Joseph was killed by a stray bullet when the SARS officers were chasing a suspected Internet fraudster, identified as Badoo, who had parked his car and fled upon sighting the officers at the Ogoja Market, LASU-Igando Road, Lagos State.
The deceased was said to have gone out with his cousin, who he came to visit, to buy canned drinks when he met his demise.
As soon as the victim died, the SARS officers reportedly put his corpse inside the boot of Badoo’s car and drove off.
Joseph’s cousin, Friday Ojah, said that the SARS officers alleged that the victim was a cult member and he had attempted to shoot at them when they fired back.
“But it was all lies. He only had the canned drink we bought, a phone charger and a handset on him when the incident happened. The police lied to cover up their misdeed,”
We grew up and attended the same primary and secondary schools together. He gained admission into a polytechnic in Edo State, while I am still processing my admission into the same school.
Around 9.30am on Monday, we strolled out to buy a can of soft drink. We were returning home when we learnt that some policemen were chasing somebody.
We decided to go through the back of the market. As we turned back, my brother was hit by a bullet in the head and he fell down immediately.
As I tried to call for help, I saw that the policeman that shot him had aimed his gun at me. I fled the place immediately,” Ojah said.
A legal practitioner and family friend of the victim, Saheed Sanni, decried the killing, saying the policemen must be arrested and brought to book.
“Cases like this, involving SARS officers, have become rampant in the state. They kill with impunity and believe they can always get away with it. Whereas Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution protects the sanctity of human lives and prescribes punishment for violation of that sanctity. You cannot just take anybody’s life without a court order or judgment. We are taking up the case and justice must be done,” Sanni said.
PUNCH reports that the suspected fraudster, who the officers were allegedly chasing on the day of the incident, had reported at the command headquarters.
“Badoo lives in that community and is popular; the SARS officers also know him. He was not their target that day. They had actually conducted a raid and arrested some people. They were leaving when they sighted him in his car. They called his name and he quickly abandoned his car and fled. He had just returned from the bank that day. Badoo had traveled to South Africa and had recently returned to the community,” a source said.
Patrick Eidonojie-Ugbeni, the father of the deceased is demanding justice for his son.
“The Badoo they were chasing showed up on Friday at the SARS office with his lawyer and parents. I met the Officer-in-Charge of SARS as well. They shot my son in the head and they claimed that he had a gun and that they shot him in self-defence. How is that possible when he was shot in the head from behind? All I want now is that the police should release the post-mortem result and the police report on the incident,” he said.
The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the case had been transferred to the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for discreet investigation.
“The state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, has directed that the case be investigated by the homicide section. We will come out with the full report at the conclusion of investigation,” she said.