Patrick Okohue – Benin
The family of one late Francis Idum, who was shot dead by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has called on the Lagos state government, the National Assembly and the inspector general of police to intervene over the unlawful killing of their son.
The family in a statement addressed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Inspector General, Mohammed Adamu, is demanding justice for the killing of Idum.
Late Idum, 39, who was set to marry few weeks before his death, was killed in Lagos on July 15 at Ajisegiri Street, Ilupeju area of Lagos by a SARS officer identified as Mohammed Akeem during raids on the hide-out of some hoodlums in the street.
Idum, a janitor was on his way to clean the premises of one of his clients at about 8:15 am when the unfortunate incident occurred.
However, a statement by the Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, denied Idum was killed by the officers of SARS, saying that he (Francis Idum) was shot dead during a clash by two rival cult groups in the area.
The family said efforts to get justice over the incident has since proved abortive as police authorities continue to frustrate their attempt, allegedly making illicit demand for money, adding that their brother’s corpse has since been deposited at a state morgue for mass burial.
In a procession led by rights activist and President, Paths of Peace Initiatives, Dandy Eze the family appealed to the government to intervene, while demanding the police to allow them retrieve Francis’ corpse from the morgue for a befitting burial.
The family and friends, who carried different placards such as: “We demand justice for the unlawfully killing of Francis by SARS”; “Buhari please save us from SARS killings” and Lagos assembly, please investigate Francis death” expressed disappointment in SARS, describing the operatives as careless and uncouth.
“We are appealing to the inspector general of police, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajamiamila, Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and speaker, Lagos House of Assembly to intervene in this matter and get justice for our family.
“All our efforts to get justice with petitions written to police authorities such as the Lagos state commissioner of police, AIG zone F command, Ikeja are to no avail as nothing has so far been done.
“And with this, we are beginning to raise questions if the constitutional function of the police is now to keep silence over a poor citizen that was unlawfully killed by one of its officers,” the family stated.
A member of the family, Olukayode Omotosho, who spoke to our correspondent, said “we demand the release of Francis’ corpse which has been dumped with other bodies for mass burial.
They should allow us to have his body for a befitting burial. We are tired of this high demand for money and tossing us here and there by officials of the mortuary and the police.
“The police demand we do autopsy and we have paid part of the N40, 000 requested for the test. We are being stretched beyond limit on an incident caused by the police operatives. This is unfair, yet they claim his death was as a result of a clash between two rival cult groups, which is untrue.”