Barely three weeks after policemen from the Ajah Division, Lagos State, were reported to have gunned down one Gafaru Buraimoh of Happy Land Estate, Ajah, in the State, they struck again, taking another precious life of an innocent Nigerian identified as Omobolanle Raheem.
Verity News reported that a Lagos-based lawyer, Raheem, pregnant with a child, was, on 25 December, brutally shot dead in the presence of her husband for no justifiable reason, sadly enough, by the police from the same Ajah Division.
It was also reported she was coming back from church service, heralding the Christmas celebration.
The circumstance under which she was killed has been described as gruesome and brutal, attracting wide condemnation from well-meaning Nigerians.
Following the incident, which shook the nation, President Muhammed Buhari directed the police authorities to take “the strongest possible action” against the culprits already detained.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday, disclosed this in a statement.
Buhari said the incident is a stark reminder of the recurring menace of the mishandling of weapons and a wakeup call to law enforcement agencies, including the police, to ensure the full implementation of reforms instituted by the administration on the subject of weapons handling, as well as the protection of the rights of citizens.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) also issued a statement condemning the act. It said the Commission noted that the police, by its creation and constitutional mandate, is expected to protect and save lives and not the other way round.
Reacting to the incident too, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, condemned it and ordered an investigation.
The Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, disclosed the IGP’s statement on Monday.
“The IGP, who described the incident as unfortunate and sad, has ordered speedy investigation and prosecution of the officers responsible for the ugly and unprofessional act, which doesn’t portray the Nigeria Police Standard Operating Procedure and core values,” he said.
However, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, reacted by warning that the police were returning to days of brutality.
NBA Publicity Secretary, Habeeb Lawal condemned the incident, cautioning the police not to forget what led to the EndSARS protest, which shook the nation.
“The NBA is disturbed that the police seem to be back to the dark days of police brutality, and admonishes that the lessons from the #EndSARS protest should not be lost on any individual or authority.
“In this hour of grief, the nation stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and the NBA. I assure you that justice will be done in this case,” the statement read.
Speaking on the killing spree by the police, a security expert who did not want his name mentioned blamed the dysfunctional political structure for the increasing cases of police brutality and criminality.
He said the system favours the bad eggs in society that capitalise on it to cause havoc on innocent citizens.
“If you look well, you will understand clearly that the recruits in the police are vastly responsible for the larger share of police criminality and brutality that occur in the country.
“The recruitment and training process for recruits in the police system makes it difficult, if not impossible, for socially responsible and mentally-balanced individuals to be enlisted. In most cases, criminals find their way into the system.
“The dysfunctional policing in the country isn’t a problem that can be addressed overnight or even tackled by the police themselves. It all comes down to the issue of our political restructuring,” he said.
Double Standard by Police
Meanwhile, famous Nigerian social activist and skit maker, Debo Adebayo, better known as Mr Macaroni, has attacked the Nigeria Police for playing a double standard in handling cases involving their men.
Mr Macaroni was reacting to how the police were handling the killer of Barrister Raheem.
The skit maker said the police protect their men whenever they commit a crime as opposed to how they treat civilians when accused of a crime.
He said, “If it was a civilian that the police accused of a crime, even before proven guilty, you will give us their names, even snap pictures or make videos after beating them up. Keep protecting yours.
“I pray that all our oppressors will answer for their crimes against humanity one day.”