Angry residents on Thursday attempted to attack the Durbar station of the Nigerian police in Oyo Town on Thursday, after a police traffic warden caused the death of two persons, witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.
Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, prevented what could have been a mob attack on the police by repelling the angry residents.
Witnesses said officers of the Area Traffic office of the Nigeria Police were on duty opposite Arena Lounge near when they flagged down a pick-up truck loaded with firewood. On the pile of firewood, were some passengers.
Upon being the stopped, the police officers asked why the driver was endangering lives by allowing people to sit on top of the firewood. He was asked to drop them all off at the check point. He did.
When asked for the vehicle papers, the driver had none. The police asked him to drive to the police station which was not up to 1 kilometer away but he refused, Muideen Olagunju, a lawmaker in the Oyo State House of Assembly, who was briefed on the incident, told PREMIUM TIMES.
One witness, Iyabo Makinde, said the driver’s refusal to yield to demand, understood as an attempt to compel him to bribe the officers, infuriated one of the wardens, identified as Mr. Jeleel.
The driver reportedly explained that he was returning from the farm and had no money.
But Mr. Jeleel commandeered the truck, and attempted to drive it to the police station. He lost control midway, and ran the vehicle into a pole.
The truck flipped and killed a passersby instantly. A second person, Jamiu, who was injured, later died at the hospital on Friday.
Mr. Jeleel was unhurt.
“But other officers who I stood with fled instead running to the aid of those involved in the accident,” she said.
“In this hard time, police are still extorting people,” a resident, Olalekan Azeez, who also spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the incident, said.
A group, Oyo Global Forum, condemned the incident and called for prosecution of Mr. Jeleel.
The group said police had to “stop corrupt, disgraceful practice of extorting citizens to avoid angry reactions from people who have had to contend with the current socio-economic situation”.
Oyo police spokesperson, Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the development Saturday morning. Mr. Ajisebutu said Mr. Jeleel and others on duty had been ordered to face orderly room trial.
A source at the Durbar station told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Jeleel had been recommended for dismissal, while other officers on duty were recommended for demotion by a rank.