Please release my other son, mother of shot okada rider begs police

Okada riders used to illustrate the story.

The Okada Rider was shot in Ilupeju, Lagos.


The mother of Adigun Atilola, a commercial motorcyclist (okada) shot by a cop in Lagos, on Tuesday, has begged the Nigerian Police Force to release Mr. Atilola’s younger brother.

Taye Atilola said her younger son, Sikiru, 24, is in police custody in the aftermath of yesterday’s unrest, after the shooting.

“People were hiding his arrest from me (because they thought Mr. Atilola was dead).

“I just learnt of it this afternoon and I want them (the police) to release him so I won’t die of hypertension,” Mrs. Atilola said at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where the okada rider has been admitted.

We’ve been abandoned

Mrs. Atilola and other family members of the victim also said that the police, despite their reassurances, have abandoned them to their fate.

Mr. Atilola, 27, was shot at Ilupeju, Lagos, by a police officer who was enforcing the state government’s restriction on commercial motorcyclists.

The incident triggered an outrage as youth in the area, and other commercial motorcyclists, set up bonfires and blocked vehicular traffic for hours.

Mr. Atilola is still receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, of the Lagos hospital, where a surgery was done to extract the bullet.

A hospital source at the ICU said that Mr. Atilola “will make it, by God’s grace.”

The victim’s mother said there have been no lines of communication between the family and police authorities.

“We were assured yesterday by senior police officers that they will stand by us and take care of everything,” Ms. Atilola, who passed the night at the hospital, said.

“I’m surprised that today, nobody (police officer) was around,” she added.

On Tuesday, hours after the incident, when speculations where rife that Mr. Atilola was dead, police officers in about three police vehicles were present at the hospital.

However, by Wednesday afternoon, there was no police officer or vehicle in sight, except an unidentified officer who arrived in the morning, spent a few minutes, and drove away.

Police denial

The Lagos police spokesperson, Ngozi Braide, said that the police did not abandon the family, adding that the Area Commander may have also passed the night at the hospital.

Ms. Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said that the police officer involved in the incident was also wounded during the scuffle and both ‘victims’ are responding to treatment. She said the police would investigate the incident and if found guilty, the trigger-happy cop would be disciplined.

The Okada rider’s wife, Tawa Atilola, told PREMIUM TIMES that the doctor told her to be “very prayerful” to help her husband survive.

“When I got to see him last night, he was in pains, and his state was pathetic,” Tawa, who is nursing a six week old baby, said.

Victim needs blood

While the victim’s mother nurses the newborn outside the hospital’s surgical emergency ward; Tawa takes frequent trips into the ICU to check her husband’s status.

Rotimi Adejare, Mr. Atilola’s friend, who was also present at the hospital, said that the police, after signing for the surgery, were nowhere to be found.

“They (the hospital) are saying they want people to donate blood.

“I’ve been calling the DCO (Divisional Crime Officer) of Ilupeju and he has been telling me he was having a meeting with the Area Commander,” he said.

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