Absence of police witnesses stall inquest into death of occupyNigeria protester

The coroner’s inquest into the shooting of a protester in Lagos continued, Wednesday, with two key police witnesses failing to turn up at the Ikeja Magistrate court.

During the fuel subsidy removal protest on January 9; Ademola Aderinto, 27, was allegedly shot and killed by Segun Fabunmi, a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at Pen Cinema police station, Agege, a Lagos suburb.

Cyril Ejiofor, representing the Commissioner of Police, pleaded with the coroner “to give them more time.”

The two officers have failed to come to the court on more than three occasions.

“Give us one more chance so that I can report (them) to appropriate authorities for negligence,” said Mr. Ejiofor.

Tajudeen Elias adjourned the inquest to July 25.

However, Stephen Onwe, the second police witness to testify, entered the dock to explain his role in the alleged murder of Mr. Aderinto.

Mr. Onwe, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, told the coroner that he merely received a distress call, on the day of the incident, from his duty post in the control room and passed the message to DPO Fabunmi.

“How the DPO carried out this operation is not known to me as my job does not include operation,” said Mr. Onwe during cross examination by C.R Chinweze, counsel to Access to Justice.

“I received an anonymous voice call that hoodlums had taken over Yaya Abatan junction molesting passersby.

“The voice call repeatedly called the police hotline that the situation was getting out of hand,” Mr. Onwe said.

While admitting that there was no electronic recording of both the distress call and the messages he sent to the officers; Mr. Onwe stated that any DPO receiving a distress call “is expected to act on it.”

“Before that time, the Commissioner of Police directed that I should pass the information to all Divisional Police Officers to secure their division ahead of the intending strike action,” Mr. Onwe said.

Mr. Elias told the police to ensure that the absent witnesses testify on the next adjourned date.

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