A trained policeman misses the tyres of a taxi and shoots a passenger in the taxi instead.
The nation woke up on Tuesday morning to the news that a police officer shot Ahmed Dayo, an (National Diploma) ND 1 Accounting student of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin.
The student who was reportedly on his way to the campus to collect his identity card, sustained serious injuries after a trigger-happy policeman attached to a bullion van misfired in an attempt to shoot the tyre of the taxi Dayo was travelling in.
Of course, he must have thought that the car contained men of the underworld who had their eyes on the mints in transit; he was obviously guarding the naira notes with his job on one hand and his life on the other.
Expectedly, the incident shut down activities within Ilorin as the victim’s colleagues took to the streets to express their anger. By then, the culprit and the driver of the bullion van had sought refuge at a nearby bank which was lucky not to have been razed.
It is stupid, unfortunate, sickening, demoralizing and questionable that in 2013 A.D., some police officers lack a simple attribute as decorum. In case they have forgotten, some grave blunders they committed in the past earned us international tongue-lashing, with the attendant shame on our collective image as a people.
Already, the madness of one man, who probably is a school drop-out, has left Dayo with a broken bone on his left leg and a crushed tibia which has affected the flat surface of his right foot. Except a miracle and/or urgent medical surgery, one of the affected legs may be amputated.
Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Agboola Glover-Oshodi, said the suspect has been arrested, while the command spokesperson, DSP Fabode Olufemi, hours later, said he was yet to receive any report on the incident; a statement which is obviously a prelude to the usual cover ups.
Even though the Nigeria Police often finds itself in such mess, it has never consciously grabbed the bull by the horn. Nigerians have asked, a million times, that any member of the police rank and file who uses live bullets on tax payers, especially in unprovoked instances, be dismissed after a thorough probe. But instead, the lunatics get a slap on the wrist and then find their way back into the service, thanks to the Baba Isales (godfathers) who are always willing to intercede on their behalf.
We all have our stories. Years ago while in the university, some meters away from the Babcock University junction on the Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode expressway, a policeman flagged down the vehicle in which i was travelling . When the driver stopped, the policeman demanded to be ‘rogered’ (tipped) with a minimum of N50. The driver retorted that he had no change but would do what was “required” of him on his return trip. The officer would have none of that and insisted that the driver “drops something” or be ready to burn his time and fuel.
At that point, there was a line of cars queuing up behind us. This did not seem to faze the policeman; nor the fact that there was a storm brewing. After five to six minutes of fierce arguments, the policeman pointed to the left and yelled at our driver, “Park! Park there!” The furious driver, sensing that a larger extortion was in the offing, ignored the policeman and drove straight ahead.
Mere seconds later, we heard a huge bang and accelerating on a burst tyre, we skidded off the road. The driver struggled to steer us to safety. Once the bus stopped, every one rushed out.
The criminal policeman had shot at our vehicle to get the driver to stop!
While some of the passengers went straight into prayer mode, the rest of us – mainly young men – charged towards the checkpoint in protest. As we marched towards them, the would-be killer and his crew dashed into their black unmarked Ford truck and sped off, driving against traffic. The policemen escaped via the road leading to Ilishan town just in front of the private university.
There are countless other similar incidents which remain unreported in the media. Only heaven can correctly provide the number of deaths and permanent disability that people paid to protect us have caused and are still causing.
I used to think that the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, made it compulsory for banks to convey cash in armored vehicles. Is that order non-existent? Are police commanders making more money by endangering the lives of junior officers? Is there a case of disloyalty going on?
The IGP should without delay try some senior officers for insubordination as it appears that some of his directives fall on deaf ears. There is still a deficit of discipline under his leadership and a weak oversight will only do more damage.
What amazes me is that our officers shine superbly outside the shores of the country, while they continue to mess up back home. As it stands, the good health and future of an innocent youth is in jeopardy owing to the misjudgment of a simple situation! The lack of professionalism of the jittery gun-handler has brought shame to himself, his family and the institution he works for.
Taking another look at the scenario and assuming that he needed to use his weapon, was he too dumb to shoot with precision at the tyres of the taxi? Against the backdrop of this latest incident, is the call by Nigerians that regular re-training be carried out not justified?
To Mr. IGP, is this one of the kind of men you deploy to face the ruthless Boko Haram? Let’s stop deceiving ourselves, abeg!
Wale Odunsi wrote from firstname.lastname@example.org