The family of a 21-year-old man chased to his death on Tuesday by police officers attached to Osun Joint Task Force in Osogbo has denied the report that he was an internet fraudster.
When our reporter visited their residence at Ofatedo in Egbedore Local Government Area of Osun State on Thursday, the family members said the victim, Idris Ajibola, was an apprentice in aluminium fabrication.
He was chased to his death by police officers while returning from Osun Mall in Osogbo where he had gone to buy bread with his three friends, they said.
“The car police saw with them belongs to the father of one of the friends. The police simply tagged them internet fraudster because of the car seen with them. My son just came back from Sagamu in Ogun State last week where he was learning aluminium fabrication,” the deceased’s father, who simply gave his name as Mr Ajibola, cried.
Damilare Opadotun, an uncle to the late Idris, said “Idris went to Osun Mall with his friends. On their way back, they noticed JTF chasing them. But as young boys, out of fear, they could not wait, until they swerved off the road.”
Rukayat Ajibola, an elder sister to Idris, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammad Adamu, and the Osun State Government to investigate the death of her brother.
“I urge the government and IGP to investigate my brother’s death. The government should do something about the killing of youth in the country.”
Following the incident on Tuesday, some youth stormed the streets in protest. They vandalised vehicles and dumped the body of Idris at Government House in Oke-Fia in Osogbo.
On Wednesday, the youth continued the protest by burning tyres on major roads in Osogbo.
While the police teargassed the protesters in Ofatedo, many officers were also attacked by the angry youth.
The spokesperson of the police in Osun, Yemisi Opalola, said three officers sustained injuries and were treated at the police hospital in Osogbo.
Mrs Opalola also said the police had set up an investigative panel on the matter as ordered by Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
PREMIUM TIMES quoted Mr Oyetola expressing sadness over the incident, saying “all lives matter and nobody has a right under our laws to take a life summarily.
“While we appreciate the great job our law enforcement agencies are doing to keep Osun safe, the confusion and disruption to our peaceful state capital on Tuesday needs to be investigated.”
Mr Oyetola also urged the families of the deceased and the injured “not to take matters into their hands by hurting more people or destroying properties.”
Rep threatens to sue police
Meanwhile, the lawmaker representing Ede North/Ede South/Egbedore/ Ejigbo federal constituency of Osun state in the House of Representatives, Bamidele Salam, has threatened to sue the police on behalf of the family of the deceased.
He made this known in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday evening after a visit to the bereaved family.
Mr Salam called on the Inspector-General of Police to immediately apprehend the officers whose conduct led to the auto crash that killed the 21-year old apprentice.
“It is unfortunate that many Nigerian youths are being humiliated and wasted by law enforcement agents on a frivolous pretext of fighting cybercrime. It is shocking that 48 hours after the incident, no arrest has been made of the officers involved thus fuelling speculation that the matter would be swept under the carpet like similar ones which happened in the past.
“If the police authorities fail to do justice to the family of the victim, I would have no choice than to seek justice in a court of law and ask for appropriate compensation for the family,” he said.
This incident in Osogbo happened a day after PREMIUM TIMES reported how a 20-year-old man was killed in the same state over N50 bribe by a police officer.
Nigerians on social media have continued to call for the reform of the police following incessant brutality of citizens.