The family of Kolade Johnson, a 36-year-old man shot by a police officer during a raid at his neighbourhood in Lagos, has approached the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of police abuse.
Mr Johnson, whose killing shook the internet, was watching a live football match between Liverpool and Tottenham on March 31, 2019, in his neighbourhood.
He was shot by a police officer who wore a polo shirt with Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) inscribed on it.
Although Ogunyemi Olayinka, the police officer who shot him has been dismissed from the police force and is facing criminal charges in court, the family approached the panel to seek compensation.
“He was in South Africa before he came to Nigeria. His son is in South Africa, he was planning to go and see the son before he was killed,” Nana Samuel, an eye witness told the panel on Tuesday.
“He came home during the killing of the blacks in South Africa, and he was now killed in Nigeria.”
Mr Samuel said he knew the victim for years and they related as siblings; they lived in the same estate and street in the Mangoro area of the state.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the shooting of Mr Johnson in Lagos and the outrage by many Nigerians following the killing.
Narrating the incident to the panel, Mr Samuel said it was on a Sunday and there was power failure within the estate, which made him, Mr Johnson, and some other persons go to Kingstine-Jo eatery in Mangoro to watch the football match.
“While we were there, a young lady ran into the place and was shouting, help kidnappers! We all ran to the place. When we got outside, we found a young guy living in the street with us, Ismail, who was being beaten and being dragged by two men putting on native.
“Ismail had dreads on his head and works with a producer, he was being dragged into a commercial bus.”
He told the panel that they asked the men what the offence of Ismail was but they did not answer.
“To our surprise, a man came down from the bus putting on a black polo with SARS written at the back, carrying a rifle in his hands. He then raised the rifle up and shot into air. We ran helter-skelter for safety.
“Kolade Johnson and myself, we hid ourselves at a taxi park not far from the place and Ismail was taken into the bus. The bus drove away and later stopped and he (the officer) came down again and said, you are the ones that want to die for Ismail, he pointed the gun at us.
“When he pointed the gun at my direction and Kolade Johnson, I had to change position because I was scared to death. The next thing we heard was another gunshot and a third one which entered Kolade right at the lower belt and they drove off,” he narrated.
He further told the panel that Kolade Johnson said “e enter me, I don die,” after he was shot but he thought it was a joke.
“When I turned to look at him, blood was gushing out as if a tap was opened, his jeans trouser became red. Immediately I shouted for help and some of the boys who had ran away summoned courage and ran back,” he said.
Mr Samuel said the taxi men around the neighbourhood refused to carry the late Johnson in their car because of the fear of the police.
He said they were there pleading for help until when a young man drove out of the estate and he stopped by. He carried the bleeding victim in his car to a nearby hospital where he was confirmed dead on arrival.
Mr Samuel described Mr Johnson as a jovial and peaceful person who was well-known in the neighbourhood.
He said the officer who shot the late Johnson denied shooting when he was called for orderly room trial but the video of the incident captured by one of the persons around paved way for justice.
“To defend himself, he said he received a distress call that people were smoking hemp at a filling station and also that we attacked him with woods and cutlasses. But from the video, nobody carried any weapon.”
The police officer, Mr Olalekan was dismissed, while Godwin Orji, a sergeant, who was also tried alongside the killer-cop was demoted.
Following his dismissal from the police, he was charged to court for murder.
Mr Samuel told the panel that the health of the late Johnson’s mother has been in a terrible state since his demise, because he was very close to his mother.
He added that the son of the deceased left behind in South Africa has been asking to see his father.
Wale Ademoyejo, the counsel to petitioner, sought an adjournment from the panel to allow him present other witnesses.
Dorris Okuwobi, a retired judge heading the panel, adjourned the matter till January 22, 2021.
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