Police extorted us after SARS killed my handicapped brother, man tells Lagos panel
After over one year of agony suffered by the family of the slain Francis Idum, the Lagos judicial panel on the proscribed Special Anti-Robbery Squad finally commenced hearing on the alleged killing of the cleaner by a SARS officer, Hakeem Mohammed, popularly known as Scoda.
Francis was on his way to work on July 15, 2019, when he was killed by a stray bullet allegedly fired by Scoda.
The case which had been mentioned at the panel three times, was finally heard.
The slain cleaner’s younger brother, Sunday Idum, while addressing the panel, explained that one ASP Fatai Popoola also collected N5500 from him, claiming the police would use the money to buy fuel to facilitate investigation of the matter.
He alleged, “Despite the agony we were going through, one ASP Fatai Popoola collected N5,500 from me. He claimed the money would be used to buy fuel to move around over the matter. Since this issue happened, we have tried everything possible to be heard, but the police and government neglected us because we are poor.
“Our father is currently suffering from stroke and our mother is also suffering from HBP sickness. Francis’ case had made their cases worse. He was sending money to buy drugs and cater for the two of our siblings, but since death, things have not been the same with us.”
Meanwhile, an eyewitness of the event, Elder Kayode Omotoso, who is a member of the same church with the deceased, said a police team led by Area F commander took away late Francis’ corpse after he was killed by a stray bullet from the SARS officer.
He said, “I was in my office early in the morning of July 15, 2019, when I was called on the phone that SARS men had killed Francis at Ajisegiri Street off Shyllon Street in Ilupeju. On getting there, I met his body in the pool of blood with people surrounding him.
“While I was there, people were shouting that Scoda shot him dead. They said he must come and take the corpse himself. While inspecting his corpse, we saw the shell of the bullet that penetrated his head and I picked it up.”
Elder Omotoso tendered the bullet shell at the panel as an exhibit on the matter.
He added that “a few minutes later, a police team led by Area F commander arrived the scene firing tear gas at the people. When I couldn’t bear what was happening, I had to confront the man that led them, who said he was the A area F commander. Later they moved the corpse way.
“Later, we were at Panti over the matter looking for the corpse and they told us to check a mortuary at Yaba. On getting there, we found Francis’ corpse inside a container where they kept bodies meant for mass burial. We have to part with N10, 000 before they helped us to remove the corpse into the proper morgue.
“My major disappointment in this matter is that the then police spokesperson, DSP Bala Elkana, shortly after Francis was killed, release a statement that he was killed by hoodlums engaging themselves in a shootout during a crisis.
“Having been disappointed by the police conduct, we in the church and the family tried all we could do to get justice but nothing happened. We wrote a petition to Lagos State Governor’s office, the commissioner of Police, AIG Zone 2, Area F officer. We also wrote the Commissioner of Police through Civil Liberty Organisation; we also approached the Office of the Public Defender, which helped us to write the Commissioner of Police but nothing happened until this panel was set up.”
Elder Omotoso also described late Francis, who was physically challenged with a hunchback, as a true worshiper in his church.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okwuobi (rtd), adjourned the matter till December 15 for further hearing.