Nigeria: Policemen beat tricycle rider to death

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris

A 30-year- old widow, Balikis Onikoyi, has accused policemen attached to Isheri Police Division, Lagos State of beating her husband to death and dumping him in a river.

The incident happened last week Thursday when the deceased, Adam Onikoyi, 37, a tricycle rider, went to buy food for his daughter around 10 p.m. It was gathered that some policemen made attempt to arrest him, but he resisted, leading to a fight.

The distraught widow said: “My husband, returned from work around 10 p.m., just when our last daughter was crying for food. Immediately, my husband dropped the battery he was holding and went out to buy prepared noddles for her.

On that fateful day, I went out and returned home tired. I couldn’t prepare food for the children.

When our last daughter started crying repeatedly, the father went out to get her noodles. “I became worried after waiting too long for him to return. I called his phone, but got no response. I decided to go out that same night to find out what was keeping him.

It was in the process of searching for him that I was told by a neighbour that he could be among those arrested by the police during a raid in the community.” She further said: “I went back home and couldn’t sleep throughout the night.

In the morning, I went straight to the police station to bail him. I saw some family members of those arrested paying to bail their relatives. A policeman came to me where I was standing and told me that my husband fought with policemen and drowned. He said that I should go and collect his remains in the river.”

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Balikis said that she wouldn’t have known what really transpired between the police and her late husband, if not for a fisherman that witnessed the whole drama.

Balikis said: “The policemen didn’t know that when they chased my husband to the river bank, a fisherman was watching them. It was the fisherman, who phoned somebody at Ishasi to call me that policemen were beating my husband at the riverbank.

On Friday, my husband’s family members and I went to the river. And to our surprise, we saw his shoe, clothes and identity card. That same day, some of his friends protested to the police station warning the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) that he must not die.

They said that if the dies, there would be trouble in the community.” Mr. Taofeek Oladejo, the deceased’s friend said: “This is not the first time the policemen would arrest people indiscriminately in the community.

On Saturday, which was the third day, every youth in the community mobilised and went to the river in search of Onikoyi. Fortunately for us, we found his bloated body floating on the water. We retrieved his corpse and took him to the police station to show the DPO what his boys had done.

The station was locked up and the DPO didn’t come out to speak to us. Before we knew what was happening, the policemen started shooting cans of tear gas at us.

We got annoyed, and we also confronted them, because we believe that injustice to one is injustice to all. “When we brought him out, blood was gushing out from his nose and eyes. He also had a dislocation from one of his hand.

Government should come to the aid of the wife and the children. He was the breadwinner of his family.” When our correspondent visited the community yesterday, Armour Personnel Carrier (APC), was stationed at the front of the police station, while men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) were seen patrolling the community.

Another resident, who identified himself as Adetunji, said: “At least 30 youths in the community had been arrested by the police. The police knew where they are supposed to go, but they never go to such places. All they do is to go after innocent people in the community.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Olarinde Famous- Cole, confirming the incident, said that the victim was a known drug addict and armed robber.

He said: “He was about to be arrested by the police when he jumped from an uncompleted building into the river and drowned. The family has collected his remains and buried him. Normalcy has returned to the community through the efforts of police and some residents.”

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