Residents of Eletu Odibo Street, Abule- Ijesha, Yaba, Lagos State, told PUNCH Metroon Tuesday that contrary to the state police command’s claim, a young man was indeed shot by an operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
They said the victim, who is popularly called Number One, is the leader of some street urchins (area boys) in the neighborhood.
PUNCH Metro had written a report on a 15-second viral video showing some SARS operatives in a black bus being chased by a mob, who threw stones at them.
One Charley, who posted the video on Twitter, had said that the violent protest erupted last Thursday after one of the SARS men shot the victim.
Charley, however, did not indicate the exact location of the incident.
The Lagos State Police Command had described the allegation “as a ruse,” saying the incident was not reported to the police.
The spokesperson for the command, SP Chike Oti, had said, “The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Ag. CP Edgal Imohimi, wishes to assure the general public that such an event did not happen in Yaba or in any part of the state. Also, it was not reported at any police formation within the Lagos State Police Command.
“The Divisional Police Officers in charge of Yaba and Adekunle police stations, in whose areas the shooting purportedly took place, have jointly debunked the allegation as a ruse.”
But a reader, who commented on PUNCH Online on Monday, confirmed that the incident happened on Eletu Odibo Street, Abule-Ijesha.
Our correspondent, who visited the area on Tuesday, was told by some residents that the shooting, indeed, took place and that some youths in the area staged a protest at the Sabo Police Station.
Although most of the residents approached by PUNCH Metro were afraid to give details of the incident, a commercial motorcyclist, who gave his name only as Daniel, said the policemen had an altercation with Number One and his boys on that day.
He said one of the cops was cocking his gun in the heat of the argument when a bullet discharged accidentally, hitting Number One in the arm.
He said, “There was a disagreement between the SARS policemen and the area boys. As one of the policemen was cocking his gun, it suddenly fired and the bullet hit Number One in the arm; it was not intentional. It happened on Thursday morning. All the area boys mobilised and went to the Sabo Police Station on motorcycles to protest. But I do not know the outcome of the protest.”
Another resident, a woman who sells drinks, said she learnt about the incident on Friday when she opened her shop.
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “I was not at my shop on that day. It was when I got to the shop the following day that people told me some SARS operatives came and that Number One was shot. If you want to know more, meet his men.”
Our correspondent approached the men and requested to speak to Number One, but they declined.
“He was shot by the police. That is all I can tell you,” one of them said.
Further entreaties made by PUNCH Metro to elicit more details from the men were met with aggression as another youth said, “What happened now? Did they send you to us?”
The mobile phone of the Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, Oti, rang out. He had yet to reply to a text message informing him of the exact area that the incident took place.