Outrage as Nigerians react to police denial of killing of Ogbomosho bystander

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By Ibiyemi Mathew

Nigerians have reacted to the refutal of the killing of Jimoh Isiaq, a bystander at the EndSars protest held in Ogbomosho by the Oyo state police command.

Jimoh Isihaq, a bystander was shot and killed in Ogbomoso in Oyo State, southwest Nigeria, on Saturday by suspected policemen dispersing #EndSARS protesters.

Pictures shared on Twitter showed him standing by the roadside, many metres away from the policemen and unarmed.

In a response to the allegation, the Oyo State Police Command denied reports that the police allegedly shot and killed one of the protesters of ENDSARS protest in Ogbomoso on Saturday.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Nwachukwu Enwonwu, made the clarification, in a statement signed by the command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Fadeyi Gbenga, and made available to newsmen.

According to the statement, the Police did not fire a shot or kill any protester as widely circulated as the CP in his earlier press release, had sought for collaborations of parents/guardian, religious and community leaders, leaders of thought to wade in and appeal to the angry youths to exercise patience, give the Police Command some time to properly reform SARS.

The statement read in part: “The attention of the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command, CP. Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu, has been drawn to the trending story/video that has been widely circulated on Social media today 10/10/2020 that Police killed a protester in  Ogbomoso during the “EndSARS” protest.”

“The CP wishes to state that the Police allowed the protesters to express their feelings during the protest and they were not hindered in any form until when they started throwing stones into the Police premises and attempted to gain entrance into the premises.”

“The Police, in turn, used tear gas to disperse them from gaining entrance into the Owode Ogbomoso Area Command/Police Station to disperse them and preventing them from gaining entrance and attacking the station.

“The Police did not fire a shot or kill any protester as widely circulated. The CP in his earlier press release had sought for collaborations of parents/guardian, religious and community leaders, leaders of thought, etc to wade in and appeal to these angry youths to exercise patience, give the Police Command some time to properly reform SARS.”

The Commissioner of Police, however, warned social miscreants/disgruntled elements to steer clear of the state, adding that, the Police in the state would not fold its arms and allow the breakdown of law and order, while he assured the people of the state to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestations from any quarters.

Enraged by the response of the Nigerian Police, Nigerians took to Twitter to call for the sack of the Inspector General of police and insisted that the police come plain to disclose the truth regarding the incident.

Here below are some of the reactions from Nigerians on Twitter;”Where did the gun come from…o yeah never knew you could make guns out of placards now!!! Lies as usual…”-@SammyWright01

“They think by killing a few people, the youths will be scared and back down?? That aint gonna work #JusticeForJimohIsaiq.” -@realdazzle

“@PoliceNG you lie. Even Satan are amazed at your capacity to lie. You shot at protesters and killed Jimoh Isaka.”-@EmmyAngley

“So who shot them??? Can people be shot using placards? Which of the two parties had guns to shoot??”-@Ifeeeeee_

“Just take a look at these people!! Even after the videos the boldness and the audacity of this statement!!!!”-@Chizefobi

“Is he trying to say the people on black with police badge and guns are not police!! Or They just testing thier guns for training!! Can they sack this man!! They be taking us for jokes in this country!”-@wolexz_tricks

Protests began earlier last week in different parts of Nigeria over continued harassment of young people by the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad – SARS. The protesters are demanding the disbandment of the unit following several reports of members of the squad involved in extrajudicial killings such as kidnapping, extortion and intimidation.

The Nigerian Government had promised on multiple occasions to reform SARS and make the squad more accountable but the promises have been nothing but empty chatters.

The inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu last Sunday banned the unit from setting up roadblocks and from conducting stop and search after a groundswell of criticisms.

Days after protests began in different parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari while appealing for calm insisted that “ vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians.”

But many protesters and Twitter users accused Buhari and the police authorities of being oblivious to the real reasons for the protests.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in a reaction, commiserated with the family of Jimoh Isiaka, a young Nigerian, who was gunned down by the police during the nationwide #ENDSARS protest in Ogbomosho on Saturday, October 10, 2020.

The governor in a statement disclosed that Isiaka died at Bowen Teaching Hospital in Ogbomosho.

He also said seven other youths were taken to hospital after sustained injuries during the protest in Oyo state.

Describing the situation as regrettable, Makinde said he has directed the Commissioner of Police in the state and relevant agencies to investigate the incident.

Makinde also said the nationwide protest against police brutality is a strong indicator of a systemic failure in the country.

The governor further questioned the essence of referring to state governors as Chief Security Officers when they do not have no power to control the police force.

While calling on Oyo state residents to remain calm, the governor urged the police to allow residents of the state to stage peaceful protest.