Christopher Oji and Lukman Olabiyi
Lagos State Police Command has arrested four police officers for alleged extra-judicial killings, vowing that the officers involved would face murder charges in court.
A statement by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana, said: “The attention of Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a video, which went viral on the social media, showing some police officers shooting two unarmed suspects, who were arrested and already in their custody. The act is against the code of professional conduct and laws guiding how suspects in police custody should be treated.
“The officers were identified as Inspector Fabiyi Omomayara, Sergeant Olaniyi Solomon, Sergeant Solomon Sunday and Corporal Aliyu Mukaila, attached to Iba Police Division’s patrol team.
“The incident happened on August 19, around 3:00pm, when Iba Police Station received a distress call from Mr. Anugu Valentine of 250 Agege Motor Road, Mushin, that he was attacked by a group of armed men numbering about four, operating on two motorcycles at Ipayi area in Iba. Valentine said his attackers dispossessed him of an iPhone Max valued at N450, 000.
“Acting on the information, the Divisional Police Officer, Iba, promptly deployed a patrol team to the scene. Two of the armed robbery suspects were arrested while two others escaped. Two locally made pistols with six live cartridges and five expended cartridges were recovered from the arrested suspects. The gang was allegedly linked to series of robbery attacks in Iba and its environs. It was a well celebrated operation by the team as the suspects were gallantly arrested.
“The team, however, went to the extreme, when they extra-judicially killed the suspects who were already in their custody, instead of taking them to the police station and allowing the normal process of investigation and prosecution to be initiated as stipulated under procedural laws.
“That act of extra -judicial killing falls short of police professional standards, and cannot be condoned by the Command. The Commissioner of Police Lagos State Police Command, CP Zubairu Muazu, has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.
“The police officers are currently subjected to internal disciplinary proceedings known as ‘Orderly Room trial.’If found culpable, they will be dismissed from the Force and handed over to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department ( SCIID), Panti, Yaba, for prosecution in the conventional court.
“Members of the public will be updated on the outcome of the investigation and trial.”
However, a civil society organisation, Rule of Law Advocacy and Accountability Centre (RULAAC) has commended the Lagos State Police Command promptly condemning and unequivocally dissociating the police from the unlawful action of four officers.
It also commended the police command for subjecting the officers to internal disciplinary processes as prelude to charging them to court to face trial. A statement by RULACC’s Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, said: “RULAAC was saddened by the unwarranted and unjustifiable killing of two of the four criminal suspects by four police officers attached to Iba Division on August 19.
“”The police officers who responded to a distress call, successfully arrested and disarmed two of the armed robbery suspects while the other two escaped. However, the officers went ahead to take laws into their hands by summarily executing the arrested suspects.
“By summarily executing the arrested suspects, the officers went beyond their duties and powers as police officers. They committed murder.”
RULAAC urged the Lagos State Police Command to remain steadfast in its exemplary disposition to discouraging, punishing and checking abuse of police powers, misuse of firearms and extrajudicial killings by officers in the command.