Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mr. Shina Olukolu, has said that the commercial motorcyclist, Sule Ikuforiji, that was shot at Iwo Road, Ibadan on Saturday is alive and responding to treatment at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
He said the sergeant concerned in the shooting had been arrested and was in custody while the matter was being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Oyo State Police Command.
Olukolu reacted to the media report on Sunday that there was confusion at Iwo Road Roundabout to Academy area, on Saturday when a policeman allegedly shot an okada rider dead.
Ikuforiji, according to eyewitnesses, was stopped at a check-point but refused to stop, which purportedly made a policeman to shot at him, and he was alleged to have died instantly.
The news sparked violent protest by other commercial motorcyclists, who made a bonfire on the road at Iwo Road and caused terrible gridlock around the area.
But the Commissioner of Police, in a statement he issued on Sunday, said Ikuforiji was alive in the ward at the UCH and not in an emergency or Intensive Care Unit (ICU), “thereby responding to treatment while the police will pay for his medical treatment.”
But Olukolu clarified the “facts of the situation as against the fiction being circulated in the public domain on Saturday 13th July, 2019. A six-man police patrol team from Alakia Adelubi Division led by an inspector left their office on morning duty patrol, in consonance with constitutional responsibility of the police to protect life and property of the citizen. While on duty at Academy area of Ibadan, the team sighted a motorcyclist with an unusual numbers of passengers, four in all.
“But when he was flagged down for routine stop-and-search, the rider refused and proceeded. Due to the positioning of the men, the armed sentry man, Sergeant Sunday Ogunkanmi, who was the last man on the professional positioning made effort to stop him.
“Consequently, there was a scuffle and they all fell down, and the other took to their heels but the apparently already corked weapon was fired and hit the rider on the left elbow and grazed his ribs, hence he was hospitalised.
“The concerned mischief-makers, who heard the sound of the gunshot concluded that the victim was dead and therefore circulated the untrue story. A spontaneous uninformed angry mob immediately descended on the patrol team. They damaged the windscreen of the patrol team vehicle and injured two member of the patrol team.
“Thereafter, they proceeded to Egbeda Division with a view of burning the police station. But they were repelled, though three vehicles and their wind screens were damage. At the scene, all entreaties and understanding were rejected by the multitude.
“The angry mob proceeded to attack the officers and men, protecting the station with all manners of dangerous weapons and stones, thereby damaging three other vehicles’ windscreens, parts of the police station particularly the sliding glasses, and vandalised some of the offices and the charge room.
“In the ensuing melee, a member of the mob with 25 litres of petrol began to wet the police station and set ablaze part of it. In the process, he was, unfortunately, hit and lost his life on his way to hospital while others escaped and normalcy was restored. Two of the motorcycles the mob rode to the station and the petrol used, 25 litres keg of patrol were recovered.
“Meanwhile the sergeant concerned is in custody while the matter is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
“The commissioner of police seriously regrets this unfortunate incident that culminated in the avoidable destructive disturbance of public peace in Ibadan.
He, however, enjoined all and sundry to refrain from taking the laws into their hands in case of any occurrence, particularly unverified rumours “as in this case, since such uncoordinated mob action often leads to destruction of property and loss of precious lives.”
He assured residents of the state that the matter was receiving deserved attention, “while the police command will not relent in the performance of its professional constitutional responsibilities of the protection of life and property of the good people of Oyo State.”