Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Mother of Isiaka Jimoh, who lost his life during the #EndSARS protests in Ogbomoso, Oyo State on Saturday, Madam Ramota Jimoh, has appealed to the government and well-meaning Nigerians not to allow her son’s death to be in vain.
Isiaka, fondly called ‘Energy’, was said to have been hit by a bullet when protesters stormed the Owode Ogbomoso Area Command/Police Station in Ogbomoso of Oyo State Police Command with the intention to register their presence in the agitation that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) should be dissolved.
But the deceased, who was rushed to the Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso after the gunshot injury, was unlucky to witness the dissolution of SARS across the 36 states and Abuja by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday, as he did not come out of the hospital alive. He died on the same Saturday and his remains were also buried on the same day in Ogbomoso according to Islamic rites.
The bereaved mother spoke when the Caretaker Chairman of Ogbomoso Central Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Mr. Seun Adeyinka, paid her a condolence visit in Ogbomoso on Saturday evening.
“The death of Isiaka should not be in vain. The killers must be brought to book. The death of my son is very painful. But I want to know why my son was killed.”
Seven other persons also sustained varying degrees of injury during the encounter with the police and are said to be receiving treatment at Bowen Teaching Hospital and Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, both in Ogbomoso.
Meanwhile, some angry youths on Sunday protested against the killing of Isiaka in Ogbomoso and made bonfire on the road to express their grievances as they demanded justice for the deceased. The angry youths were said to have protested at Isale-Ora and Owode axis of the town. But the police reportedly dispersed the protesters on Sunday as they were said to have fired teargas and also shot sporadically.
In the same vein, Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, has spoken on Isiaka’s death on his social media platform, saying: “I have received with deep sadness the news of the passing of one of our children, Jimoh Isiaka, who was shot during the ENDSARS protest in Ogbomoso. He later died at Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso. Also, at this same protest, Abdulrasaq Olawale, Oluwadamilare Gbolohunmi, and five other persons sustained injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.
“This situation is highly regrettable. I have contacted the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, and other relevant agencies, and investigations into what led to the unfortunate incident are still ongoing. I pray that God grants the parents of Jimoh Isiaka the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.
“The ENDSARS protests are a strong indicator of a systemic failure. It is a failure on the part of those who have been constitutionally empowered to protect the citizens. It again calls into question why state governors are called Chief Security Officers of their states whereas, they do not have the necessary powers to control the police force.
“I will be paying a personal visit to the family of Jimoh Isiaka and I promise to pursue the investigations to a logical conclusion. Peaceful protests are a big part of our democratic process. The right to freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed by our Constitution, and I will never support any attempt to rob citizens of their fundamental human rights.”
Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, representing Oyo North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, also described the killing of Isiaka as shocking and very disheartening, saying: “Our constitution and democracy permit freedom of speech and association. So, it is undemocratic if the citizens are being assaulted in expressing their rights fundamentally. Democratically, peaceful protests put the government in power on the right track to delivering the dividends of democracy to the citizens.
“The situation is regrettably painful and I am sure the Commissioner of Police, Nwachukwu Enwonwu, and other relevant authorities are fully investigating the very unfortunate incident with the core aim of bringing the perpetrators to justice. I wish those receiving treatment at the Bowen Teaching Hospital the soonest recovery from the various injuries sustained and also express my deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased.”