The Police Inspector-General, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered an investigation into the death of a Remo Stars footballer, Kazeem Tiamiyu, but anger is growing all over the country, including the National Assembly, over the mindless killing.
Sagamu, the town where the footballer was killed erupted in violence, as Police battled residents, and miscreants, who were said to have hijacked the protest.
Already, the IGP has disbanded the 12 Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS) following the killing of Remo Stars Football Club vice captain.
Tiamiyu was allegedly killed on Saturday after being pushed out of a moving police vehicle by Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) operatives who arrested him and were taking him to Abeokuta, the state capital.
The disbandment of the unit was announced by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Peter Ogunyanwo on Tuesday during a condolence visit with the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, to the family of late Tiamiyu.
Said DIG Ogunyanwo, “The death of your son has played a role in getting some of our zonal offices reorganised.
“Our concern now is justice for the deceased, how do we get it? If we don’t have adequate information as to what actually happened, we will not be able to get justice for the deceased and he will not forgive us wherever he is,” he said.
Governor Abiodun in his own remarks said: “Please accept our deepest condolences. This incident has caused all of us a lot of pain and it is highly regrettable and most unfortunate.
“Since this event happened, we have left no stone unturned to investigate the root cause of this problem,” he stated.
In the House of Representatives in Abuja, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has joined the fray insisting the Federal lawmakers will not accept police extrajudicial killings, harassment, intimidation and other forms of violence unleashed on innocent citizens by some men of the Nigeria Police.
The Speaker described as unfortunate a situation where some men of the Nigeria police, saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the people, turn out to be against the citizens.
Declaring open a public hearing by the House Committee on Police Affairs chaired by Rep Usman Bello Kumo, the Speaker bemoaned the recent alleged extrajudicial killing of a footballer by men of the Nigeria police in Sagamu, Osun State.
”More than any other institution of the State, it is the police force that relates to the citizens daily. In many communities across Nigeria, the Police Force is the only representative of the Nigerian state, and the connection between our citizens and the state is often defined by their interactions with the Nigeria Police.
“It is unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that the relationship between the police and many of these communities is now defined by fear, mutual antagonism and an absolute loss of faith in the ability of the police to protect and to serve.
“In the last few days, we have all witnessed as the city of Sagamu in Ogun State has been unsettled by an orgy of violence resulting from the extrajudicial killing of a young footballer by officers of the Nigerian Police.
“Citizens who gathered to protest this killing were soon themselves at the receiving end of police bullets. This is not an isolated incident. We are daily inundated with news reports of interactions between citizens and the police resulting in the injury and death of those citizens.
“Reports of police harassment of young people have become so rampant that they barely even break through the news cycle except when public anger becomes so great that it results in a breakdown of law and order.
“We can no longer stand for this, and we will not. This House of Representatives has a responsibility to speak for our citizens and we will continue to do so even when it is inconvenient,” Gbajabiamila said.
Gbajabiamila also said that although the public hearing with the theme ‘Repositioning the Nigeria Police for an Enhanced Delivery’ might come with some uncomfortable truths, the Nigeria Police should take home the contributions of stakeholders as they would be the ultimate beneficiaries.
“We cannot build people, particularly the police, in a situation where they can barely get themselves together. If I ask the police what’s the situation with the insurance of the police personnel, I know very well the likely answer I’ll get, because it will be in the negative. If you ask what is the pay or welfare package of a policeman, I know the answers we’re going to get, they’re not going to be encouraging.”
The Speaker noted that when the agencies that should protect the lives and property of the people “become predatory, they lose the faith of the public and become incapable of delivering on this responsibility.
“When the public are as afraid of the police as they are of the criminals, and perhaps even more so, the very fundamentals of our nationhood are at stake. We are confronted with an urgent need, deserving of our utmost attention and dedication.
“We must fix the Nigeria Police, restore public confidence and make the institution once more deserving of the true faith and support of the Nigerian people.
“This public hearing has been convened to examine the ways we in the House of Representatives can act to improve the capacity of the Nigerian Police to deliver on its obligations to our people.
“We cannot do that job effectively if we do not first allow for an honest assessment of our current reality. We will not achieve much of substance if we shy away from confronting the failures of recruitment and training, remuneration and welfare, responsibility and accountability that have left us with a national police force that is too often unfit for purpose.”