By Uju Mbanusi
*Deceased’s last words: Please don’t abandon my daughter…
Never in his wildest imagination had Bright , a barber in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State, envisaged he was going to be added to the endless list of hapless Nigerians sent to unprepared graves by trigger- happy policemen.
The barber whose saloon also served as his home, is a single father whose dream had been centred on training her two- and- half years old daughter, to the best school within his reach. But he never lived to fulfil his dream.
Bright, as gathered, had opened his saloon cum home penultimate Tuesday. As usual, he reportedly bathed his baby identified as Ebun, prepared her food and kept her under his watch when customers came in to have their hair cut.
But, the unexpected happened at about 10.30pm. According to eye witnesses, a mobile policeman attached to a company, poles away from Janet Fagbemi street, location of Bright’s shop, stormed the shop and ordered Bright to come out.
Eye witnesses told Crime Guard that Bright, who was then attending to a customer, left him and came out, oblivious of the purpose of the policeman’s mission. “As he stepped out of the shop, the Mopol shot him at close range . He continued shooting sporadically in the process of which four other persons including a pregnant woman were hit by stray bullets. From all indications, it was obvious he was drunk.
“It all started after the policeman who was on a short and T-shirt abandoned his duty post and accosted some men in a vehicle on the adjourning street. He told the men in the car to come down for a search. But they hesitated, requesting he identified himself before they would obey.
“Perhaps, their response infuriated him as he slapped one of them twice. While they were still trying to fathom what their offence was, he slapped the second man.
“Amidst frayed nerves, the men demanded to ascertain the identity of the man who assaulted them. At that point, the Mopol rushed to his duty post and came back with his gun, saying he would show them that he was just posted from Jos, Plateau,where people are killed anyhow. At that point everyone took to his heels before he went to Bright’s shop.”
How bullet hit pregnant woman
“A pregnant woman known as Ebere was in her house when she heard the gun shots. Suspecting robbers were operating, she rushed out to lock her gate , only for a stray bullet to hit her on the hand. Another victim, Nonso, was hit in the eye while the third, Tayo,was hit in the thigh”.
Bright’s last word
Crime Guard gathered that while everyone fled, Bright was left in the pool of his blood. On realising the magnitude of his deed, the Mobile policeman, later identified as Corporal Mohammed Abubakar, attached to Mopol 17, Ondo State, took to his heels.”
Even in the face of death Bright was said to have kept calling his daughter Ebun, pleading to sympathizers to rush inside his shop to ensure she was safe. When it was obvious he could not make it, he reportedly touched one of the sympathiser and said, “ please help me take care of my daughter until any of my relatives comes for her. He was said to have repeated the word twice. When he was making attempt to repeat it the third time to a neighbour he recognized in the midst of the crowd, he gave up the ghost.
“ He held my hand and appealed passionately saying, ‘please don’t abandon Ebun, no matter…’ before he breathed his last,”the neighbour disclosed.
Where are the deceased’s relatives?
As at Thursday, Crime Guard was informed that no one had come to be identified as the deceased relative.
A resident of the area revealed that “ Ebun was only six months old when her mother abandoned her. Nobody knows her mother’s name nor where she is from. We only know the deceased as Bright. We do not know his surname. He told us he was from Benue State. He did everything within his might to make Ebun happy since the mother left. He called her his little princess and carried her wherever he went.
When Crime Guard visited Ebun’s new home around the vicinity , she was seen carrying on with life unaware of her father’s whereabouts.But once in a while, her new parents said, “she would start calling out to her daddy . At that point, nobody can console her because she would be crying and at the same time, going about the whole place like one looking for what was lost. She has emaciated over night,even though we try to persuade her to eat what we all eat.”
As you read this piece, the remains of Bright, the single father who was determined to move on with life irrespective of its unpalatable experiences, lies at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital ,LUTH, Idi-Arara, morgue.
Police on the trail of killer cop
As at Thursday, nothing had been heard about the killer- cop who took off from the scene. Police authorities, as gathared, were worried about the weapon in his possession. In a bid to ensure his arrest, the Lagos State Police Command had launched a manhunt for him.
The State Police boss, Umar Manko, was quoted as saying that if the fleeing cop did not show up within 21 days, he would be declared a ‘Deserter’ and would no longer be seen as a Policeman but a ‘rebel’.
Police authorities have also called on members of the public to help avail them with information that could lead to the apprehension of the fleeing killer cop ,with a view to ensuring that justice was done.