…Children and relations call on igp for help
By Evelyn Usman
I watched my mother breath her last. She died in my hands, after being in coma for three days, without a word on how she met her unprepared endâ€.
Those were the pathetic and touching lamentations of Godsent Oghenekewe Apkede, an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) holder in Electrical Engineering from the Lagos State Polytechnic, as he narrated how his mother, had left for church last Friday, hale and hearty, only for him to receive a call from policemen attached to Shagamu road division in Ikordu area of Lagos,Â that his mother was behaving funny.
The circumstances surrounding the death of 47-year-oldÂ Mrs Queen OmonighoÂ Apkede is shrouded in secrecy, as she was said not have exhibited any form of ill health before leaving herÂ house for Winners Chapel Church where she was undergoing a Bible School training .
But the rest is now history as her remains currently lies at the Ebute-Ikorodu general hospital mortuary , an incident that hit the bereaved family with a deadly blow and they are yet to recover from it.
The bereaved family, according to Godsent, the deceasedÂ 25-year-old eldest son, are demanding for explanation from policemen at the Sagamu road division, following their claims that the woman was rushed to the hospital in a disfigured state, with a swollen mouth and head.
The perplexed son who said efforts to get explanation from the right quarters has been dragging on, therefore called on the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to direct a full scale investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of his mother with a view to ascertaining the exact cause of her death and to bring the culprits to book.
Excerpts: â€œMy motherâ€™s death came as a rude shock to us all because she was not sick prior to that Friday. Her unprepared journey to the land of great beyond started on Friday evening at about 4.30pm , when we received a call from my motherâ€™s phone to report at the Shagamu road Police division. We called back to find out if the voice was my mumâ€™s and the voice at the other end said he was a policeman .
â€œI went in the company of my elder sister, my younger sister and a family friend and on reaching there, a policeman said, â€˜una no see am for outside?.Â Â We said no and he took us to the park under the tree where we saw our mum on the ground battered. She was breathing but could not talk. She was in coma.
The first thing we noticed was that her fore head and her mouth were swollen . We made move to take her to the hospital but could not immediately get an available car to convey her until a man who had been watching us offered to take her in his car. It was later that we discovered the man was a policeman from Alagbon.
From that Friday to Sunday, my mother could not utter any word. she was just in a still position, on the hospital bed at the general hospital, Ikorodu. At about 3pm, her breath changed and she started struggling before breathing her last. She actually died in my hand without a word of explanation of what happened to herâ€.
Asked why she was invited to the station, God sent explained: â€œMy mum is a caretaker where we reside at Odo Okereke in Odogunyan area of Ikorodu. and there was this tenant simply known as Mama Blessing who was always having grouse with other tenants. So last Wednesday, the landlord of the building who resides in Yaba, came and evicted her .
But to our surprise, on Friday, she came with two policemen attached to Shagamu road division to our house asking to see my mum and the landlord of the building . We said my mum was not at home that she had gone to church and they dialed her number, informing her that herÂ attention was needed at the station by the DPO.
When she closed from church on Friday, from where she was running Word of Faith Bible Institute(WOFBI) in Winners chapel, she left for the station.Â Â From the station, she called the landlord to say she was at the station. That is all we know. And the next thing is for us to be called to come and pick her at the station.
â€œFrom thatÂ Friday, we never went to the station because her health at that time was paramount. We only went after she was confirmed deadÂ and demanded to see the DPO.
But the policemen on the counter refused to attend to us. We also asked for the station officer and they said he was not around that he traveled . They did not even allow us to make a statement.
And even when weÂ told them what happened, one of them simply said,Â â€˜ okay, no be that woman wey oga say make we go put for park the other day?â€™ We were there for two hours without being attended to.Â Rather we were asked to come back the next day .
â€œBack home that day, youths inÂ the area became angry and accosted the tenant that called police, Mama Blessing because they blamed her for the death of my mother.Â Â The angry mob wanted to lynch her but we did not allow that. Rather, we took her to Shagamu station to avoid that and onÂ reaching the station at about 8.30pm, we were told the DPO was not around and that the Area commander had called him in respect of the case.
â€œThe DPO later confirmed to have seen our mum vomiting when he came back from patrol that Friday and instructed that she be taken outside becauseÂ she was messing the whole place.. We had a 35~ minute discussion with him and allÂ he said was that he was going to keep mama Blessing in theirÂ custody until nerves were calmed.
â€œNext day being Monday, we visited the station again and were told the matter had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department(SCID),Panti. At Panti we were asked to make statement where both I and mama Blessing were questioned. We were told they would carry out autopsy report on my mother to ascertain the cause of her death before they would know what to do next.
â€œAll we are begging is for the Police to tell us what actually led to the death of my mother. She was not sick before leaving the house that day. But when we saw her at the station, she had bruises on her as well as a swollen head andÂ mouth. We were told she was vomiting blood.
But nobody has said it isÂ what caused her death. One of the policemen said she collapsed in front of the station while another said she was vomiting before the DPO instructed she be taken to the car park where she was left without being attended to before our arrival.
â€œWe are using this opportunity to call on the state Commissioner of Police as well as the new Inspector~ General of Police to please investigate the circumstances that led to our my motherâ€™s death and bring whoever is found culpable to bookâ€, he stated.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations officer, Mr Frank Mba said a complaint was received at the station by one woman that her property was unlawfully thrown out of her apartment, consequent upon which Mrs Apkede was invited. However on reaching the station, Mba said the complainant exonerated the deceased as being part of those who threw out her belongings.
â€œ But suddenly Mrs Akpede started shouting, â€˜they are attacking me o, they are attacking me! Without any body visibly touching her. In the process, she started vomiting blood and was asked to be taken outside where she would receive fresh air.
â€œFor anyone to accuse the police of having a hand in the womanâ€™s death will be most unfair. Anyway, investigation into the death has commenced and we are awaiting the autopsy report , as that will determine our next line of actionâ€, Mba stated.