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Tension still high in Ajegunle over alleged Police killings

…as LASCO demands independent probe

By Albert Akpor

LAGOS — THE face-off between aggrieved residents of the densely populated Ajegunle in Ajeronmi\Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State and policemen attached to Ajeromi Divisional Headquarters which culminated into the death of about four youths last week is far from over as angry youth were spotted in groups yesterday ostensibly planning a reprisal on the police station.

But the police have beefed up security in and around the station as two Armoured Personnel Carriers, APCs, have been stationed in the front of the station even as Lagos Chapter of Labour and Civil Society Coalition, LASCO, is demanding an independent probe into the circumstances leading to the death of the youths.

Secretary of Lagos Chapter of LASCO, Comrade Daga Tolar, called on the police high command to transfer any DPO who has served in any division for more that four years as well as those encouraging illegal activities.

When Vanguard visited the area yesterday, commercial motorists were barred from plying the front of the station via the Ajeronmi Local Government Secretariat.

Private cars were subjected to scrutiny with the Mobile Policemen firing occasionally into the air to scare off intruders.

Residents react
But some of the residents who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity condemned what they described as “nonchalant attitude” of the Divisional Police Officer , DPO, Mr. Stephen Owoshe, whom they alleged did not handle the situation like a learned senior police officer that he is.

According to them, when it was discovered that the raid on Olayinka Street in the area by some anti-robbery squad from ‘Area B’ led to the death of one Charles Okafor, the DPO instead of managing the situation like his predecessor, absolved his men of the death.

“It was his nonchalant attitude over the matter that led to the violent protest, which would have resulted in more damage if not for the quick intervention of the ‘Area B’ Commander, ACP Kenneth Ebrison.”

LASCO seeks independent probe
Addressing newsmen, Lagos State Secretary of LASCO, Mr Tolar, said: “There is need for an immediate public inquiry into the circumstances that led to the alleged killings.”

He said the probe panel should comprise representatives of the Trade Unions and the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, adding that human and civil rights organisations, community organisations and NGOs  should be part of the panel.

According to him, “there is also need for a coroner’s inquest into the killings as well as the unconditional release of all residents arrested in the aftermath of the protest.
“We also demand the arrest and prosecution of the police officers involved in the incident.”
The LASCO Secretary also stressed the need for the Nigerian Police to relocate any officer who has served in Ajegunle for more than four years  as well as all DPOs who have allegedly been aiding their officers in “illegal raids.’’

He said the group would stage a mass protest to actualise their demands and called on the NLC, TUC, human rights’ organisations, NGOs and other well-meaning Nigerians to intervene.


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