By IFEANYI OKOLIE
It was already past dinner time in many homes last Saturday. In some others, like Mrs. Olayemi Ewetan’s, dinner was just being prepared. Her children, 4 and 2, were yawning, their eyes badly itchuig for sleep. And they were hungry, at the same time.
The mother knew she had to make haste and get the food ready as early as possibly. Suddenly, her cooking was terminated, gas having finished in the cylinder.
She quickly picked the cylinder and dashed out of their 24, Kayode Arikawe Street, Ayedade, area of Ketu, Lagos, assuring the children she would be back shortly to complete the cooking.
She waved down an okada to take her to a nearby petrol station to refill the gas cylinder.
Time was approaching 9 pm. She and the motorcyclist had not gone far when they ran into a team of five policemen t Oluwalogbon who flagged them down for not putting on crash helmets.
The policemen wasted no time in making it clear to the motorcyclists: N400 (bribe) or have your okada impounded.
As it is usual in such circumstances, the motorcyclist and his passenger began pleading with the policemen to beat down the bribe, “N200,” they told the policemen who vehemently repeated the amount.
Three of the policemen were handling the situation while the other two were on the look out for other traffic offenders. The motorcyclist soon pulled up, each carrying two persons including the driver. They first slowed down as if they were responding to the hand signals of the policemen.
What followed were gunshots by the two okada passengers directed at the policemen. Pandemonium. Everybody including the policemen, Mrs. Ewetan and passerby, took to their heels.
Mrs. Ewetan dived into a drainage by which time a bullet had caught her on the abdomen. Her relations are now blaming the police for causing her death.
Her elder brother Alhaji Babatunde Ipaye said: “My sister pleaded with them to collect N200 which the motorcyclist offered, but the policemen refused. Instead, they ordered them to get down and started rolling the bike away from the road. My sister, according to a trader close to the junction, even begged the policemen that her children were hungry. But all that fell on deaf ears. The woman said my sister contemplated leaving but changed her mind because of the kind -hearted person she is.
“The trader who related to us how it all happened, said she was with my sister when they heard gun shots from nowhere. She and my sister took to their heels. She told me that she took cover behind a commercial bus that was parked along the road until the gun shots died down?
The witness who refused to disclose her identity, fled the scene and made straight for Mrs Adeyemi’s home to be sure she got home. But she was shocked to find out that the mother of two was not yet home.
Confused, Mr Ewetan and other members of his family rushed to the scene where, they met her inside the gutter.
Continuing, Alhaji Ipaye said, “when we found her inside the gutter, we thought she could have collapsed out of fear.
But when we turned her around, we found she was bleeding from her left abdomen. We immediately rushed her to the hospital where doctors confirmed she was dead”. She was 32 years old.
At the scene of the incident, some residents accused policemen from Ketu division of always extorting money from motorcyclists. One of them, Mama Bolaji said, “it has become a routine for Policemen from Ketu Police Station to wait at this junction to extort money from motorists and motorcyclists.
Many complaints have been sent to their DPO and we have not got any reasonable response. We heard that the Inspector General of Police has banned check points, we wonder what those policemen were doing there.”Another resident of the area who gave his name as Ademola Abdulqudus, said: “The policemen resume as early as 6am and there is a particular shop at the junction which they use as an office. People caught for one offence are taken there to negotiate their way out.