BY BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
LAGOS — A witness in the case involving a policeman, Cpl. Abu Abolaji, who is standing trial for alleged shooting three men to death while on patrol, yesterday, told a Lagos High Court in Igbosere that seven shots were mistakenly fired by him.
The witness, Mr Yahyah Emmanuel, an inspector, told the court that he and three other policemen, including the defendant, were on patrol when the seven shots that left three men dead were fired.
According to the witness, “On October 1, 2009, I was at Adekunle Police Station when we received a distress call informing us of a robbery at Alagomeji after which four of us signed for ammunition and went on patrol. When we got there, we saw three men who ran into a car and locked themselves up immediately they saw us.
“I got down from the patrol van with Cpl. Abolaji and asked him to go find out why the men ran into the car when they saw us. After a while, I started hearing gunshots and I moved to the scene to ask the defendant why he was shooting.”
Yahyah further told the court that one of the men died instantly and the other two died on their way to the general hospital on Lagos Island.
He said: “Immediately I got there, Cpl. Abolaji said it was a mistake and the gun was collected from him by another police officer who later discovered that seven of the bullets had been fired.”
Counsel to the defendant, Mr Victor Okpala, argued that Yahyah had not seen the defendant fire the shots, adding that the defendant was on red alert.
State counsel, Mrs O. A. Akin-Adesomojo countered that the Inspector had said all he knew about the incident.
After listening to the witness, Justice Ebenezer Adebajo adjourned to October 9 for continuation of trial.
According to the charge sheet, Abolaji, on October 1, 2009, at 4, Olode Street, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos at 12.30 a.m shot at three men— Mr Ibrahim Olojede, Rotimi Philips and Friday Uti— which later led to their death, offences which contravened Section 361 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State.