killer cop charged to court , remanded in prison custody
By Evelyn Usman & Onozure Dania
The wailing of 11 months old Elijah Ekpo yesterday, at Jakande Estate Oke-Afa , Isolo Lagos, sprang the curiosity of other commuters at the bus-stop on whether the woman carrying him was his biological mother. The crying baby held unto the blouse of the woman , wanting to force her breast out of it. From all indication it was obvious that he wanted to be breast- fed.
Curious commuters urged the woman to find a place to sit down and breast feed the baby. Rather than heed the advice, the woman burst into tears, an action that attracted this reporter.
Her reason for breaking down was not far fetched as it was discovered that the mother of the 11-month-old baby was lying stone dead at the Igando General Hospital morgue.
Fate played a cruel role in the life of young Elijah Wednesday night at Obalagbe , in Ijegun area of the state, after his mother was added to the list of victims of the recklessness of trigger happy cops.
Her father, Mr Godwin Ekpo , a tricycle operator, was reportedly returning home from Mount of Victory Church , located in Orilowo Ejigbo , with his wife and their four children in his tricycle, popularly known as Keke Marwa , when one Police Corporal, Musefun Aremu, attached to Isheri-Oshun division flagged him to stop. It was gathered that Aremu allegedly demanded for N200 from the operator , for plying beyond the stipulated time for tricycle. But Ekpo was said to have explained that he was returning from church and that the time was just 8pm.
At that moment, his wife , Idongesit Comfort , who was with their youngest child , Elijah reportedly came down from the tricycle and showed the policeman her bible, with an explanation that she was not a passenger as assumed by the policeman but the operator’s wife.
But the Aremu was said to have insisted on getting his money. Report said Ekpo angrily gave him N50 which he refused, insisting that it was not complete .
Angry at his defiance, Ekpo attempted to enter the tricycle, with his wife following behind. But to the shock of all , Corporal Aremu who earlier threatened to shoot if Ekpo attempted to move the tricycle from the spot, made do his threat as he released a bullet from his AK 47 riffle.
Unfortunately for the couple, the bullet pierced through the skull of Idongesit , killing her on the spot.
At the sound of the gun shot, Ekpo reported turned , only for the bullet which shut out from his wife’s skull to hit him at the jaw.
Narrating what happened that fateful night, one of the children, Blessing (9), said in tears “My mummy was killed by the policeman. We were all in the keke marwawhen we heard the gun shot. Immediately , my mummy fell down. She fell on Elijah . She could not move. Blood was all over her . Elijah was crying from where he was trapped under her. My daddy was shouting ‘they have killed me ooo’.
“My elder sister was screaming, calling for help. I was the only one that went and held one of the policemen by the trouser. I was shouting at the top of my voice that ‘you people have killed my mummy. Come and take my mummy to the hospital. People who heard the gun shot rushed to where we were and brought Elijah out of my mummy’s weight. His body was covered with blood”. She burst into tears while trying to talk. But her words were inaudible.
She explained that the killer cop and members of his team immediately left the scene. The body of Mrs Ekpo was reportedly taken to the Isheri-Oshun division by sympathizers, from where it was taken to the hospital where she was certified dead,while her husband was rushed to the Lagos. University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.
It was discovered that the incident occurred barely four days after the family moved to Ijegun.
The killing of Idongesit sparked off a protest next day, where the protesters complained about the excesses of policemen attached to that particular division.
It was alleged that three days before tragedy struck, Corporal Aremu had broken a commercial motorcyclist’s skull with the butt of his gun for not giving him N50 . Two weeks earlier, he reportedly sprayed tear-gas canisters on some tricycle operators for refusing to give him an undisclosed amount.
Killer cop, arrested arraigned in court
The killer cop and members of his team have since been arrested on the order of the visibly angry Commissioner of Police , with the Isheri Oshun Divisional Police Officer queried.
28 year-old Aremu was arraigned before an Ebute-Metta Chief Magistrate’s court yesterday on a two count charge of murder and causing grievous body harm.
The prosecutor Godwin Osuyi, told the court that Aremu allegedly killed late Comfort (Idongesit) Godwin Ekpo and also wounded her husband, Godwin Sunday Ekpo , with his official rifle, AK 47, at Ijegun area of the state, at about 8pm.Osuyi, said that Aremu unlawfully shot the deceased dead , an offence he said was punishable under sections 221 and 243 of the Criminal laws of Lagos state of Nigeria, 2011.
Aremu’s plea was not taken, as the prosecutor applied that he be remanded in prison custody pending the legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.
Consequently, Magistrate Afolashade Botoku ordered that the defendant should be remanded in prison custody for the next 30 days, with the matter adjourned till October 19, 2015.
However, in defence , Aremu stated that he never meant to kill the woman, denying that he also demanded money from his victims.
He said, “We were stationed at Obalagbe when we saw the keke Marwa coming at about 12 midnight which was against the stipulated time for them to operate. When we stopped him, he refused. Rather, he hit our vehicle, in an attempt to escape. All I did was to aim at the tyres of the keke marwa . Unfortunately the bullet hit the woman from behind and also hit the man in the jaw. I never meant to kill anybody. It was just a mistake. If he had not run, I would not have fired”, he said.
But Crime Guard gathered that the vehicle the policemen stationed at the spot was properly labelled, an outright disregard to the Inspector General of Police directive that policemen should not use any vehicle that is has no inscription of the Police on it . Some of the policemen were also said to have been in mufti.