James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Controversy has surrounded the death of a pregnant woman (name withheld) in Ibiade, the headquarters of Ogun Waterside local government area of Ogun State, as youths of the community alleged that policemen delayed the pregnant woman for hours while she was being taken to hospital for delivery.
But police denied the allegation, saying that they only stopped the woman to ascertain that she was not being kidnapped.
The youths alleged that the policemen at checkpoint reportedly delayed a motorcycle carrying the pregnant woman to the hospital for hour because the motorcyclist refused to give them money.
It was further learnt that the police officers allegedly hit the pregnant woman on the head with torchlight when she was being taken to a hospital where she was supposed to deliver her baby.
The death of the pregnant woman led to protest by youths of the community who threatened to burn down police station in the community, but it took the intervention of the traditional ruler of the community, Alarege of Ibiade, Oba Kola Rahimi and some other eminent personalities in the community before the youths were calmed.
An eye witness, who spoke under the condition of anonymity disclosed that the Police officer numbering about three reportedly stopped the motorcycle taking the woman to the hospital for delivery.
The source added that despite the pains the woman was going through, the police officers allegedly delayed them for refusing to pay.
Also speaking, a Human Rights activist, Festus Ogun said the pregnant woman who was already in pain before getting to the checkpoint was allegedly delayed for several hours by the policemen.
Ogun added that it was learnt that the woman was harassed by the police and she was unable to make it to the hospital before she gave up the ghost.
He said, “the true situation is that earlier this morning before dawn, the woman was in labour and she was already bleeding profusely and been taken to the hospital.
“On the way to the hospital, the motorcycle carrying her was stopped by officers of the Nigeria Police Force, she was delayed for hours and it was that delay that led to the death of the woman.
“The matter is that the woman was in serious labour and the policemen were saying because of the lockdown or whatever reason they deliberately delayed the woman and led to the unfortunate death of the woman.
“The woman died with the baby in her , so thereafter the corpse of the woman was taken to the king’s palace, I think she died in between the checkpoint and the hospital.
“In fact, there were threats that the police station will be burnt down. It took the interventions og the traditional ruler of the community, the Alarege of Ibiade and eminent personalities to bring the situation under control.”
Ogun maintained that justice must prevailed and the officers involved must be punished.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi denied the allegation that the police was responsible for the death of the pregnant woman.
He explained that the pregnant woman was only delayed for few minutes so as to be sure she was not kidnapped.
According to him, the fact is that the person carried a pregnant woman on a motorcycle, during midnight, policemen who were enforcing curfew, stopped them and asked them where they were going and they said that the woman was in labor and they are taking her to a hospital.
He further said, “the officers asked them why that time and they said that the woman is bleeding, so the officers asked them to go to the hospital, about 10 or 15 minutes later, the woman died during labor, maybe she had lost a lot of blood before they decide on taking her to the hospital, she hasn’t even given birth before she died, so those people came back and said that the policemen that stopped them at the checkpoint delayed them from getting to the hospital earlier, saying that they killed her. How is that possible?
“The DPO called me this morning to inform me about the situation.
“They were stopped truly to know where they were going, and I don’t think they’ve gone beyond their power, what if they were kidnapping the woman for ritual?
“Don’t we have the right to stop them? We saw someone in the night carrying a pregnant woman, where are you taking her to? it is the duty of a policeman to question the person, and they explained and the policemen let them go.
“The delay for questioning wasn’t up to five minutes according to the DPO , he called me in the morning. Are policemen not human beings? That they would now see a pregnant woman and deliberately delay her for what?”