AUTOPSIES – the medical investigations of the causes of death – can be messy and grim, especially for the families and loved ones of a person violently deprived of his or her constitutional right to life.
But they are very useful scientific tools, and we must appreciate the medical staff who conduct this all-important procedure for their professional fortitude.
An autopsy report, once again, came to the rescue in the controversy surrounding the death of a 14-year-old minor, Mojisola Oyeleke, killed during the Yoruba Nation rally which took place in Lagos.
The police had claimed she died from a stab wound. But the autopsy report on her corpse signed by Dr. S.S. Soyemi of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, determined that it was caused by “haemopericardium disruption of the heart and lungs and missile injury to the chest”, another word for gunshot wound.
One wonders how the police arrived at its report that the girl was stabbed to death. Was that meant to push culpability to the protesters and exonerate the police?
This question is valid in view of the police claim that their men drafted to disperse the protesters did not fire live bullets. They also alleged that some of the protesters were armed and were firing sporadically.
This matter is simple enough now that an autopsy has been done. The bullet that did the havoc should be subjected to forensic analysis. It will be easy to determine the type of firearm that used it and the culprit will be easily identified.
The police authorities must change their predilection to tell the public tales by the moonlight about serious incidents involving losses of lives and property when such incidents have not yet been thoroughly and professionally investigated.
It will be recalled that when former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, was murdered, the authorities framed Iyiola Omisore and one “Fryo” who were later acquitted by the courts while the killer went free till date.
This is one of the factors that have led to the loss of faith by the Nigerian citizenry in the law enforcement and justice mechanisms of our country.
It not only promotes the resort to self-help, it is also responsible for the targeting of law enforcement agents and institutions by aggrieved hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests. It is obviously not in the interest of the Force.
We call on the Lagos State Government to accommodate the Oyeleke family in its usual humanitarian gesture and offer them some succour for the irreparable loss.
The Oyeleke family should also strongly consider pursuing the course of justice for their departed daughter in court to ensure that the killer is brought to justice. The police have demonstrated bias and should not be left to handle it alone.