Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Shina Olukolu, yesterday said the state police command is on top of the situation regarding the last Saturday shooting of a commercial motorcycle operator by a police Sergeant.
The police boss, who appealed to the residents of the state who are aggrieved over the shooting to sheath their swords by allowing peace to reign in the state, also said the action of the police Sergeant, Sunday Ogunkanmi, and its consequences, are regrettable.
Some part of Ibadan, the state capital, last Saturday witnessed a protest by commercial bike riders popularly called Okada riders, following the reported death of an unidentified commercial motorcyclist, who was allegedly killed by a policeman over his refusal to bribe him.
The incident, which occurred at the front of a police station around at Bishop Philip Academy, Iwo road area of Ibadan, resulted in chaos which escalated to other part of the area, as Okada riders resorted to burning tyres on the road, a development which led to obstuction of human and vehicular movement for hours
But Olukolu, in a statement he personally signed and made available to THISDAY yesterday, while narrating the crisis, said the police Sergeant, who opened fire on the motorcycle rider, is currently in custody, adding that the matter has been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department ( CID) where it is being investigated.
“The state Commissioner of Police seriously regrets this unfortunate incident that culminated in an avoidable destruction and disturbance of public peace in Ibadan,” Olukolu was quoted to have said in the statement.
He, however, described as untrue and mischievous the spontaneous news by a section of the media that the motorcycle rider was dead after been hit by the Sergeant’s bullet.
While appealing to the residents to always refrain from taking the laws into their hands in case of any occurrence, he said the motorcycle rider, Sule Ikuforiji, is still alive at the University College Hospital (UCH), and not in emergency or Intensive Care Unit as he is responding to treatment, while the police are taking responsibility for the medical care.
In his account of what led to the crisis, Olukolu said: “On July 13, 2019, a six-man Police Patrol team from Alakia, Adelubi Division, led by an inspector, left their office on morning duty patrol in consonance with the constitutional responsibility of the police to protect life and property. While on duty at Academy area of Ibadan, the team sighted a motorcyclist with an unusual number of passengers, four in all, and when he was flagged down on a routine stop and search, he refused and proceeded forward.
“Due to the positioning of the men, the arms sentry man, Sgt. Sunday Ogunkanmi, who was the last man on professional positioning, made effort to stop him. Consequently, there was a scuffle and they all fell down, and the others took to their heels, but the apparently already corked weapon was fired and hit the rider on the left elbow and grazed his ribs hence he was hospitalised. The concern mischief makers who heard the sound of gunshot concluded that the man was dead and therefore circulated the untrue story. A spontaneous uninformed angry mob immediately descended on the team, damaged the windscreen of the patrol vehicle and injured two members of the patrol team.
“Thereafter, the mob proceeded to Egbeda Division but they were repelled, even as the vehicles had their windscreen damaged.”