The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has paid a visit to the family of the driver killed by a stray bullet during the during the #EndSARS protest Surulere on Monday.
Okechukwu Iloamuazor, a 55-year-old man, was hit by a bullet allegedly shot by police officers during the protest and died on the spot.
The police denied firing shots at protesters, alleging that the driver was killed by bullets shot by protesters.
A policeman Inspector, Ayodeji Erinfolami, also died in the incident, while many others were injured during the accident.
In a statement by Gboyega Akosile, the governor visited the bereaved family at 30, Federal Road, Ebute Metta on Saturday where the family was “enveloped in gloom.”
Mr Sanwo-Olu commiserated with the family over the incident, which he described as unfortunate. He said the late Iloamuazor should not have died under the circumstance, but assured the family members that the perpetrators would be brought to book.
“On behalf of the State Government, and the people of Lagos, I commiserate with the family over this mindless brutality that led to the death of your son. We condemn endless killing of innocent citizens to the highest level. It is highly disheartening to learn that the victim, Mr. Iloamuazor, was performing his legitimate duty when the unfortunate incident happened. He hurt no one to have subjected to such pain death.
“The officers involved are undergoing orderly room trial as we speak, but we will allow the police complete their investigation. We will certainly take the case out of the police and bring the full wrath of the law on the officers who perpetrated this irresponsible act. This will be clear signal for other trigger-happy officers.
“Mr. Iloamuazor’s death is a sad loss not only for the family but to the entire citizenry that has clamoured for an end to police brutality. I assure you that his death won’t be in vain and the case will not be swept under the carpet. This is going to be the beginning of real change that people want to see in law enforcement.”
The state governor earlier said four policemen who opened fire on the protesters in Surulere had been identified by the police authorities and are currently undergoing orderly room trial at the Lagos State Police Command.
The officers are; Inspector Bagou Michael; Inspector Ekpoudom Etop; Sgt Nnamdi Majura & Sgt. Akinyemi Benson.
During the visit, Mr Sanwo-Olu assured the bereaved family that the state government would take the officers’ punishment beyond the established disciplinary guidelines of the police.
He reiterated that his administration remained on the side of those calling for change in policing method. He said all those maimed or killed in Lagos in the course of the demonstration would be duly compensated, adding that the state government would honour their sacrifices by pushing for reforms that would bring about a policing system that will uphold rights of the citizens.
“As a Government, we have stood on the side of the protesters and we totally believe their agitation is legitimate. We need total reform in the policing system and it is a clarion call on all of us, who are exercising powers on behalf of the citizens,” Mr Sanwo-Olu said.
The boss of the deceased victim, Sam Okafor, who witnessed how the driver got hit by stray bullet, said it was a sad occurrence.
“We were stuck in the traffic caused by the protesters who were shouting EndSARS. For more than 40 minutes, there was no movement. I wound down the windshield for fresh air, while Iloamuazor got down from the car to stretch his body. After stretching, he put his both hands into his pockets and trying to figure out where the traffic started.
“Suddenly we heard gunshot three times. The next thing I saw was Iloamuazor falling from his position. His hands remained in his pockets as he fell. I ran out of the car and screamed for help. People came and started performing all sort of things to save him. The police came to the scene and I told them my driver had been shot on the spot,” Mr Okafor said.
The bereaved family urged the state governor to ensure justice in the case, as Mr Iloamuazor’s death threw the family into a state of perpetual sorrow, noting that the deceased carried several responsibilities in the family.