Two protesters at last week’s Adekunle demolition scene have been confirmed dead following gunshot wounds sustained when the police allegedly clashed with armed hoodlums.
The deceased, Ayo Bamu, and Waheed Sekomi Isaika died Friday at the emergency ward of the Lagos State university teaching hospital at Ikeja.
Mr. Bamu and Mr. Isiaka were among the fifty protesters from the Mainland Slum dwellers Association who were protesting the illegal demolition of shanties by the Lagos State Task force on environment and special offences unit, Alausa.
More than ten of the protesters sustained gun shots as armed hoodlums engaged the police in a shoot out at the demolition site at Adekunle, Yaba. Some of the victims were admitted at the teaching hospital while others were taken to other undisclosed hospitals in town.
A peaceful protest gone wrong
Agbodimu Musbau, the chairman of the Mainland slum dwellers association at Ilogbo Otto, who led the protesters said they embarked on a peaceful protest against the government’s destruction of houses and property at the slum.
“We did not provoke the police, we were on a solidarity protest and the police clamped down on us and started shooting straight into the protesters, despite the fact that we have bullet wounds, they kept us in their Black Maria and they drove us to their office; it was when they saw that we needed urgent medical attention that they took us to the hospital. I am still at the emergency ward receiving treatment from a gunshot wound on my shoulder, two others died during the weekend while some are still receiving treatment.” Mr. Musbua said.
Bayo Sulaiman, the chairman of the Task Force on environment and Special offences unit said the officers simply went to raid criminal hideouts at Adekunle when they were attacked.
“Our officers did not shoot any protesters, the officers went to Adekunle to raid criminal hideouts and on their way back, they were attacked by armed thugs led by one Kunle Bioyo who used dangerous weapons like cutlass, broken bottles and guns on our officers.” He said.
The leader of that team, retired captain Tajudeen Kuku was reportedly attacked with an axe, leaving wounds all over his body, and left in the pool of his own blood,
“Our officers had to retreat and it was officers from Panti who reinforced and curtailed the hoodlums. These hoodlums are not allowed by law to carry weapons but they used guns against law enforcement officers; if we have retaliated, the casualty would have be more, so I am sounding a firm warning to hoodlums who feel that they can carry arms against officers to desist or they will face the full wrath of the law.” Mr. Suilaiman, a superintendent of police said.
Following the killing and the demolition exercise at Adekunle, the Social and Economic Rights Action Centre(SERAC) in a press briefing at the weekend said it has petitioned the governor, Babatunde Fashola, urging him to investigate the matter.
A disputed land
Felix Mouka, the Managing Director of SERAC said, “We are deeply concerned about the constant threats and arrangement by some private actors, acting in connivance with the state officials to forcibly evict Makoko community residents known as the Okobiriki Adekunle, Yaba. We wish to use this medium to notify you that the land areas pertaining to this notice is subject matter of a pending lawsuit before a Lagos High Court (Suit No M/475/2010).”
Mr. Mouka urged the Lagos State Environment Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit to cease all steps being taken to remove the affected community.
“We call on the government to investigate the shooting at Adekunle where protesters were shot; some lost their lives while others are still in critical condition in the hospital” Mr. Mouka said.