Nigeria: Three Feared Dead As Sagamu Residents Clash With Police Over Footballer's Death

(file photo).
25 February 2020

Three persons, including policemen were yesterday feared dead as scores of protesters flooded the streets of Sagamu in Ogun State to register their grouse over the death of Kazeem Tiamiyu, a footballer, who was allegedly killed by officials of the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS) in the state.

This is coming as the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has ordered a Deputy-Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Anthony Ogbizi, to take over from Ogun State Police Command the probe into the circumstances surrounding the killing of the Assistant Captain of Remo Stars Football Club.

Tiamiyu, a player with Remo Star Football Club, was killed in a controversial circumstance last Saturday after policemen attached to ZIS arrested him on allegations of being a fraudster.

The deceased was allegedly knocked down by an oncoming vehicle while being taken to Abeokuta by the cops whose vehicle developed fault on the road and was parked for repairs.

Ogun State Police Command initially played to the gallery over the incident, a move that incited the residents and made them stage a protest yesterday.

The protest began on a peaceful note as the residents carried placards and green leaves, demanding the scrapping of the unit responsible, but the police were deployed to stop the protesters.

About three protesters were gunned down while others sustained injuries as they attempted to flee.

In retaliation, the angry mob were said to have targeted some policemen and allegedly killed them, just as they made to burn the police station, a move that was aborted by the cops.

The Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Zone II, comprising Lagos and Ogun States, Ahmed Iliyasu, while condemning the incident that led to Tiamiyu's death, assured that the matter would be duly investigated.

He warned that officers found wanting in the discharge of their police duties would be sanctioned appropriately.

Commiserating with the family of the deceased footballer, the people of Remoland and Ogun State in general, Iliyasu sued for calm, adding that the cops involved were already undergoing orderly room trial.

He said: "I will not tolerate any act of indiscipline, unprofessionalism, indolence and disregards to human rights and the rule of law by officers and men of the two commands under my watch.

"We assure all citizens of the two states continuous protection of life and property as enshrined in all our extant laws."

Similarly, Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, has, however, denied that the policemen opened fire on protesters, insisting that the cops resisted the use of force despite provocation from miscreants who took advantage of the protest.

"Not a single bullet was fired by policemen. I am in Sagamu as I speak to you. We have since addressed the protesters and calmed them down. They dispersed quietly. What happened is that some miscreants tried to take opportunity of the protest to cause trouble in the state.

"They were the ones who tried to burn down the police station but we dispersed them. We did not fire any shot despite the provocation from them. We know some people were trying to push the police to the wall so that they will say see what has happened.

"That was why there was strict instruction to the police officers not to use force. We have taken control of the situation. The responsible protesters were addressed and assured that the team that arrested the footballer was already in detention and undergoing internal disciplinary actions.

"We did not arrest anyone because as it is, we are applying diplomacy to avoid escalating issues. We have said it before that the policemen that arrested him are not SARS operatives. They were of the Zonal Intervention Squad and have been arrested," he said.

Meanwhile, the IG, Adamu, has ordered a DIG of Police in charge of FCID, Anthony Ogbizi, to take over from Ogun State Police Command the probe into the circumstances surrounding the killing of the Assistant Captain of Remo Stars Football Club.

A statement issued by Force PRO, Mr. Frank Mba, a deputy commissioner of police, said the IG ordered investigation into the matter after reviewing daily report of major crime incidents across the country.

"The Inspector General of Police, IG, MA Adamu, has ordered the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), DIG Anthony Ogbizi to, with immediate effect, take over investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of Late Mr. Tiamiyu Kazeem in Sagamu, Ogun State on 22nd February, 2020.

"The IG gave the order today, 24th February, 2020 while reviewing daily reports of major crime incidents across the country", it said.

The IG called for calm, assuring that justice would be done in the matter.

"The IG while commiserating with the family and friends of the deceased, calls for calm and assures that justice will be done in the matter, reiterating that any person found culpable will be brought to book.

"The IG has directed the DIG Research and Planning, DIG Babatunde Peter Ogunyanwo to visit the family of the deceased and also remain in Ogun State till the situation is calm," the statement added.

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