One of the bullets reportedly fired by policemen attached to the Ijora Badia Police Division, Lagos State, has killed a 16-year-old pupil at Randle Secondary School, Apapa, Emmanuel Chukwu.
The Senior Secondary School 2 pupil was said to be in front of his parents’ residence on Fadaini Street, Ijora Badia, watching some protesters when he was hit by the bullet.
It was gathered that some youths of the area had stormed the station around 8am on Sunday to protest against the rescue of a suspected female kidnapper by policemen.
The operatives were said to have resorted to shooting to repel the rampaging youths during which the Ebonyi State indigene was killed.
Our correspondent gathered that some residents had apprehended a woman for allegedly kidnapping a five-year-old girl in the community and attempted to lynch her. The suspect was rescued by the policemen and taken to the station.
Angered by the police’s action, the youths mobilised to the station and demanded that the suspect should be released to them.
They reportedly threw stones into the station when the police did not yield to their demand.
A resident, who identified himself only as Bola, stated that there had been cases of abduction in the neighbourhood without the perpetrators being brought to book.
He said the youths resorted to jungle justice because they believed that the police would eventually release the suspect.
He said, “A woman was caught with a five-year-old girl around 7am on Sunday and she was beaten up. In the process, policemen from the Ijora Badia Division came to rescue her. People took the law into their own hands because they did not have confidence in the police that justice would be done. There had been cases of abduction in this community and nothing came out of them.
“Some youths went to the station, demanding that the woman should be released to them. As they were throwing stones into the premises, the policemen started shooting. The noise of the protesters drew the attention of people living around the station. A boy (Emmanuel), who also came out to watch the protest, was shot by the policemen. He died on the spot and they carried his corpse away. They did not allow his mother to see his corpse.”
A community leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Baale of Ebute, a neighbouring community, went to the station to plead that the mother be given access to the corpse. The traditional ruler was arrested and detained.
“The baale was later released on Monday. The police bullet killed the boy; but they will try to cover it up. Justice must prevail. As a stakeholder in the community, I will not watch while injustice thrives,” he added.
The deceased’s mother, Ijeoma Chukwu, said she was immersed in domestic chores in their compound when she was told that Emmanuel had been shot.
She said her son was woken up by the noise of the crowd who paraded the suspected kidnapper around the community.
“He rushed out to the front of our house while I went to the backyard to do the dishes. After a few minutes, neighbours rushed in to tell me that my son had been killed by the police.
“I rushed out and saw the police taking his corpse to the station and ran after them. On getting to the station, I told them that I was his mother and pleaded that they should allow me to see his body, but they refused and threatened to shoot me if I didn’t leave the place.
“I cried, but they didn’t listen to me until they took the corpse to a mortuary. His father has travelled for a burial in our village,” she added.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the youths had stormed the station with cutlasses, guns and explosives, threatening to burn down the facility.
He claimed that the victim was killed by the bullet fired by one of the youths, adding that nine persons had been arrested.
“A woman was about to be lynched by a mob in that area. A police team rescued the woman to the station, but the mob was not happy about it. They came to the police station with petrol bombs, guns and machetes. They were throwing stones and the petrol bombs at the police station. The policemen repelled the attack.
“One young man, who was putting on a red shirt with an inscription ‘Ema Bullet’ on it, was shot by one of the mob. The police recovered a gun from him.”
Reacting to the police claim, the deceased’s mother said his son was an easy-going boy, adding that the allegation was an attempt by the police to justify the killing.