As the Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Human Rights Violations and Related Extra Judicial Killings resumed proceedings on Thursday, one of the petitioners, Mr. Amos Adeyemi, has narrated his ordeals at the hands of the officers and men of the Nigeria Police on how he was brutalised on the 22nd June, 2003.
Adeyemi had filed a petition before the panel seeking redress for the brutality, gross violation of his human rights, gun shots fired at him which resorted to his lower jaw being chopped off.
Narrating the unfortunate incident before the panel, Adeyemi said he was traveling from Osogbo, Osun State, to Offa, Kwara State, on 22nd June, 2003 on a commercial bus along with other 17 passengers when the bus was accosted at Nigeria Railway Crossing Police checkpoint, Okuku, Osun State, by a patrol team of the Nigeria Police Force.
Adeyemi said that the journey was very smooth until they got to a police patrol team comprising six policemen and the bus was stopped by one of the policemen for stop and search.
He added: “As the bus moved, another member of the police team on the other side (later identified as Constable Olalere George with Force No. 367218PC) fired gun shots at the bus and wounded 7 out of the 18 passengers.
“The gunshots entered the bus from the back, shattered the back and front glasses of the bus, hit my head from the back and came out through the mouth, and in the process, scattered my mouth, lips, teeth and jaw with blood gushing out from my body.
“I fell instantly into coma and I became unconscious. I was taken to Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH), Osogbo, where I spent several days and was later transferred to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, where several surgical operations were conducted on me.
“As a result of the incident, I became permanently disfigured as I have lost my lower lip, lower jaw and some teeth and I can not live an average normal life. I can’t farm. I can’t do any work. Neither can I eat any solid food, talk well, control saliva nor appear in public without using a towel to cover my mouth long before Covid-19 pandemic surfaced.
“I used to be a very handsome man before the incident as evidenced in the pictures I took before the incident and tendered before the panel as exhibits.
“I prayed the panel to show mercy on me for justice as I demand the Federal Government of Nigeria, Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of police Osun State to come to my rescue by taking me abroad for further medical treatment and pay me a sum of N20 million as compensation for the pains, agonies, mental and psychological trauma I suffered as a result of the gunshots fired at me.”
Similarly, the driver of the bus, Mr. Ibrahim Olagoke, who had also approached the panel for justice on the same incident, said he filed a petition before the panel to seek redress on the pains suffered due to the tear gas fired at him and the unlawful detention of his vehicle by the police after the incident.
Olagoke had told the panel that seven out of the 18 passengers he took from Osogbo to Offa were gruesomely brutalised by the police at the event.
He said after shooting at his bus, the police officers started running away from the scene of the crime, abandoning the victims in a pool of blood to die.
Olagoke who is a commercial driver said he usually load at designated motor park, Old Garage, Osogbo and ply Osogbo/Offa/Ilorin route in the performance of his duty till the time the incident occurred.
“Apart from Mr. Amos Adeyemi who was shot in the head, seven other passengers in my bus were injured while one pregnant woman who sustained gunshots injuries in the stomach lost her life at the hospital.
“As written in my petition, another victim of the shooting was a man whose left earlobe was chopped off by the gunshots just as the bullets hit other victims in different parts of their bodies, including legs, head, ears, stomachs, sides and so on and the spot of the ugly incident was covered by the blood of the seven victims.
“I held tightly to the policeman who fired the gunshots to prevent him from escaping until a contingent of armed police officers from Nigeria Police station, Okuku, arrived the scene, teargassed me in the face, thereby making me to fall down and forcing me to release the policeman who fired the gunshots.
“And I was later taken to the station with my vehicle with Registration Number Osun XC 778 SG which I bought as a fairly-used imported vehicle at a sum of N1.9million on hire purchase.
“The vehicle was detained for 221days (equivalent of seven months and eleven days) before it was released after it had rot in the police custody. I have suffered a lot of mental and psychological trauma. I used my money to take the victims to the hospital where I spent N640,000 among other expenses.
“I pray this panel to order the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police and the Osun State Commissioner of Police to pay all I spent to treat the victims, N331,500.00 being profits that I was supposed to have realised for the days my bus was detained and award me a sum of N5million for the tear gas injuries, pains and psychological trauma I suffered as a result of the gunshots fired at my bus.”
The petitions heard by the panel for further hearing were: OS/JPIPB/19/2020 Mrs Kafayat Ibitoye & 1OR versus Osun State Commissioner of Police; OS/JPIPB/20/2020 Alhaji Fatai Oyedele Diekola & 2OR versus Osun State Commissioner of Police; OS/JPIPB/21/2020 Mr. Agboola Segun versus Osun State Commissioner of Police; OS/JPIPB/27/2020 Ibrahim Olagoke versus Osun State Commissioner of Police and OS/JPIPB/20/2020 and Mr Oluwatoyin Adetona versus Osun State Commissioner of Police.