Hours after 55-year-old Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo was shot and killed allegedly by policemen in Surulere, Lagos, during an #EndSARS protest, the police and a senior state official gave confusing statement on who is responsible for his death.
A man, who identified himself as Samuel Okafor, told BBC Pidgin that Ilohamauzo was his driver and that they were on their way to Ilupeju before running into traffic.
The slain driver, according to Okafor, got out of the car to ease him and was hit by a police bullet.
“All of a sudden, we started hearing gunshots from those policemen there,” Okafor said. “The bullet picked him up and he fell down.”
But the state commissioner for information Gbenga Omotoso claimed the police were not responsible for the death.
Omotoso said Ilohamauzo was killed by “hoodlums”.
“A group of hoodlums stormed the Anti-Kidnapping Unit at Hogan Bassey Street, Surulere, to free two suspects standing trial for alleged kidnapping,” Omotoso said in an emailed statement on Monday.
“They shot three officers. One of them, Inspector Erinfolami Ayodeji, unfortunately, died. The others are Inspectors Ekein Joshua and Peter Agabi.
“The hoodlums, while escaping, fired into the air. A bystander was hit.”
The commissioner also published the statement as a thread on his Twitter handle.
Contrary to what the information commissioner said, the spokesman of Lagos State police command Muyiwa Adejobi claimed those who attacked the anti-kidnapping unit were protesters.
Adejobi denied the police were responsible for the death. Like Okafor, Adejobi said Ilohamauzo was not even among the protesters.
“The protesters fired and killed one Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo, 55 years, a driver of one Toyota Sienna Bus, with Registration Number LSD 296 FX, who got stuck in the traffic caused by the blockage of the road by the violent protesters, in Surulere today,” Adejobi said in a statement.
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“It is pertinent to state that the Mracked police inspectors and Mr. Ikechukwu Ilohamauzu were hit and injured by pellets reasonably fired from pump actions/locally-made guns.”
Omotoso later deleted a couple of the tweets in the thread he published, including the one in which he claimed Ilohamauzo was killed by “hoodlums”.
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