Violent protests by grieving men, women and youths in Sagamu, Ogun State, has led to the death of at least two persons, while several others sustained varying degrees of injury.
The protest was staged against the death of a Remo Stars Football Club player, Mr Kazeem Tiamiyu, aka Kaka.
Tiamiyu and his friend had been arrested by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on Saturday while he bought engine oil for his car at Sagamu.
The cops, while taking them to a police station, allegedly pushed the victim out of the vehicle.
He was crushed by an oncoming vehicle on the Abeokuta-Sagamu Expressway and was rushed to a hospital where he was confirmed dead.
Sagamu youths took to the streets on Monday as they demanded justice for the late defender and an end to activities of SARS operatives in the area.
The atmosphere in Sagamu was tense as the protesters moved from one point to the other, chanting anti-police slogans.
A witness said the group visited the palace of Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Mr Babatunde Ajayi, to express their grievances.
The protesters were also joined by a former Governor of Ogun State, Mr Gbenga Daniel, who was sighted at the palace in solidarity with the protesters and to calm frayed nerves.
Our correspondent gathered that a member of the House of Representatives representing Remo Federal Constituency, Mrs Adewunmi Onanuga, and the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Funmi Efuwape, were also at the palace.
It was gathered that the protest, which began peacefully, degenerated and turned bloody when the angry youths met resistance from a detachment of armed security agents drafted to stop them.
Apart from the two dead, three persons were seriously injured during the face-off with the police, who fired live bullets into the crowd.
Business activities came to abrupt end, as panic-stricken residents and visitors to Sagamu hurriedly fled in different directions for safety.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he had yet to be briefed on the situation in Sagamu.
Oyeyemi said the police management team paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased on Monday, adding that the team also visited Akarigbo’s palace.
The police spokeman, however, explained that after the team left the palace for the police area command in Sagamu, some youths advanced towards the station and attempted to burn it, which prompted officers to disperse them with tear gas canisters.
He said the station was also fortified, adding that normalcy had been restored.
When asked to confirm the number of casualties, Oyeyemi said, “As of now, with the information at my disposal, I am not aware that anyone died.”
The PPRO, however, disclosed that the police had completed investigation into the killing of the footballer.
He insisted that only one SARS officer was involved in the incident, adding that the inspector had been tried in an orderly room and recommended for dismissal.
Oyeyemi said the command was awaiting approval of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Mr Ahmed Iliyasu.
He said, “We have already investigated the man and tried him. We have also recommended him for dismissal. But being an inspector, it is not the CP that will approve it; the recommendation has been sent to the AIG Zone 2 for approval and as soon as it is approved, that guy will be charged to court.”
He added that the police took the decision because the officer acted inappropriately.
“First, he embarked on an illegal duty; nobody sent him there and when he got there, he didn’t deem it fit to book his presence at Sagamu Police Station.
“Also, the guy acted unprofessionally because if you arrested someone from such a long distance, why didn’t he handcuff him? So, his act of unprofessionalism led to the death of the man and that is why he will be charged to court,” he added.
Also, Ogun State Government appealed to the protesters to be calm, pledging to ensure that Tiamiyu got justice.
The state, in a release by the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Communications, Mr Remmy Hazzan, said the government would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice was served.
“The government wishes to restate that no one is above the law. Therefore, after detailed investigations into the killing of the late football star, decisive actions shall be taken against anyone found culpable, as they will face the full wrath of the law,” it added.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police, Mr Muhammed Adamu, has ordered the Force Criminal Investigations Department to take over the case.
The IG directed Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the FCID, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, to “with immediate effect, take over investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of Kazeem (Tiamiyu).”
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, in a release on Monday, noted that the IG assured that any person found culpable would be brought to book.
Mba said, “The IG has ordered the DIG in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department to, with immediate effect, take over investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of Kazeem in Sagamu, Ogun State, on February 27, 2020. The IG gave the order on Monday while reviewing daily reports of major crime incidents across the country.
“Meanwhile, 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.”