By Benjamin Omoike
A total of 23 police officers are currently facing trial in Lagos State for various acts of brutality including murder, manslaughter and causing grievious bodily harm, according to the state government.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said, on Friday, that the state government had commenced “the work of rebuilding Lagos and ending police brutality.”
Sanwo-Olu said on Twitter that the prosecutions were to “show our commitment” to the fight against violation of human rights in the state.
Facing trial are: Inspector Surulere Irede, Sgt. Sunday Ogunyemi and Corp. Hezekiah Babatunde, all of them for manslaughter; Ogunyemi Olalekan for murder; Sgt. Gbanwuan Isaac for causing grievous bodily harm; Aminu Joseph for murder; Sgt.Alechenu Benedict for armed robbery; Sgt.Adebayo Abdulahi for involuntary manslaughter and Inspector A.Mohammed for armed robbery.
The rest include Matthew Ohansi for murder; Sgt.Segun Okun and Captain Adekunle Oluwarotimi for manslaughter and attempted murder; Adamu Dare for murder; Sgt.Mark Argo and five others for conspiracy and armed robbery; Corporal Pepple Boma for manslaughter and Inspector Emmanuel Akpodana for attempted murder.
Others are: Emmanuel Uyankweke for manslaughter; Akanbi Lukmon for involuntary manslaughter and Edokhe Omokhide for murder.
The state government has also filed murder charges against Afolabi Saka and Monday Gabriel, while Yahya Adeshina and Aremu Museliu are to be charged with involuntary manslaughter and murder respectively.
In a separate statement on the matter, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), asked the public to “keep track of our on-going diligent prosecution of these matters in the overall public interest.”
Meanwhile, in a related development, governor Sanwo-Olu has mourned dead victims of the #EndSARS protests which engulfed the state in the past two weeks.
He equally apologised to families who lost their loved ones to the crisis.
According to him: “We mourn the lives we have sadly lost across the state. To the families that we could have better protected, I sincerely apologise.
“To the police and law enforcement agencies that lost members, we also mourn them. Every life is important to us. And we do not take anyone for granted,” he said.
The governor stated that he had spoken on Arise TV on the efforts the state government was making to return normalcy to the state.
“I mentioned my call to the President after which the Chief of Defence Staff called, to assure us on helping to restore security to our state.”
Sanwo-Olu assured that Lagos will be stronger. “We will rebuild bridges, we will deliver on the good work we started on ending police brutality and providing justice.
“The unfortunate incident that happened, served as a catalyst that fueled anger and looting by thugs across the state.”
Adding that fake news and baiting was also spread across social media, further causing more chaos. “We indeed apologise for all the losses. We are working to stabilise things across the state as we look to rebuild. The state team is working with the hospitals and emergency services, to verify the details of everyone involved in incidents across the state.
“On the false report of switching off CCTV, the LCC has confirmed that what was removed were infrared car scanners. Evidence from the surveillance cameras (which wasn’t removed), will be used to aid investigations into the incident at the Lekki toll gate. An investigation panel will be constituted to probe the shooting, and all proceedings will be transparent.
“I understand that tempers are high but we are beginning to get a clearer picture of what led us to this point and I want to ask us to be circumspect to avoid further losses and triggering other sentiments. Do not encourage thugs through parody and innocent but inciteful words.”
Sanwo-Olu further pledged the resolve of the state government to work to end police brutality, saying the panel is ready to begin work. “We want to find justice and provide compensation for victims to the best of our abilities.
“We encourage the youth to provide two representatives to join the judicial panel.
“The governor implored Lagosians on the need to come together for genuine reconciliation to forge a better and stronger Lagos
“Lagos is the center of excellence, a symbol of national pride and we have to protect it. It is our home. It is my Lagos, your Lagos, our Lagos. We will protect our home,” Sanwo-Olu said.