The family of a motorcyclist who was crushed to death in Akure, the Ondo State capital, by an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have called for justice.
This is just as the Police stated that investigation into the incident had been stalled because the NSCDC had refused to cooperate with its efforts on the killing of the second victim.
The cyclist, whose name has been identified as Yakubu Adesanya Aziz, was killed last week Tuesday due to an accident along the Damilak Petrol Station along Ondo road.
The fatal accident was said to have been caused by reckless driving on the part of the yet-to-be-identified NSCDC officer, who was travelling to Akure for an examination.
The sad death of Aziz sparked protests in Akure as angry youth and commercial motorcyclists shut down business and commercial activities in a street demonstration.
The demonstration got worse as a woman was ‘accidentally’ killed by bullets said to be fired by an NSCDC officer.
Although the NSCDC confirmed that an officer from its Abuja Command caused the accident that killed Aziz, it denied culpability in the death of the lady, who has been identified as Rita Rukewe Edowo, popularly known as ‘Mama Delta’.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Kehinde Aziz, an elder brother to the late Yakubu, narrated the circumstances that led to the death
He told SaharaReporters on the phone on Monday: "The incident happened last week Tuesday when he (Yakubu) was on his way to work around 9am. I was inside the house in Isolo area, when one of our younger ones ran in and said a car had hit Adesanya.
"Immediately, I rushed down to the scene, but they had already moved him to the state hospital and I went there to see him. It took some frantic efforts before I was allowed to see him and by that time, his condition was very terrible and I was not too happy.
"Then, I went back to the accident scene and saw the car as it was wrecked beyond recognition and I began to cry. I asked people who were around who hit my brother and they told me a Civil Defence officer did it.
"They said the officer was speeding and making a call on his phone. I was also told the officer was going for an examination. Some policemen from Fanibi went to the scene of the accident and I told them to provide the NSCDC officer before moving the car.
"People begged me that I should let them move the car to the works office, so I went back to the hospital where they requested money for drugs.
"However, when it was around 2pm, they told us at the hospital that they need to administer blood on him. I couldn’t give blood as I had gone through a lot of stress that morning. One of his friends later donated blood for him and they collected the sum of N3,500, which our mother's younger sister paid.
"Later, the doctor came back to tell us that he didn't need blood again and we should take him to the Trauma Centre in Ondo for treatment.
"I returned the receipt and collected the money, and we made frantic efforts to look for an ambulance. The driver charged us N13,000 and we gave him N7,000 upfront payment. While on the way, the ambulance developed fault in Owena area for more than 20 minutes and we bought more fuel. Eventually, we got to the hospital in Ondo.
"The nurses at the hospital told us to get a card at the rate of N5,000 and also asked us to buy a glove at the rate of N3,000, totalling N8,000. A friend got the phone number of the NSCDC officer at the scene of the accident and I called to tell him what happened and he sent us N10,000. We withdrew the money and used it to pay for what they asked at the Ondo hospital. They took him to the male ward for treatment.
"Few minutes later they came back to tell us that they could not treat my younger brother and we were told to take him down to the UTH hospital in Ife. I was disappointed and we called the NSCDC officer again that we needed money to take my brother to Ife, but he told us that he had no money with him.
"In fact, the driver of the vehicle that wanted to help us transport him to Ife asked us to pay N35,000. The driver that initially brought us said his own ambulance couldn’t travel to UTH hospital at Ife. However, we begged him to help us, and he obliged and said we should buy tyre for his car so that he can help us. I gave the man N10,000 and he got the tyre.
"Around 5pm, we travelled to Ife, but by the time we got there, my brother had died. We had to return with him to Akure. When we got to Akure, it was late already, and the ambulance driver advised us to leave his corpse in his vehicle instead of putting him in the morgue where they would charge us.
"The next day, many of his friends arrived the hospital and began wailing; he was bricklayer. The Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the governor met us there too. He said Governor Rotimi Akeredolu heard about the accident and wanted to know what happened. I explained to him and he promised they would do something about it.
"Truly, government paid for the casket and even got a parcel of land around Igbatoro area where we could bury my younger brother. On our way to bury his corpse, many people joined us on the road, including commercial motorcyclists and the CSO himself.
"Sadly, when we got to the junction of the NSCDC office, I heard gunshots right inside the vehicle that was conveying us. People started running helter-skelter and I was informed that the NSCDC officers were the ones shooting.
"Before we knew it, a woman in the van which was conveying the corpse of Adesanya was hit by a bullet from the gunshots and she died. This led to a protest. The woman that was killed worked with my brother in the bricklaying business. She was one of those who carried sand.
"After the whole scenario played out, they dumped the corpse at the hospital. I called the CSO, but he told me that they were investigating. We are demanding a burial for my younger brother and the necessary justice for his killer because we are the only two boys in the hands of our 73-year-old mother.”
At the weekend, the Police confirmed the arrest of the NSCDC officer who caused the death of the late Yakubu Aziz.
Femi Joseph, Spokesman of the Ondo State Police Command, said in a phone interview that the officer was currently in custody and might be charged to court.
Joseph was, however, quick to add that the NSCDC was frustrating ongoing investigation into the case of the woman who was shot dead during the protest sparked by the death of late Yakubu.
"They were able to produce that officer who caused the death of the cyclist (Yakubu) and he is currently with us. But they have failed to cooperate with us in the investigation on the case of the other woman who was accidentally shot during the protest,” he stated.