Police investigation into the death of a young girl, Jumoke Oyeleke, who died during the Yoruba Nation rally in Lagos has confirmed that she was hit by a stray bullet.
In a witness statement obtained by SaharaReporters, the Investigating Police Officer, Onyeisi Chris Nwaolai stated that it has been established that Oyeleke was killed by a stray bullet.
The report contradicted the initial claim by the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, that Jumoke was abandoned after she was stabbed.
Nwaolai, however, said it is not clear who shot at the victim but noted that investigation into the case is still ongoing.
According to him, some of the protesters were arrested with arms and such arms have been sent to the ballistic department for a thorough investigation.
The witness statement which was taken at the coroner's inquest court of Lagos state on Monday reads: “I, SP Onyeisi Chris Nwaolai, Male Christian, Nigerian citizen, a police officer attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department, M.A.K Smith Street, Yaba, Lagos under the Lagos State Police Command do hereby depose on oath and state as follows:
“That I am the above-named person and the investigating police officer in the case of the death of Miss Jumoke Oyeleke on the 3rd of July 2021 at the Ojota area of Lagos by virtue of which I am very conversant with the issue before this coroner.
“That I was in my office on the 5th July 2021 when the case file was transferred from of Division on the death of the deceased and my Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State CID directed that I take over the file and continue with the investigation of same.
“That about eight people made statements to the police, including the mother of the deceased, Oyeleke Ofeoluwa, her employer, Tosin Oyemade.
“That investigation is still ongoing on the case but so far it has been established that the deceased was hit by a stray bullet from a yet-to-be-identified person.
“That there was a Yoruba nation protest on the 3rd of July, 2021 where there was the presence of security agents to forestall breakdown of law and order.
“That some of the protesters were later arrested with arms and later charged to court. That the head of the police team detailed to maintain peace and order in the area also made a statement.
“That the corpse of the deceased was deposited at the Mainland Yaba Morgue for the purpose of autopsy. That arms recovered from the protesters have also been sent to the ballistic department for a thorough examination.
“That investigation is still ongoing for various reports on examination of an autopsy to enable police to streamline the direction of investigation...”
SaharaReporters had reported that Oyeleke died from a stray bullet fired when security operatives were trying to disperse Yoruba Nation agitators at Ojota, Lagos State, on the said date.
The young lady, who was said to be a yoghurt seller, was hit by the bullet.
According to an older lady, Jumoke was displaying drinks in her shop when the gunshots were heard and while running, she was hit by the bullet.
She said, "We were running together, and we got to that spot; that was how the stray bullet hit her. She was beside me."
On July, 19 SaharaReporters obtained the autopsy conducted on Oyeleke.
According to the autopsy signed by Dr S.S. Soyemi of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Jumoke’s death was caused by “Haemopericardium, disruption of the heart and lungs and missile injury to the chest.”
Hemopericardium refers to blood in the pericardial sac of the heart. It is clinically similar to pericardial effusion, and, depending on the volume and rapidity with which it develops, may cause cardiac tamponade.
Agitators for Yoruba self-determination had on July 3 gathered at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota amid the presence of armed policemen and soldiers.
This was after the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, had addressed newsmen at the venue, where he announced that no rally was allowed in the state.
However, his announcement was set aside by the agitators who displayed their banners and chanted all sorts of slogans to express their determination towards the breakaway of the Yoruba Nation from Nigeria.
This displeased the security operatives at the venue who fired teargas canisters and used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
This didn’t deter the agitators who returned to their converging point and carried on from where they had left off.
Soon after, gunshots could be heard from different directions and the protesters scampered to safety.
When the situation became a bit calm, Jumoke, who was said to be displaying drinks at a shop close by, was seen lying in a pool of blood.