The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Osun State Council, has insisted that the embattled state Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode must be removed from the state over the recent shooting of Nation newspaper reporter, Toba Adedeji.
Adedeji was shot with a live bullet by a policeman attached to Dugbe Police Station, Osogbo, last week Tuesday, while covering protest against the extrajudicial killing of a resident of the state, Abiola Afolabi.
The 28-year-old Afolabi was shot by the police during a raid on the residence of his friend, Matthew Adedokun, at Zone II, Osogbo, around 1am on Monday, April 4, 2022.
After Afolabi was buried last Tuesday in Ilesa, some mourners, mostly youths had gathered at Olaiya to demonstrate against his death and alleged attempt by the state police command to sweep the matter under the carpet.
While Adedeji and other journalists were covering the protest, a team of armed Police detectives from Dugbe Police Division, led by the DPO, Mr Oyegade, shot live bullets to disperse the mourners. Bullet hit Adedeji’s thigh.
Rising from its Congress held at the NUJ Press Centre on Thursday, however, the leadership of the NUJ in the state called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba to immediately redeploy Olokode in order to put an end to extraJudicial judicial killing and checkmate police excesses in the state.
The communique signed by Bukola Elufadejin, the State Council Secretary of NUJ, revealed that the congress was presided over by the Chairman, Comrade Wasiu Ajadosu and widely attended by members across the chapel.
“The Congress, after extensive deliberations resolved as follows: That Mr Toba Adedeji, Osun State correspondent of The Nation Newspaper was hit by a stray bullet on 31st May, 2022. under Olaiya Flyover during a protest by relatives and friends of late Olamide Afolabi reportedly shot by Policemen
“That the bullets which hit Toba Adedeji, was shot by the police men from Dugbe divisional headquarters, Osogbo.
“The congress condemned in entirety what the CP said on a private radio station in Osun that Toba Adedeji sustained a mere ‘metal scratch’ injury and also agreed that whenever the CP is to appear on any radio or TV station on this issue, the NUJ leadership must be given an opportunity to appear with him.
“That the issuance of threatening statements by the state command after the intervention of stakeholders showed that the CP is unapologetic
“That the police hierarchy should supervise Osun Police command with a view to checking its raising crime profile under the watch of the CP.
“That as a result of leadership failure of the CP, there is continuous rise of indiscipline within the ranks and file. Hence, we demand that the CP be redeployed.
“That irrespective of the said medical report the CP referenced, the congress maintained that live bullets were shot at Ola-Iya during the protest that occurred Tuesday May 31, 2022 and Toba Adedeji was hit by a stray bullet contrary to the position of the CP that he sustained a “mere metal scratch” injury
“That from the foregoing, the congress agreed that members should continue to boycott police activities in the state till the command is remorseful,” the communique read.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reportedly queried Olokode over the killing of Afolabi by policemen under his watch.
In a letter referenced CZ: 7050/IGP.SEC/ABJ/VOL 145/23, the IGP asked Olokode to ‘review and respond’ to the issues , allegations and claims contained in a petition sent to his office on Afolabi’s death.
A petition had been directed to the IGP by a legal practitioner, Mr Muftau Abiodun, where the family of the deceased accused the police of unlawfully and gruesomely killing Afolabi.
The family member accused Olokode of attempting to cover up and compromise investigations on the matter. The family asked the IGP to take over the case and order discreet investigations on the matter with a view to bringing the culprits to book.
The Osun State Police Command has been enmeshed in pockets of extrajudicial killing and brutality in the state.
A traditional ruler in the state, the Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Ayotunde Olabomi had accused the Osun CP, Olokode of shielding the riot policemen that shot and killed his nephew, Saheed Olabomi last year in Osogbo.
In the same vein, in December 2021, there was pandemonium in the Ota Efun area of Osogbo, Osun State on following the killing of a rig operator, Kabir Bapai, by a policeman from Olokode’s command
The trigger-happy policeman was also accused of shooting and injuring on the hand, a driver, Harisu Musa, a development which led to violent reaction from the residents of the area.