A Magistrate’s Court sitting in Yaba, Lagos State, has remanded two of the four police inspectors initially arraigned and remanded by the court for allegedly killing a man, Buraimoh Gafaru, in the Ajah area of the state.
The suspects are Johnson Ime and Edet Effiong.
The incident which happened on December 6, 2023, at an estate in Sangotedo, Ajah, involved Ime, Effiong, Etederhi Obaseki and Harrison Ike, policemen attached to the Ajah Police Divisional Headquarters.
It was reported on January 30, 2023, that the four policemen, while on patrol on the day of the incident, visited an estate in the area, where suspected hoodlums camped in the community and the hoodlums on sighting the cops, fled as one of them was arrested.
While trying to force the suspect into their van, the hoodlums reportedly regrouped to free their colleague, and in the process, Ime and Effiong were said to have fired shots at them and a stray bullet killed Gafaru.
The deceased’s sister, Folashade Ibrahim; and an eyewitness, Adebayo Olatunji, reported to the police that a stray bullet had hit Gafaru while he was coming out of Skymall Shopping Plaza, where he went to watch a football match that evening.
On the day of the arraignment, one of the two inspectors, Obaseki and Ike, who were alleged to be innocent, protested that they had been exonerated by the Divisional Police Officer and the police provost disciplinary committee because they did not fire any shots during the attack but were being kept by the State Criminal Investigation Department.
However, the Investigating Police Officer, SP Christopher Onyeisi, had explained to magistrate Salawu why the two policemen were arraigned.
He said, “They were taken to the Ikeja provost and the two defendants, Ime and Edet, were found to have committed the offence while the other two, Ike and Obaseki, were subjected to further investigation.
“While the investigation was ongoing, we received an order to charge all of them while the case file should be duplicated and sent to the DPP.
“The police ordered to exonerate the two but the DPP said no, that we should charge all four.”
The police prosecutor, Thomas Nurudeen, told the court that the defendants, Ime and Effiong, were charged with two counts of unlawful killing with arms.
Nurudeen added that the offences contravened Section 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.
The charge read in part, “That you, Johnson Imeh and Effiong Edet, on December 6, 2022, around 10pm at an estate in, Sangotedo, Ajah, Lagos State, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did unlawfully killed the deceased, one Buraimo Gafaru, by firing him with AK 47 rifle and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2015.”
The prosecutor requested that the defendants be remanded in a custodial centre pending the DPP’s advice.
Granting the request, the Magistrate, P. E Nwaka, ordered that the policemen be remanded in a custodial centre pending the DPP’s advice.
The case was adjourned till March 22, 2023.