Agbowa, a quiet and peaceful suburb of Lagos came into the news for a disturbing reason with the report of death of an senior police officer with the police anti cultism unit, in a raid close to Agbowa community on the 26th of October 2018.
This development led to the arrest of a former speaker of the house of representatives( LAHA), Mr Jokotola Pelumi, however, Mr Pelumi has debunked the allegations and request that Lagos state have a high powered public inquiry into the allegations against him, as he was a victim of police harassment and maltreatment.
According to some residents, trouble started when one of the police men who came on the operation was runover by the police van in the attempt by the deceased to jump into their moving van while the officers were retreating from supposedly superior firepower by the cultists.
Recounting his ordeal, Rt Honourable Joko Pelumi said he was already in bed that night, after the commotion that followed the deaths of the policeman in the afternoon and disrupting of the party going on in the community by people who ran into the venue to escape stray bullets,he retired home enjoyed the evening with his relatives who are living with him, he retired to his room, only to be roused from sleep by some noise, he stood up to see what was going on but at the door, he was accosted by an officer who hit him with the butt of the gun, and would not even allow him to identify himself. He recounted that his home was ransacked, glassware broken, his wristwatches, phones and gold jewelries stolen, monetary loss include $10,000 in an envelop, N38,000 in a purse etc.
Ironically, one of those paraded as murder suspect was a student of the state university who came to work at Agbowa as a table server during the party that was going on in community. Now, that’s a dangerous one if the issue is not properly addressed, the young man who shunned vices to work as a party waiter and earn N2,000 per day who ended up in a police custody for an alleged crime which he knew nothing about may eventually let go of innocent labour for crime.
Responding to some journalists about his ordeal, the former speaker said as a senior member of the bar, a community leader and number three citizen of Lagos at a point will not descend so low as to harbor a criminal or help a murderer escape, an allegation he pleaded not guilty to, at the courts also.
As we await both autopsy report and that of the yet to be set up public inquiry,there are questions begging for answer:
- What is the real quality of our policing?
- What are we doing as individuals, knowing that security is responsibility of all, to wade off such situations like this?
- What will it cost a state like Lagos to have CCTV in place to monitor both citizens and officials, as a deterrent to criminal activities and security back ups to unravel grey issues like this as promptly as they occur, so as not to be arresting or breaking into people’s home, especially when they are innocent. Imagine capturing machete and cudgels bearing officers on camera or being able to retrieve how the deceased officer died…
- As a country, can we afford a police force that the people will see as against them than being friendly and approachable?
Truly, the days ahead promises to be engaging as we watch the drama between Agbowa community and the Police unfold.