A witness during last July’s Yoruba Nation rally in Lagos on Monday told a coroner that Jumoke Oyeleke, the lady who was killed by a stray bullet at the event, died in his residence.
Banjoko Philips, a retired civil servant, said the police deployed its officers as if there was a war.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that hundreds of protesters defied security operatives presence to troop to the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos on July 3.
Ms Oyeleke, 25, was hit by a bullet after police fired shots to disperse the protesters during the rally.
But the police denied responsibility for her death, saying its officers never fired a “single live bullet.”
Heavy police presence
In the Lagos State Government Lagos State Government, Mr Philips in an affidavit deposed to the court said before the incident he “saw the heavy presence of vehicular and police personnel present everywhere on both sides of the express road, going and coming towards Ketu.
“The whole place looked as if there was going to be a war with all manner of police uniforms worn by the policemen.
“There were also police vehicles like that of the RRS, armoured tanks, pick-ups, including hot water sprayers positioned in strategic places up to the Total filling station close to where I live.”
Mr Philips said when he saw the heavy presence of the police he instructed his workers not to go outside the compound.
“Suddenly, shortly after we started hearing gunshots from all over and everyone scampering for safety. I immediately instructed my wife to lie down on the bed to avoid being hit by a stray bullet,” he said.
Amidst the gunshot people started running into our compound for safety, he said, adding that “so many people ran into our compound with some others trying to jump our fence into another compound.”
“I then called one of the people and asked what happened. He said they were being pursued by the police and their bullet had hit a girl selling yoghurt, that the girl was lying down there. I then wanted to run downstairs to check by myself but my wife prevented me from doing so.
“After the pandemonium, and there was some level of calmness, I rushed downstairs to see what happened. On getting there, I met Jumoke in a pool of her blood. By this time, the news of her death had spread and people were trooping into the compound to catch a glimpse.”
Mr Philips said someone wanted to dial the emergency lines but it was too late; Ms Oyeleke had died.
He noted that his wife brought a bed sheet to wrap the deceased body.
His graphic evidence contradicted the police official position that the body found at the rally had “dried blood stains suggesting that the corpse is not fresh. After a close look at the corpse, a wound suspectedly sustained from a sharp object was seen on it.”
During cross-examination of Mr Philips, he said the police “regularly” chase protesters into their street during demonstrations.
“It is a frequent occurrence for the police to chase down protesters to where the Jumoke shop was but this is the first time a person will be shot,” he said.