WOMEN protesters on Monday took to the streets of Sagamu town in Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State to condemn the killing of Tiamiyu Kazeem, a footballer with Remo Stars Football Club who was allegedly killed on Saturday by operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The women, with leaves in their hands, chanted in local songs condemning SARS operations in the town. They also carried placards to express their anger and condemnation.
“We can no longer accept these killings, we are totally against SARS operations in this land,” they chanted in Yoruba as they marched in droves on the street.
The ICIR gathered that the protesters also marched to the palace of Akarigbo of Ijebu-Remo.
The protest, however, turned sour, as one person was reportedly shot dead by the police.
But the police is yet to confirm the death.
Abimbola Opeyemi, Ogun State Command Police spokesperson, confirmed the protest when contacted by The ICIR. He, however, demanded for time to get information from the field to verify if there were casualties or not when asked about the person that was allegedly shot dead during the protest.
He further accused the protesters of attempting to set ablaze the police station in Sagamu.
“I cannot confirm whether somebody is dead or not. But I know there is a protest in Sagamu and some people have advanced to the police station trying to burn down the station in Sagamu because of the issue of the footballer that was allegedly killed by the zonal intervention squad operative,” he told The ICIR.
Opeyemi who expressed surprise at the demonstrations said top officers of the police had visited the victim’s family to console them for the loss.
He added that the palace of the traditional ruler, Oba Akarigbo was also visited to explain the situation to the king.
“This morning, the police management team was already in Sagamu to commiserate with the family of the deceased. They were even at the palace of Akarigbo. All of a sudden some youths just gathered themselves and started chanting the anti-police slogan, moving from one point to the other.
“They were advancing to the police station to burn down the station, so I cannot confirm any number of casualties now. I’m trying to gather the information from the scene,” the police spokesperson added.
Speaking on the deceased footballer, Opeyemi said the accused security officer is currently undergoing investigation.
He disclosed that the police officer in question would be dismissed from the force and prosecuted if found guilty.
“He has been undergoing departmental trial. And if he is found guilty, he will be dismissed and charged to court for causing the death of that young man. So, I don’t know why some people will be violent about it.”
It could be recalled that the late Tiamiyu Kazeem, who was until his death played for Remo Stars Football Club was allegedly killed by the police on Saturday for allegedly wearing military cap. The police have since denied the claim.
The State Police Command claimed that the deceased was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and not the police.
Opeyemi said the deceased was knocked down while trying to cross the highway after his arrest. He had noted that late Kazeem was actually arrested by an Inspector attached to the Police Zonal Intervention Squad and not the SARS operative.
“A police inspector attached to Zonal Intervention Squad, Obada-Oko, in Abeokuta, was said to have received information about the deceased that he was always putting on military apparels knowing fully well that he was not military personnel.
“Based on the information, the Inspector went to Sagamu and saw the deceased putting on a military cap, consequent upon which he got him arrested.
“On the way to Abeokuta, the vehicle they were traveling-in developed a mechanical fault and while the officer was trying to rectify the fault, the arrested person jumped down from the vehicle to escape.
“In his bid to run across the road, a vehicle which was speeding knocked him down and he died on the spot,” Opeyemi stated.
The ICIR gathered that the protesters also marched to the palace of the Akarigbo of Ijebu-Remo.
Remo Stars FC counters police’s claim on cause of death
However, contrary to claims by the Police, Dimeji Oshode, Media Officer of Remo Stars Football Club stated that the late Kazeem, also known as Kaka was pushed to the coming vehicle by an officer attached to the SARS unit.
According to Oshode, the deceased was labeled as an internet fraudster despite presenting his Identity Card as a proof that he is a footballer.
“Yet, he was still arrested,” Oshode said.
He added that it was when the late footballer realised that the police were driving towards Sagamu-Abeokuta highway, rather than their earlier promise to take him to the nearest station that he raised alarm, and he was allegedly pushed out.
“The SARS officers stopped Tiyamiyu Kazeem insisting that he was a Yahoo Boy. He brought out his identity card to identify himself as a player of Remo Stars FC but the officer insisted on taking him to the nearest police station in Sagamu.
“Kazeem and Sanni followed the SARS officers, only for them to notice that they (the SARS men) were driving towards Sagamu-Abeokuta expressway. The guys asked to know where the SARS officers were taking them to, but this prompted them to stop the car and pushed Kazeem out of the car, and an unknown vehicle knocked him down,” Oshode narrated in a statement reported by The Punch.