© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Unarmed man shot at close range in Benin was a suspected kidnapper, Police explain
A video clip went viral on the social media on Tuesday showing security agents − initially thought to be policemen − shooting a man at close range, but the Nigeria police have explained that the man was a suspected kidnapper.
The incident which was said to have occurred in Benin, Edo State, was captured on camera by a bystander who then uploaded the video on the social media.
The video showed some men lying flat on the ground with the security operatives pointing their guns at them, while another of the security men was seen dragging a third man towards where the others were lying down, a voice was heard shouting an order “fire am” and a gunshot sound was heard, shooting him at close range.
The terrified bystander that was capturing the event, apparently without the notice of the security operatives, could be heard whimpering “Jesus” as the man that was shot lay on the ground.
Reacting to the video, the police through its Twitter handle said the incident was being investigated and that anyone with valuable information should get across to the authorities via their social media platforms.
“We’ve viewed a viral video purported to be Police officers and an alleged gunshot sound. Video said to be the shooting of an unarmed man in Benin-City today. Investigation has been launched, tracking No. PCRRU908001. Please contact us if you’ve additional info,” the tweet read.
However, later on Tuesday, at about 9:21 pm, the police tweeted that the incident had been looked into and that the operatives in the video were not policemen.
“It has been established that the armed men in the viral video are not officers of the Nigeria Police but operatives of a sister security agency,” the tweet read.
“All the men rounded up in the video are members of a violent kidnap for ransom syndicate who were tracked down to the said location.
“Media stations in Edo state are currently giving the arrest a wide publicity.”
In another tweet, Abayomi Shogunle, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and the head of the Police Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit, explained that it is not unlawful to use firearms to arrest a suspect for a crime allegedly committed using a gun.
“If you don’t want to be shot at during an arrest then don’t use a gun to commit the crime. IT’S LAWFUL for law enforcement agencies to use firearms to effect the arrest of an unarmed suspect who takes to flight during arrest for a crime s/he used a gun to perpetrate,” he wrote.
Though the tweet did not disclose the security agency whose operatives carried out the operation, many who had commented on the video when it was first shared on Tuesday said they appeared more like men of the State Secret Service (SSS) also known as the Department of State Services (DSS).
However, Premium Times quoted Peter Afunanya, spokesman of the DSS, as saying that though he has not seen the video, the men narrated in the video could not have been DSS personnel.
“I haven’t seen such video, but it is not DSS. It couldn’t have been, we don’t operate like that. DSS operates within the law, we are not rascally,” Afunanya was quoted as saying.