Monday, 20 July 2015

Double Tragedy As Police Man Kills 2 Nursing Mothers At Burial (Photo)

The people of Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State were thrown into turmoil on Saturday, June 27, 2015, when a trigger happy police officer, attached to a traditional ruler, shot dead two women during the burial of a former headmaster, Hon. James Oshioriamhe Etu. Other mourners at the occasion  took to their heels following the  gunshots which hit Sandra Emaku and Aishitu Aliyu, both of them nursing mothers. 

Sunday Vanguard learnt that trouble started when the children of the deceased were dancing as part of the funeral. One of the traditional rulers (names withheld) who graced the occasion stood up to leave. As if  drunk, one of the police officers attached to the monarch started shooting sporadically with one hand. The two women fell to the bullets of the officer.

While Sandra was a relation of the deceased headmaster, Aishatu, who is not from that community, came to mourn with  her friend, Christiana Adams,  a daughter of the deceased. The burial ceremony ended abruptly.

Angry youths attacked the police officer but the intervention of the Chairman of the LGA, Mr Emmanuel Momoh; John Akigbe; and other leaders in  the area saved him, even as he  was disarmed immediately by the  members of a vigilante group at the burial.  Edo State Police Commissioner described the incident as accidental discharge, saying however that the suspect had been arrested and will face the law accordingly.

Sporadic shooting

The Coordinator of the Vigilante Group in Etsako Central, Mr Samson Oseghemwen, who witnessed the incident, narrated how it happened  to Sunday Vanguard.  His words: “That  day, I went there as a member of the age group of one of the sons of the father that died. While we were there, a  traditional ruler  came with so many people and there were some mobile policemen who escorted them to the place.

The police men were shooting sporadically.. When the monarch was about leaving, one of the policemen was  holding the gun with one hand and the thing slipped off his shoulder. Before he could control the gun,  two people had been shot dead. There was pandemonium and people started running in all directions. My men and I tried to protect the  police man  from mob attack otherwise they would have killed him. His gun, magazines were taken away from him and his identity card torn from his uniform, it was me who found them and returned them to the Divisional Police Officer in Fugar”.

Asked what could have led to the shooting by the police officer, he said, “I don’t think it was intentional but it was a kind of overzealous police man who wanted to please his master by shooting indiscriminately in a crowded place and holding the gun with only one hand and he was not strong enough to do so.

“The family of one of the deceased persons is still waiting for the corpse to be released for burial. The police said the case has been handed over to the state CID and that they need permission from Benin before burial can take place, but the one that died almost instantly was taken to Ogbona UBTH, she died there. I was the one that said they should remove the corpse because the UBTH in our area here refused to put the diseased in the mortuary. We conveyed the corpse back to Fugar General Hospital mortuary and, about two or three days later, her family came to remove it for burial because they are Muslims, but this one is still there for almost three weeks and nothing is happening.

“On Monday, I called the Area Commander who now told me that all the family needs do is to get a  burial certificate in Benin so that they can remove the corpse for burial from the specialist hospital in Irrua.  With the corpse  in the mortuary, tension is building up; the earlier the corpse is buried the better for us and we want  a  cordial relationship with security agents. The sad thing is that this young lady from Fugar just delivered a baby barely two months ago and she has  four other  children. So it is sad, very sad”.


Christiana Adams, whose father was being buried, regreted that the incident took  the life of her friend, Aisatu. “When we were dancing, the monarch,  escorted by some mobile police men, was even dancing with us, when we heard people shouting, ‘he has killed her! he has killed her’!. When I ran to the scene, people were running. Some persons were protecting the police man so that he will not be beaten, that is all I could remember before I fainted”. Asked how she felt when she woke up to find out that her friend was one of the victims, she wept profusely. She stated: “The incident was like a film; we could not even continue with the burial of my father because of the problem and I even lost my best friend who came to help me. As a family, we feel bad because we couldn’t conclude the burial. My friend came from Warri  because of me, now she has been buried in Auchi, heir village. We have known each other for years and it was that Saturday that she came here. She was married with two kids.

“I have talked with the family, but because of the issue, I have not been able to go back to Warri where I am based even though she has been buried according to Muslim rites”.