One of the most important things we have failed to do as a people during the last 61 woeful years of Nigeria’s history is the careful documentation of the conducts of public office holders who commit untold atrocities during their tenures in office, forgetting that one day the sun will set on their on tenure and their footprint whilst in office will be left behind for memory.

It is this determination that has driven me to contribute my part in telling the story of the incumbent Lagos State Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu, who has now sealed his place in history as the worst, cruellest and the most lawless commissioner of police Lagos State ever had.

It is important to document the barbarities of this power-drunk policeman, so that by a single Google search, generations yet unborn will get to know police officers who authorised and championed brutality in Nigeria before and during what has become known as the #EndSARS Movement.

Before the peaceful #EndSARS memorial demonstration at the Lekki Tollgate where Nigerian soldiers shamelessly massacred several peaceful protesters and then stole their corpses for demanding an end to police brutality, I wrote about how Odumosu would empty all police barracks in Lagos and post them to the tollgate to face peaceful demonstrators. I equally wrote about how Hakeem Odumosu, who never appears when criminals are chased, would be available at the Lekki Tollgate to supervise the cruel brutalisation of peaceful protesters, etc. You do not have to be a genius to know what Hakeem Odumosu would do during a protest. He has now abandoned his professional calling in favour of political thuggery, and must please political criminals at the expense of the professional ethics he swore to uphold.

Like I did point out in my last essay, whenever calls for peaceful protests are made, Hakeem Odumosu releases threatening press statements, as though Lagos residents are slaves to a police commissioner who would go hungry if taxpayers refuse to pay their taxes. Odumosu’s arrogance is unspeakable!

During the memorial demonstration at the Lekki Tollgate [some now refer to it as “Lekki Blood Gate”], police acting on the directive of the Commissioner of Police harassed and brutalised unarmed Nigerians for committing no crime whatsoever.

Video footages that emerged from the tollgate showed how Odumosu’s men arrested a man who was granting interview to the press, beat up journalists for covering the atrocities Odumosu ordered them to commit, etc. The heavily armed men then walked to Arise TV crew and violently forced them to bring down their drone which the crew used to capture an aerial view of the demonstration. The harassment of the Arise TV crew and how one of the ladies in the crew was wrestled by these bloodthirsty armed men was embarrassing. Odumosu and his boss Usman Alkali Baba should both be ashamed of themselves, if they are not already vaccinated to be immune to shame.

Besides the incident involving the Uber driver, another video footage showed how heavily armed police officers acting on the orders of Hakeem Odumosu attacked a peaceful protester who tried to escape from the scene of the protest but was surrounded by about three officers who threatened to shoot if he made attempts to escape. These policemen, joined by members of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps [LNSC], thoroughly pounded their victim with sticks and their boots. It is not possible for that young man not to be hospitalised after that pounding incident.

These were the “achievements” of Hakeem Odumosu on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 20, 2021 that will form part of Odumosu’s legacy as a police commissioner in Lagos State. It is good news that the cameras captured these moments of police madness so that in the future, the internet which never forgives nor forgets anything, will always throw up these terrible images when asked to do so.

More nauseating is that Odumosu later announced that “34 suspects” were arrested by the police during the peaceful demonstration at the Lekki Tollgate. This is deceitful and sycophantic! The people illegally arrested by the police during the peaceful demonstration were not and cannot be referred to as “suspects.” The term “suspect,” in the context Odumosu used it, can only be employed when there is a commission of crime and people who are believed to have committed the said crime are arrested. In the instant case, no crime was committed and so the invocation of the term “suspect” is misplaced or used out of sheer ignorance. Odumosu has no competence to criminalise peaceful protests in Nigeria and I dare him to test his baseless claim in a competent court.

Those who, in no time, will aptly be referred to as suspects are the notorious Hakeem Odumosu and his cohorts when we eventually drag them to the International Criminal Court [ICC] for their ongoing crimes against humanity which they seem to be relishing at this time. There’s no way these violent atrocities and the reckless attacks on citizens peacefully exercising their fundamental human rights will go unpunished without being subjected to legal scrutiny at the Hague when Odumosu and his cohorts retire. The records are there in abundance including how he personally appears in protest scenes to supervise the brutalisation of peaceful protesters.

Why do Nigerian Police arms its officers with guns to venues of peaceful protests? Obviously the the intent is to kill, and they have done this for many years without consequences for their heinous crimes against humanity. It will no longer be so.

Like I wrote elsewhere, nobody, including Hakeem Odumosu and the entire Police Force has the monopoly for violence. But protesters will not respond with violence in order to not give legitimacy to Odumosu’s lawlessness.

In a bid to mock Nigerians, Hakeem Odumosu later said that he needed petitions in order punish police officers who clearly acted on his instruction. But this lawless police commissioner forgets that the two press statements he issued ahead of the peaceful demonstration has been archived by members of the public, including how he threatened to suppress any peaceful demonstration in the state. How can a man who ordered the suppression of peaceful protesters punish his subordinates for carrying out his orders? Why were heavily policemen at the venue of the protest days before the peaceful demonstration held? Were these armed men at the protest venue for days without the knowledge of Hakeem Odumosu?

For several decades, the police has shown that the claim, “police is your friend” is an unforgivable deception. Better to run into the arms of a robbing gang than to seek refuge with Nigerian police officers and be killed with bullets purchased with your own money.

This tyranny will never go unpunished and those aiding the atrocities of this draconian regime will equally face the music when all this is over. Because however the number of young people you kill, you certainly won’t kill everyone before the sun sets on your time in office. Those still alive, out of the thousands or millions you may have killed, will make you pay! Write this down in your diary, if you have any.

 

 

Elias Ozikpu

Playwright, novelist, essayist, polemicist, citizen journalist, permanent enemy of oppressors

 

 

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