A Police officer on Saturday allegedly shot dead an Egun community leader in Makoko during a protest staged by residents of the waterfront over the on-going demolition in the area.
According to eye witnesses, the victim who was identified as Timothy Hunpoyanwa, was said to be conducting residents of the troubled community who were on a peaceful protest before the police corporal shot him.
The deceased was the assistant Baale of Makoko with the title Otun Baale.
He reportedly gave up the ghost on the way to Gbagada General Hospital.
The Lagos state government began the demolition of the waterfront shanties last Monday, claiming that structures built within 100 metres from a power line installed on the lagoon would be demolished.
It was however gathered that on Saturday morning, a joint task force consisting of police, officials of the state Ministry of Environment and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), extended the demolition and this led to a scuttle and protest by the residents.
Confirming the unfortunate incidence, a statement signed by the Police PRO, Ngozi Braide, named the alleged police officer as Corporal Pepple Boma. He is said to be attached to the Marine Police, Oworonsoki Division and was posted on special duty with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) on the demolition exercise at the water front of Makoko.
According to the statement the police officer “allegedly shot a man in the stomach. The victim was rushed to the General Hospital, Gbagada where he was later confirmed dead. The corpse has been deposited at the General Hospital, Ikeja for post-mortem examination, while the suspect has been arrested and detained at the State CID Panti, Yaba.”
The Police Command appealed to Lagosians to “maintain peace and remain calm as justice must be done in this case” adding that investigation has commenced in the matter.
According to some residents, the incident, which reportedly happened at about 1pm, was unprovoked.
Appealing to the state government, one of the residents, Peter Hunsa, said “we only went out to plead with the government to keep to their word and stop the demolition.”
According to him, “before the demolition, the state government told us that only the structures under a high tension power line would be demolished.”
“So, those of us that were not under the power line did not bother but we were surprised that the demolition has continued beyond the power line and it seems they want to demolish every of our houses,” he said.
“It was a very peaceful protest. Nobody fought them and while we gathered, they still continued the demolition undisturbed. All of a sudden the police came and started shooting and Timothy was killed,” he said.
Since the demolition started, some of the displaced residents have been sleeping outdoor inside the wooden canoes.
A youth in the community, who declined to give his name, was quoted to have said “government needs to appreciate the maturity of the community’s youth because we could have pushed those police officers inside the lagoon and drown them.”
“They cannot swim better than us but we just wanted peace to reign” he added.
12 others residents of the waterfront were also arrested during the protest as KAI officials continued to demolish the shanties.