The #EndSARS protest across states in Nigeria did not turn out well for the Isiaq family as their son, Jimoh Isiaq, a student of Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomoso, was shot dead by the police on Saturday in Ogbomoso, Oyo State.
As youths in Ogbomoso joined their compatriots across Nigeria to continue the EndSARS protest, lending their voices to the ongoing demand for government to put an end to the impunity and human rights abuses perpetrated by officers of the police force, especially the notorious tactical team, Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), a police team deployed to monitor the demonstration opened fire at the unarmed protesters and in the process killed Jimoh Isiaq.
While describing the incident that led to the killing of the young man, who lived in Ogiri Compound Ita Alasa, Ogbomoso, an eyewitnesses according to PM said the police officers used live bullets to disperse the crowd and in the process, Isiaq was hit, and in a pool of his own blood.
Reports stated that the victim was rushed to the Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital Ogbomoso where doctors were said to have battled to save Jimoh’s life but couldn’t. The bullet had pierced his rib.
What makes Isiaq’s death intriguing is that he was not part of the protesters, as he was only an onlooker.
However, police in Oyo state denied that Jimoh Isiaq was killed by a bullet when its men fired at unarmed protesters in Ogbomoso.
According to a statement signed by the command’s spokesperson, Fadeyi Gbenga, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Nwachukwu Enwonwu said the police did not fire a shot or kill any protester.
“The CP wishes to state that the Police allowed the protesters to express their feelings during the protest and they were not hindered in any form until when they started throwing stones into the Police premises and attempted to gain entrance into the premises.”
In a twist, the stand of the Oyo CP was punctured by Governor Seyi Makinde, who courageously confirmed, as the Chief Security Officer of the State, that the young man was shot during the peaceful protest.
The Governor argued that the constitution backs Nigerians protesting against the brutality of the Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). He stated further that he will not support an attempt to rob the youths of their rights.
“I have received with deep sadness the news of the passing of one of our children, Jimoh Isiaka, who was shot during the End SARS protest in Ogbomoso.
“Also, at this same protest, Abdulrasaq Olawale, Oluwadamilare Gbolohunmi, and five other persons sustained injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment.
“The End SARS protests are a strong indicator of systemic failure. It is a failure on the part of those who have been constitutionally empowered to protect the citizens.
“It again calls into question why State Governors are called Chief Security Officers of their state whereas, they do not have the necessary powers to control the police force.
“Peaceful protests are a big part of our democratic process. The right to freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed by our Constitution, and I will never support any attempt to rob citizens of their fundamental human rights,” Governor Makinde stated.
If anything, Jimoh Isiaq’s death has further emboldened Nigerian youths to continue to press for a decisive action by government against police impunity and human rights abused, especially the excesses by the now labeled notorious SARS tactical formation.