The Lagos State Police Command has dismissed Sergeant Collins Idom, who allegedly shot dead an undergraduate of a polytechnic in Edo State, Joseph Eidonojie-Ugbeni.
The dismissed Officer Idom had spent 14 years on the Nigeria Police Force. He was also arraigned before an Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrate’s Court on Monday, the same day the victim was buried at the Atan Cemetery, Yaba.
The late 20-year-old Business Administration student was on a visit to his cousin, Friday Ojah, who lived on Alape Street, Iba Ojo area when he was accidentally shot when operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were chasing a suspected internet fraudster identified as Badoo.
A stray bullet from the sergeant’s gun hit Joseph as he was out with his cousin trying to get a canned drink and he died on the spot. According to witnesses at the scene, the SARS operatives put the lifeless body of Joseph in the trunk of the suspected fraudster Badoo’s car and sped off.
The unfortunate incident happened on September 19th and on September 23, the police arrested, detained and dismissed the killer sergeant. He was arraigned on Monday for murder, along with three suspected cult members.
The charge read in part, “That you, Collins Idom, on September 19, 2016, at about 09.30am, at Iba Town, Iba, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did kill one Joseph Ugbeni, by shooting him with a gun on his head, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.”
The police, in a remand application brought before the court, said Idom confessed to the crime and was identified by witnesses, adding that there was no need for further investigation. His plea was not taken for the crime and the case was adjourned till November 10, 2016.
Meanwhile, there was a confrontation between mourners and some policemen at the Mainland Hospital mortuary where Joseph’s corpse was deposited. It was reported that Joseph’s family were about removing the corpse for burial when a team of policemen, who had brought another corpse to the mortuary, were challenged by the family.
A source said, “Although the policemen came for a different mission, the mourners abused them for the killing of Joseph. They were close to assaulting the officers but for the intervention of some elderly members of the family”
The victim’s father, Patrick, called for a quick trial of the dismissed cop, saying only justice would ease the hurt of the family. “The Lagos CP gave me N500,000 for the burial of my son and for that, I am grateful. The Officer-in-Charge of SARS also gave us some money. But we need speedy judgement. They should not cover up the case, because that will only increase our hurt,” he said.
The family lawyer, Saidi Sanni, said the family would demand the payment damages to the tune of N500m from the police.
“We will institute an action at the Federal High Court to enforce the deceased’s rights. We will be suing the Inspector-General of Police for N500m damages. The boy could have grown up to become somebody of repute in the society, so his life is invaluable,” he said.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, who offered condolences to the family, said the police would not condone extra-judicial killings.