Samson Folarin and Olaleye Aluko
Tricycle operator, Mr. Godwin Ekpo, whose wife, Idongesit, was killed by a police corporal, Aremu Museliu, in the Ijegun area of Lagos State, says the police have damaged his life forever.
Godwin, who spoke with PUNCH Metro at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital where he is currently being admitted, called for help for his children, saying their education had been affected by the incident.
PUNCH Metro had reported that Godwin and Idongesit were returning from a church in his tricycle on Wednesday when they met a police checkpoint on Obalagbe bus stop, Ijegun.
The policemen, who were said to be extorting money from tricycle operators at the time, reportedly became angry after Godwin’s tricycle brushed their van.
Museliu was said to have opened fire on the tricycle, killing Idongesit and injuring Godwin.
The father of four told our correspondents that life had become difficult for him as he could no longer breathe well.
Recalling the incident, he said, “My wife and children had gone to church, while I went to work.
“My wife later called me that they were through with church. I went to pick them around 9pm. When we got to the Obalagbe bus stop, we saw some policemen discussing with some people.
“As we were passing the bus stop, one of the policemen hit me on motion with the butt of his gun. As I was about to park the tricycle, I heard gunshots and my wife fell down. The bullet also brushed my jaw.
“I heard my children shouting, ‘Mummy, mummy.’ I then went to my wife and saw blood gushing from her head. I screamed at the policemen, ‘You, people have killed my wife. What have I done?’ Some women also rushed to the scene.
“The damage that the police have done to my life is huge. I am pleading with the Lagos State Government, the police commissioner and the good people of Nigeria to come to my aid. I want them to help me so that I will be back on my feet.”
Godwin, who spoke to PUNCH Metro with difficulty, noted that three hospitals had earlier rejected him before he was admitted in LUTH.
“I cannot eat or breathe well. I cannot even swallow my spit; it is affecting my throat. They have killed my wife. My children are no longer going to school. My newborn baby has been crying seriously. I want Nigerians to assist me,” he added.
A relative, Victor Udom, criticised the attitude of the police authorities towards the family, saying they had abandoned them.
Udom said the police abandoned Godwin in the hospital and did not pay the money for his surgery until the intervention of a human rights activist, Dr. Joe Oke-Odumakin.
He said, “The police, who are supposed to protect our lives are the ones destroying us.
“They have already killed my sister and the man who is supposed to be the breadwinner of the family is now hospitalised.
“We want them to take care of the four children till the man is able to find himself a job.
“Also, we want the policeman who did this to face the full wrath of the law and all the other officers complicit to be punished.”
Odumakin, President, Women Arise for Change, who also led a delegation to visit Godwin, said the police should subject its officers to psychiatric tests, as extrajudicial killings in the country were becoming unbearable.
She said, “I think this is becoming a recurring decimal; policemen should henceforth be subjected to psychiatric tests. My heart bleeds for the family.
“The state and federal governments should raise a trust fund for the children, and give them scholarships.
“The police authorities too must be made to pay for the education of these children as far as they can go.”
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